It isn't perfect.

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So, by now I am sure that is no secret that I have been changing. I am much more aware of myself, my body and my surroundings and I am feeling genuinely happy. BUT, that doesn’t mean that every second of everyday I am smiling, laughing, patting myself on the back for having life “all figured out”. I don’t, and I never will because- that’s life. You can’t control your feelings and emotions, but you CAN control your response to them. And that’s what I have been working on. It isn’t that I woke up one day and said “I’m done with being obsessed with food and exercise, I just love myself and don’t care anymore!” Definitely not. Although, social media may make it seem like it, that is exactly what I DON’T want. I don’t want a fake reality of happiness and six packs with photos of donuts that I don’t eat on my feed anymore. I want REAL life. I crave real life. I feel real life. Even when it’s bad, it is so much better than feeling nothing.

I don’t want anyone who may be teetering on the edge of intuitive eating, positive body image, self acceptance, mindfulness, etc. to feel like you have to constantly think positively about yourself or else you have failed. Isn’t that exactly what got us to the never ending cycle of starving for perfection in the first place? Pain in life is inevitable. You can’t avoid it even when you try. It is 100% not true that everyday I wake up and feel amazing about the way I look or about whatever is happening in my life. I do get negative thoughts sometimes about whatever, that’s a given. My response to these thoughts though now is different. For example- if I get a thought that my stomach has a “pouch” or I’ve lost muscle- instead of freaking out and vowing to punish myself like I would have previously, I take a step back and wonder what is actually wrong. Is something going on right now in my life that is making me anxious? Maybe. If I’m having an argument with someone, I try and tell them how I honestly feel instead of just saying “sorry, you’re right, I’m wrong”.

Once you start to accept your negative thoughts and process them, it becomes so much easier the next time they pop up. There have been times in the past few months where I have scolded myself for feeling these negative thoughts or urges. But you can’t do that. Notice them, but let them be. I was one of the most disconnected people I know from my own body, and I promise you that if you just try and keep yourself on the right path of where you want to go, then it eventually becomes second nature. 

With that, I also realize that changing is scary. A lot has happened for me in the past few months and a lot more will happen in the next few. It’s honestly more of just letting yourself be who you want to be, who you genuinely are- not trying to fit in being something else or look for public validation. Those things do not bring happiness. Happiness comes with accepting yourself, and with this you have more energy and drive to focus on what it is that you actually were meant to do in life. I know firsthand that it’s hard to start trusting yourself and your body. There were times when I started that I literally had to lay on the ground and not move to resist an urge to run 10 miles because I ate a cupcake or whatever it may be. It was hard. I didn’t know what was going to happen if I didn’t keep up my same old exhausting routine. And I KNOW someone reading this feels that way right now. I am telling you because I wish someone told me, that you CAN do it and it IS worth it. YOU ARE WORTH IT.

So take small steps and look at the big picture. Don’t expect a magical change overnight. Accept the negative parts of the journey and trust that you are breaking a cycle and ultimately working towards a better ending.

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Shelbye Schlange