Growing up, I may not have been the skinniest nor the strongest of the bunch but I had a fight to prove my worth with effort. However, at some point in my young, adult life I found myself consumed by the thought that I wasn’t good enough. My confidence had been destroyed, perhaps by the pressures of meeting the high standards of my university or by my young, volatile relationship. Perhaps, even, by myself alone thinking that I had to fit into some societal or cultural “norm”.
I was suddenly not smart nor pretty enough. Not good enough for my job, not good enough for my then boyfriend. Not even worthy enough of self-love. At some point during this low point, I suddenly shifted my focus away from external acceptance to rebuilding my confidence from the inside out.
I poured my energy into physical challenges with the mission of becoming emotionally resilient and I soon became devoted to looking and feeling my best. I had decide to put myself first. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for self improvement wasn’t immediately accepted by my friends and family but I remained steadfast in meeting my goals I learned a lot about self-discipline. Most importantly, I relearned how to love myself. I entered my first amateur bodybuilding competition and felt amazing!
Soon after, I fell out of my routine and became haunted by the image of my “best self”. To say the least, I nearly reverted to the a self-deprecating state until I reminded myself of my potential. I reminded myself of how much I was letting myself down by giving up. Since I started my fitness journey four years ago, I can’t say that I’ve been consistent.
However, I’ve learned along the way (after a series of ups and rebounds) that it’s more important for me to feel my best emotionally and to be physically strong than it is to appeal to pure aesthetics. Of course, it’s rewarding to see a lean set of legs or abdominal definition but it’s more fulfilling to build a body for a purpose. I’ve learned to value balance. Although, it’s still a struggle to fully achieve it.
So for now, I’ll eat what makes me happy and exercise to be strong. I want to feel my best and the aesthetics are just a bonus. Learn to love yourself at every stage of your journey. Learn your weaknesses as much as you do your strengths. Celebrate your flaws as a part of your beauty.
My goal isn’t to compete any time soon. My goal is to build up my strength because I know what it’s like to be weak. I also now know to respect the health that I am blessed to have and to be happy because life is too great not to be.