Self-Love and Self-Improvement Can Coexist

Self-Love and Self-Improvement Can Coexist

In today’s media climate, we are exposed to so many opposing messages about what it means to love ourselves. From product marketing, influencers, and health professionals, it feels as though we are being pulled in so many directions as to how our relationship with ourselves is supposed to look. While I believe it’s never cookie cutter for everyone (how could it be?), there is one aspect I feel really drawn to talk about: and that’s how there is an idea out there that acknowledging we want a different result than we currently have must imply we are coming from a place of self-hatred or insecurity.

“You want to lose weight? There’s nothing wrong with you! You can love yourself the way you are!”“You want to earn more money? You are ungrateful for what you have!”

“You want to move into a bigger space? It’s a shame that you don’t see how fortunate you are to have a home.”

Does this sound familiar to you? How many times have you mentioned about the love and goals you want to create, and were met with negativity and scarcity? How many times have you heard people tell you that self-love isn’t real, or yours is fake because of x, y, and z?

Here is the distinction that I want to make:

  • Self-love is not a constant state of being
  • Self-love is action based
    • It is taking actions consciously out of love for our bodies, mind, and soul.
    • It is from a place of creation, moving forwards, and from a place of care.

The definition of Self-love from Psychology Today states this: “Self-love is not simply a state of feeling good. It is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.”

The act of losing weight can be fueled by self-hatred, just like it can be fueled from self-love. Leaving a job can be from a place of hating your boss, or going to a company’s whose mission you believe in. Pay attention to who tells you it’s from a place of self-hatred, as those are people who are seeing it through their own filters. They tend to operate from that place, or believe the idea that love means to accept things as is, at all times, no matter what. They tend to be the ones who live in complacency, self-judgement, and nothing ever feels good enough.

Check-in with yourself when making goals and decisions. Where is the decision coming from? Is it from love and abundance, or fear and scarcity? Are you thinking things are not good enough as they currently are?

As a personal trainer and mindful health coach, I have found that people are very quick to assume someone must hate their body in order to make changes or go to the gym. There is so much evidence out there that exercise and a positive body-image shifts our sense of self-esteem, yet some people discount it immediately. Here are even some examples of how exercise is proven to have a positive impact:

From Medical Yoga Therapy, a medical journal by Ira Stephens: “Multiple studies have shown that yoga can positively impact the body in many ways, including helping to regulate blood glucose levels, improve musculoskeletal ailments and keeping the cardiovascular system in tune. It also has been shown to have important psychological benefits, as the practice of yoga can help to increase mental energy and positive feelings, and decrease negative feelings of aggressiveness, depression and anxiety.”

From Harvard Medical School: “Exercising starts a biological cascade of events that results in many health benefits, such as protecting against heart disease and diabetes, improving sleep, and lowering blood pressure. High-intensity exercise releases the body’s feel-good chemicals called endorphins, resulting in the “runner’s high” that joggers report.”

Wanting these things for ourselves in no way says that the way things aren’t good enough. Things can be great, and we still see a next level for ourselves in any domain of our lives. We can want a job that is fulfilling without criticizing the one we have. We can strive for a lower body fat percentage without hating the skin we are in. We can take initiative to have a healthier relationship without it being an insult to our partner. We are worthy of moving on to what’s in store for us, and reaching our goals.

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