I’m a little bit obsessed with the notion of self love. Loving yourself is, by far, the greatest ammunition against tyrants, abusers, fake and shitty people, bad situations, and avoidable mistakes. When we love ourselves, we are armed with the greatest weapon we can ever possess: awareness. And the confidence to look at things, people, and situations objectively.
I preach so much about self love because it’s something I’ve struggled with as a teenager and young adult. It’s hard to love ourselves when photoshopped, edited, and chopped-and-screwed images of false perfection are thrown at us constantly. But athletics lend a unique opportunity for self-love; you can appreciate yourself and your body for what it’s physically capable of.
Athletes have a different conundrum as we get older, because we will never be as quick and fast and skilled as we were in our high school and college days. How do we love ourselves when our bodies not only look different, but aren’t able to accomplish the physical feats we’re used to?
I had a taste of this over the past few weeks, as I’ve fallen off the wagon of my marathon training. I’m not as fit and fabulous as I anticipated, and my body has grown a little soft from the lack of constant, borderline obsessive level of exercise it’s used to. Instead, I started my dream job teaching soccer to preschoolers. I caught up with friends, went out to eat, hung out with my dog & bf, went to a friend’s art fest, and just enjoyed my life. I can’t lie, though – my weight/fitness/body was a stressor on my mind most of the time.
Here’s the epiphany: our relationship with our bodies shouldn’t change because our workout plan does. Our self love shouldn’t be temporary or fickle; it should be unconditional. Always.