Note: Just for fun I’m posting some throwbacks from my old blog no longer online. I wrote this post two years ago. It was a year after I had my first baby. Now it has been a year since I had my second baby and I feel I’ve circled around to this same place.
My friend invited me to attend a retreat with her last weekend hosted by Kingston Adventures. Three days. Two nights. Leavenworth Washington. I’m in.
The weekend consisted of about 20 women, a bed and breakfast, practicing yoga, health and wellness talks, snowshoeing/hiking and a training workshop from Beth (who by the way is ahhmazing and recently completed the Ultraman World Championships. This is an invite only race which consists of 6.2 mile ocean swim, 261 mile bike ride, and 52 mile run). I was just excited to be out of the house. It was the first time I’ve left my baby overnight and even though I knew he was in good hands, I was a little anxious. While waiting for dinner the first evening, a bunch of ladies sat around a big table and played Icebreaker cards. You know, the ones that ask a bunch of super random questions like if you were an animal, which one would you be? or what is the craziest thing you’ve ever done? One gal drew the card: What is one part of your body that you love?
It took a while to go around the table because except for a few, most were shy with an answer. I was watching this group of beautiful, healthy, strong women having trouble finding something they liked about their bodies. I knew why I was having trouble coming up with something. Most of my post-baby body parts are still on a mental checklist entitled “needs improvement”.
There’s a lot about myself that I don’t exactly love. These chicks, however, should have no problem coming up with a zillion things they liked. I could only guess that, like me, they were thinking, what do I dislike least about myself? Not what do I love – but what do I hate the least. They were going around the table and it was almost my turn. I had to pick something.
Hands? not really
Tummy? heck no
My hips have some extra padding that I’m working off, but I do like that they are curvy. When it was my turn I spoke up…
um, I like my hips.
And then I felt obnoxious. Everyone there was in great shape, and who was I to say my hips? At least not until another 10 pounds come off.
The next day before we headed out to snowshoe, we sat in a circle and shared a dream or challenge we were working through. I shared that I’m working on finding my voice and being okay with who I am and where I’m at right now. After everyone shared, Beth handed a flower to each gal. The flower was symbolic of a fear or obstacle to the dream we had just stated. We were to take it on the hike and once we found a good spot, drop the flower to symbolically release the fear.
Into our hike, we came to a fork in the trail and had to choose which direction to go. I thought about my struggles with loving myself despite my faults and the battle I waged with perfectionism. I thought about all the women last night each fighting some sort of inner battle. I thought about the things that get in the way of really embracing life and feeling free. I’ve spent so much time trying to earn worthiness by making every area in my life perfect instead of living in the moment.
And then I thought about how much time we have left on Earth. Nothing is guaranteed. Life is short and there isn’t enough time to waste on perfectionism, self-hatred, criticism or living in shame of who we are. When we focus on these things, we miss out on love, friendship and opportunities to share our gifts with the world. The truth is perfectionism is a lie. And believing the lie is like taking half a breath. You’ll be fine for a little while but over time, you’ll suffocate. Worthiness is not something that you can earn but something God has already gifted to us.
I knew immediately this is where my flower would be left. To me, it represented the power of choice. I could choose the path of perfectionism and self-criticism or the path of love and acceptance. I made the decision to forever intentionally choose the path of love and acceptance. The path of loving myself, right now, cushy hips and all. The path that makes good choices not because I’m striving to lose the last 10 pounds, but because I love and respect myself now.
I know struggles will come and go, but here on out I will make a daily effort to choose love and acceptance. And I’m sure I’ll mess up a ton, but I can start over and try better the next day. So I can honestly say I love my hips. My hips, after all, allow me to dance with my husband and give birth to my son. And that is awesome.
What battle with yourself do you need to release?
Choosing the Path: Letting go, Loving Life & my hips