How to Love Yourself, When You Don’t

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Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 3.06.10 PMThese photos were taken during the summer around 35 pounds (heavier) ago. I had NO intention to actually post them because I was embarrassed by them. Often times I feel like I can’t be proud of my hard work until I get to my six pack. This whole post is a little step forward in an exercise to love myself at any size, past or present.

The past two weeks of my fitness journey have been the hardest for me mentally, harder than I’ve ever experienced. Feelings of frustration with myself in my performance, my (in)ability and insecurity with how my body looks are leaving me feeling depressed and not good enough. I know the feelings stem from my childhood, constantly being told and believing I was “too fat” had “elephant legs” or some-other mean variation about my weight. As a teenager, I would hear backhanded comments about my weight like “you’d be so gorgeous… if you lost a few pounds.” As an adult, a guy I met on line said “you looked smaller in your profile picture” the first day we met, what a jerk! Don’t worry, I broke things off with him real quick… I would think to myself that I didn’t care about those comments and that it never got to me, but inside I was completely crushed, exploding my own self doubt 1000% EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I know I’m completely responsible for my thoughts (mind over matter), but I’ve honestly have never looked in the mirror (at any given moment in my life) and loved everything I saw. There was always some critical comment to follow a compliment or good thought.

Eight months ago I started boxing and following a healthy diet, I’m down 55 pounds compared to this time last year, which I attribute to my lifestyle change. I realize that its a huge accomplishment and I feel stronger than I ever have, but its still not enough.

Yesterday I hit another low, while sparring with my coach (who is exceptionally talented at boxing) I got my first bloody nose during the first round. Some would say its a right of passage in the boxing world, but I was totally embarrassed. I could feel hundreds of insecurities flooding my mind as the blood ran down my face into my mouth. I felt stupid, pathetic and weak. After six rounds, I game out of the ring and couldn’t hold back my tears of defeat. I felt like all of the months of sparring and sweating it out workout, after workout, after workout were for nothing. And all because I couldn’t get any kind of response from him. No matter how hard I hit, or how many combinations I threw, he was always two seconds ahead, faster, stronger, calmer. I must sound CRAZY to think that I could have something on an 8 year professional boxer, but I just wanted something… ANY emotion ,  a”nice punch” or “ouch, that hurt!” would have been REALLY encouraging. But no. Nothing, he gave me absolutely nothing. I’m totally jealous that I don’t have that ability in the ring yet.

I came home and cried even more to my poor husband, who is supportive but not interested in fitness and health the same way I am, so I feel like he doesn’t really get it. And also because he’s blinded by unconditional love, which is really a blessing. I’ve decided to start seeing my therapist again to help me work through some of the mental struggles and self loathing practices that seem to be a constant struggle. In my mind I think about if I treated or talked to anyone else as badly as I do myself, I would’n’t have a single friend. I still need to work on the loving myself unconditionally part and I wish this post had a happier ending. But for now, I feel like writing and reciting a meaningful and powerful mantra in the mirror everyday would be very helpful. Here’s what I’ve written so far, your input would be GREATLY appreciated! Please comment suggestions below.

MY MANTRA  (a work in progress)

  • I am strong. I choose who I become. Eating for comfort, mean comments, my physical appearance, the appearance of my possessions or house do not define me.
  • I am kind. I only speak word of happiness, health, prosperity and love everyone I come into contact with. I love myself unconditionally, now. Hate has no room in my heart.
  • I am a fighter. Whether I’m in the ring or out, I will keep my mind open and learn all I can from the teachers and coaches in my life. Failure is an opportunity to grow.
  • I am a work in progress. I am becoming the best version of myself. I will learn from my mistakes and continue to grow into the woman I want.  I am modeling healthy self love for my daughter and all women come in contact with.
  • I won’t give up. I’ll do my best everyday, in all that I do, even if my best is just being.

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I know a lot of you are true friends and I can’t imagine my life without your example and love! Xo

10 thoughts on “How to Love Yourself, When You Don’t”

  1. I was reading a book the other day by Noelle Pikus Pace, the Olympian from Eagle Mountain. She talked about being asked to be a model for one of the Olympic sponsors. When she got there they handed her a size 6 and she said there was no way that would fit here. So they found her something that would fit, but then ended up photoshopping her picture so much that her husband and family didn’t even recognize her. Here she was in the best shape she could possibly be in, an Olympian, and still it wasn’t good enough for the ‘world’. I think that we all need to remember that everyone has a different body type, some are short and petite, some are short and round, some are big and tall. I think the important thing is to remember that our Father in Heaven blessed us with these glorious body’s, and as we take care of them the best that we know how by exercise and healthy eating we are doing all that He asks of us. You are beautiful Chelsey, extremely talented and I admire your determination to be the best you can be!

    1. Clare, Thank you for telling me that. I love following Noelle, and had no idea that happened to her! I know that you’re right, and as soon as I align the way I see myself with the way Heavenly Father does, I can truly love myself and others on a much deeper level. Its a perfect love, not love given because you’re perfect.

  2. I love your mantra! They’re definitely things I need to tell myself as well. Every month my work posts new challenges or competitions to meet. I love my job and I love the challenges as they push me to try harder, but I feel like a total failure if I don’t meet them. I think that’s how I’ve been my whole life. I have a need to be one of the best in everything I do or I don’t feel good enough. Something I heard once was that you may not be the best at something, or anything but you need to remember that someone who is better at boxing than you may not be as good at interior design, or baking. And someone who is better at baking than you may not have as wonderful of a family as you. We are truly all individuals and all our little pieces are what makes us awesome. Thank you for this post. I needed it today.

    1. Brandy, Thank you for your insight and the reminder that comparisons remove all joy. How can we ever truly be happy when were comparing, it will never be “fair”. Such a good reminder!

  3. I love this!! So honest and relatable. I think the most profound thing you said is something I always preach– never say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a friend! You’re an amazing woman.

    1. Thank you so much Kristy. I’m going to talk to myself in a kind way always. I think the “perfectionist” tendencies are trying to move in. Love you girl!

  4. My Friend,
    Can I just say how lucky and blessed you are ! You are so beautiful inside and out. You have a strong body! You have determination. You have strength and stamina. You can and will push through the impossible. You can be anything you want to be. You motivate me. You are kind. You are a great friend. You are enough. You are amazing. You are loved no matter where you are in your journey. Life is a marathon not a sprint; it is ok to stop and enjoy the scenery. You have made amazing progress. YOU decide what kind of day it is going to be. You are incredibly talented. Remember how excited you were to start sparring. Give yourself time and credit for what you have and will accomplish. You decide what perfect is, don’t let society define you. Society doesn’t know you! Wait for that praise from your coach, and when it comes, you will know for certain it is sincere. Listen to your husband. Listen to your body. Listen to the Spirit. Focus on one area you can see improvement. Don’t expect success (the perfect body, punch, form, match) to come without time, effort, sweat, some tears. The best things in life are worth sacrificing and fighting for (marriage, health, family, faith).
    I know, a run on of a paragraph, but thoughts that came to mind.
    Trust Nick, he knows you better than sometimes you may know yourself. Remind yourself that you deserve him, and try your best to be as good to him as he is to you, and better. Be that example to Jade. Don’t get so caught up in perfecting yourself that you miss those moments of growth with her. Build yourself up so that she can and will know how to build herself up. Cut yourself some slack. Changes, especially life changes, will need to take life into consideration. Set your expectations with that in mind .
    You have some amazing people in your corner! Lean on them! Lean on me. Remember we are here to build each other up, to support and encourage. You are not in it alone, nor was that the plan!

  5. Chelsey, I think you’re great and have a lot to offer all of us. You have come so far in so many of your goals, everyone knows how much you have improved in such a difficult sport. Don’t forget about all the people who are cheering for you!

    1. Thank you so much my friend! I love the friendships I’ve made at the gym, and it has been of of the biggest reasons I go back everyday. I appreciate your friendship and this reminder! Xo

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