One of the main reasons I started this blog was to create a positive space to discuss running, fitness, healthy living and healthy body image.
For years as a competitive figure skater the thoughts of weight, body size and food consumption were the center of my universe. I looked at every girl in ballet classes or on the ice and constantly compared their bodies to mine. I ate healthy meals and later felt guilt for perhaps eating just too much. I remember laying in bed at night and praying for control over my eating and to have a more fit body. The sad part is that like most everyone else, when I look back at pictures from then I had a great body. Good grief was I hard on myself!
It is a horrible cycle. I never felt I was quite good enough and my legs were the center of my concern. I saw other girls with much thinner and less muscular legs and yearned for that. I never sat back and considered that my level of athleticism was far more advanced than many of those girls with what I saw as much skinnier legs. I never gave those legs the credit they deserved for allowing me to complete triple jumps.
Over the years these thoughts have faded as I have found confidence in myself and my running. But I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I seriously had hoped running would bring me those thin runner’s legs!
I have to say that I am really proud of myself and I have made great strides recently. I took nearly a month off from running due to injury and I ate well and didn’t freak out too terribly much about my weight.
There was minimal gain and I did feel a bit heavier but I kept my mouth shut and didn’t whine about it for the most part. It was still there though in the back of my mind.
And then Monday night came. As we are preparing to head back to Chicago I was helping the girl who sublet us her apartment find a new renter. The first woman who showed was petite and cute and I immediately noticed her tiny legs in skinny jeans. I will admit it, there was some envy.
As I was admiring her she blurted out, “I just have to tell you that your legs are amazing. They are just beautiful.”
I was shocked and thrilled!
The next person who came by walked in and took a seat and immediately said, “You are so toned!” Sometimes I love how blunt New Yorkers are (although usually not, because it typically doesn’t involve compliments!)
You can imagine my pleasure and surprise by all of this. It was like someone was celebrating Pay Sarah An Awesome Compliment Day. And I gotta say I love that day!
It also made me sit back and think. Perhaps those things I nitpick about myself aren’t quite as I see them. If others see these things shouldn’t I take the time to appreciate them too? After all it’s all that darn time I spend running and working out that got me here.
For as much as I wished my legs were different, that person I was admiring was feeling the same way about me. It is just as important to remember that we all have our own inner struggles and dislikes. Keep that in mind the next time you want to complain about something you aren’t loving at the moment. Odds are there is someone who would love to be in your shoes and they may even be the very person you are complaining to.
The same thing happens with my hair. It is a curly (aka frizzy) mess. I look at girls with naturally straight hair and am a tad bit jealous. The other day my curls were doing their own wacky thing and I joked about it. The person next to me said she had always wanted curly hair but hers was stick straight. I laughed because I said that was what I had always dreamed of and even considered paying to have my hair do just that.
(As a side note I thought it would be fun to cut my hair before my husband and I went to Aruba this past spring. I didn’t take into account the humidity and when we got there my hair went in every direction and was too short to pull back. Anyone remember Monica from Friends when they went to the Caribbean?!)
It is funny how the grass is always greener on the other side. Perhaps this is a good lesson that we need to step back and see how beautiful and awesome we all individually are.
Take a moment and appreciate the amazing you. Remember that there are always people who would love to be in your situation. Find some time today and look for the awesome in you!
On the flip side, keeping in mind how awesome it feels to receive a compliment. If you see something you like in someone else tell them. Whether they are a friend, a relative, or a complete stranger I guarantee it will make their day. Take some time today and find someone to share a random compliment with.