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Appreciate Your Strengths

Rather than dwelling on what you don't like about your body, be thankful for your strengths!

My boys are 3½ and 2 years old.

It never ceases to amaze me that they can be happily playing, and one of them will get a particular toy and the other will instantly want what the other has. I think my kids are very lucky. They do NOT lack for a selection of toys. Sometimes the coveted toy is old and one that has not been played with for months, but it still grabs their attention for some reason, even in the midst of all the new toys.

I still feel guilty about my reaction, when I was 18, when my dad bought me a car for college. I had been sharing a car with my parents and I was not sure I would even have one to take to school. My great aunt and uncle sold my dad their 1976 Nova (not a cool, sporty one, but rather, a brown, four-door sedan that looked like it belonged to my grandparents). For $500, I got a vehicle that was in perfect condition, with low miles and cruise control. What was my reaction? “Ugh. It’s so UGLY!” Here I was, one of the lucky few at college to have a very dependable car and I had the nerve to be disappointed!

Toddlers and bratty teenagers certainly do not have the market cornered when it comes to wanting what others have and not being appreciative of what they themselves have. More often than not, my adult clients will describe someone else’s body parts when discussing their own goals. They may see a picture of a celebrity or a model in a magazine and say, “I want those abs!” (or arms, or legs, or whatever). Well, besides the fact that those pictures are generally airbrushed and photo-shopped (which is another topic for a different day), those body parts belong to someone else. And unfortunately, unless the genetic makeup is exactly the same between two people, the bodies are going to look different regardless of training.

As much as I would like to think of myself as a very wise, mature version of my 18-year-old self who is completely immune to this tendency to be envious of what others have, I find myself doing exactly that. I am a strong, fit woman who still has the ability to be unhappy with my flaws. The really ridiculous thing is that many times what I want to have is completely unobtainable. I might see a woman who is 5 feet, 10 inches tall, with long, slender legs and I will instantly be jealous. I am 4-11, by the way. The chances of me having long, slender legs are about as good as walking a few blocks through downtown Seattle and not seeing a Starbucks.

What you may not know is that more than likely someone is looking at you, envious of your strengths. I had a roommate in college who had long, naturally curly black hair, the exact opposite of my stick-straight blond hair. We took turns being jealous of each other.

Instead of dwelling on the things we like least about our bodies, we need to take some time to be thankful for the things we like the best. While the grass may seem greener on the other side, I promise there will still be weeds.

If you are in an unhealthy place with your nutrition and fitness, start making a change today. Quit comparing yourself to everyone else and decide to be the best YOU that you can be. 

I am almost 40 years old. I may not be in the very best shape of my life, but I love how strong I am. I love that I can keep up with my young boys, picking them up and swinging them around, chasing them and crawling across the floor. I am fit and I am healthy, and for that, I am very grateful!

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