It was the night after New Year’s, and I was sitting alone at the bar where I work. The night was slowly crawling by as the usual patrons and the regular barflies drifted in and out. I was silently reflecting on the past year of my life, thinking about all of the steps I had taken that led me here.
I was in the middle of jotting down a mental to-do list for 2018 when a familiar face sat down on the barstool next to me. A frequenter of this establishment, she and I were no strangers to each other.
We said our salutations and proceeded to small talk. The conversation was light as per usual when the topic of New Year’s resolutions came up. She asked me what mine were for the year.
Now, I’m not big on resolutions because I don’t believe they work or change anything. This year was different, however, because I had actually made a resolution. I was so tired, and I had to put an end to it or I never would. And so I answered, “My resolution this year is to stop hating myself.” I had spent too much time in the past telling myself I wasn’t good enough or smart enough or whatever enough.
She nodded, smiled, and replied, “Yeah. That’s a good one. I used to do that too. I used to make all these resolutions about how I was going to lose a lot of weight and suddenly become really pretty and endlessly happy.”
I was intrigued because the woman in front of me was beautiful and she wore her confidence like a new coat. I needed to know the secret so I asked her, “So what resolution did you make for this new year?”
She replied, “ I stopped telling myself that I needed to lose weight or drop dress sizes. Instead, I made a promise to myself that I would get IN SHAPE. You see there is a difference. I stopped being obsessed with the numbers and started challenging my body, pushing myself to see how much more weight I could lift or how much farther I could run.”
I leaned in with anxious ears as she continued. “I stopped worrying about how I looked and started being more concerned with how I felt,” she said, “Once I did that, I always felt beautiful. Not because of what my body looked like, but because I knew what my body was capable of. That, to me, became beautiful.”
She opened my eyes. It had never occurred to me to look at it that way. I didn’t need to look like the women in magazines or on television in order to be beautiful. I don’t have to be a size zero to find worth in myself. I am never going to find satisfaction or joy amongst the pounds I shed. I have strong legs to carry me along with working lungs to help me endure and a beating heart to push me forward. After being on the fence about resolutions, she helped me solidify my plans to stop hating myself and to start loving the body, the mind, and the spirit that I have.