How is it that I was able to go from eating junk food every night to being a health nut seemingly over night?
While there were things that certainly motivated me to change like learning about the damaging effects of junk food and the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, there are also many people who know that stuff but can’t seem to get themselves to make a change. Or at least not a lasting change.
This is part of what lead me on my journey of understanding psychology and neuroscience. On this journey, I discovered an older book that explained it in the simplest terms and made everything click for me.
It explained how the mind works and where our thoughts and behaviors come from on the deepest level. It explained why two people can get surgery to improve the appearance of their bodies, and one will gain confidence while the other would still feel embarassed and ashamed about themselves even if what was “causing” that embarassment originally was removed.
The reason why I was able to make a change seemingly overnight is because the first thing I changed was not my behavior, but how I saw myself.
I envisioned my future “ideal” self as being someone that was healthy, fit, and incredibly strong. It was only after I saw this vision and believed it was who I was really capable of being, or more accurately, who I already was deep down inside, that my outward actions changed to match that.
One part of a person’s self image that often holds them back is they don’t believe they are worthy or deserving of what they want. They beat themselves up with over where they’re at.
Although this may make them want to change out of guilt, if a person is in a constant state of self-loathing, it will not lead to a lasting nor healthy change.
The first step in changing one’s self-image is actually loving acceptance. There’s a lot of confusion about what acceptance means. In this case, acceptance doesn’t mean accepting your condition as being beneficial or impossible to change. It means accepting the simple reality of the situation as it is now, and most of all accepting you just as you are now even if you don’t plan to stay this way.
In our culture, we often connect a person’s worth with their physical appearance, financial status, or external accomplishments such as a job title. This is part of what leads to neurosis and high instances of depression because when one bases their self worth and self image on external things, it’s built on a shaky foundation. None of these external things are permanent. Seeking validation, inner peace, and happiness outside of yourself is like trying to find a bus to take you home when you’re already at home. The only source of inner peace and happiness exists within you already.
Now some people may think that this acceptance means the same thing as just “staying” with where one is at and not trying to make a change. This is both not the case as well as impossible.
You will change whether you like it or not. All things in nature are either growing or dying. And growth doesn’t mean physical growth. Some of the greatest accomplishments and growth a person can experience are when their health is failing and their days are numbered.
In truth, all our days our numbered. So I’ll leave you with what I consider to be my most important lesson. Getting healthy and fit is secondary to becoming the best version of yourself that you can be. Having a healthier body allows one to bring their best version of themselves to the world.
The whole point of getting more healthy and fit isn’t for striving to be what one’s family, friends, or culture says they “ought” to be. This isn’t striving to gain happiness from having a six pack. This isn’t striving to live forever.
This is striving to be the best version of you that you can be. The version of you that already exists within you when you simply recognize it’s already there. When you accept that you’re perfectly ok just as you are, whereever you are, and that who you are and where you’re at will be different tomorrow as you let go of limiting beliefs and fulfill more of your potential.
When you accept that you not only deserve to be the best version of you, but the world needs it from you.
The only person who can change your life is you. And you already know how to even if you’ve forgotten.
I’ll simply leave you with some questions that may help. But remember, the right question is up to you to find. And the answer is always a question.
- “Can I allow myself to now see the value that I truly have?”
- “Can I allow myself in this moment to simply accept myself as I am right now?”
- “Why do I love and accept myself just as I am now?”
- “What would my ideal self do to be growing even more right now?”
- “Why are all things working for my good?”
- “How can I become an even better version of myself?”
- “What is the lesson here?”
- “What is the lesson I haven’t seen until now?”
- “What is the lesson my circumstances are trying to teach me?”
- “Why is everything OK now?”
- “What would my best self do in this situation?”