Letting go of something can be quite challenging, this I know very well. The things we hold onto often feel like they are actually a part of us, and therefore if we let them go, we will lose a piece of ourselves. Are there things in your life that feel like this? I know there certainly are in my life, so I get it when you say that you really don’t want to let go of whatever that thing is. But the reality is that these things we’re so reluctant to let go of are usually the things holding us back, weighing us down, and stealing our joy. It is not an easy feat, but the practice of letting go leads to so much joy and fulfillment. It might be tough, but the reward is so worth it.
The month of January is a notorious time for “letting go of the old and embracing the new.” One common resolution that people make each year is to “lose weight, get in shape, look great and finally be happy.” How many of us have said something along these lines to ourselves at least once before? (Hint: my hand is in the air.) The desire to feel better, have more energy, and take care of our bodies is a beautiful start to a life-long journey of health; however, the resolutions are often much more focused on how we can look like the model on the magazine, not on how we want to feel. Contrary to what society wants us to believe, resolutions should never be about changing ourselves. We are all born unique individuals with unique qualities to offer the world, and focusing on embracing those beautiful gifts and using them will positively impact the world. An intention or resolution about discovering our passions, pruning things in our lives that do not serve us will lead to unleashing our potential to live messy, imperfect, but purposeful lives.
The diet industry thrives on making us feel that we are not good enough the way we are. It is an 8 billion dollar industry that has not come up with a single solution that works, which is why each year we feel the need to buy into their “next best thing.” It is a broken industry with a broken product that wants us to blame ourselves for it being broken. Can one of our resolutions be to stop blaming ourselves for not being perfect and thinking we cannot achieve our dreams because we look a certain way? The beauty and fitness industries are no better—they all thrive when we feel self-conscious and decide we need to “fix” ourselves with their products.
Perhaps we should resolve to be happy with ourselves exactly the way we are, to go after our goals and dreams, and to stop focusing on how we look. What if our resolutions focused on how to make the world a better place, to uplift and affirm others, and to be better sisters, wives, daughters, and friends? What if we chased our dreams and goals instead of chasing unrealistic beauty standards? Can you picture a world in which everybody’s resolutions looked more like this? Can you picture a life where we embraced our imperfections and unique qualities and did things with a bigger purpose because we respected and loved ourselves? This is a dream that can become reality with the truth of acceptance.
So, what are you holding onto that you need to let go of when it comes to unrealistic body expectations? Any tips on how you combat negative body image and make more purposeful resolutions? I’m always working on this myself. I would love to hear from y’all!