I have struggled for years with self-esteem and faith. I managed to find both through fitness.
As I mentioned in when I started my 12-week journey, this was about a journey of self-love and acceptance, no matter where I was in life.
Self-esteem is a major issue among women, with some going as far to say it’s a global crisis. It can lead to health issues such as depression and anxiety. Although it’s not talked about,so many people experience it.
This article shows you how I regained my self-esteem and faith in fitness. I hope that you can take away something from my experience and apply it to your own life.
Everyone has their own self-esteem triggers. For some it’s health and fitness. For others it’s finances or relationships.
I’ll be OK when I lose this weight. I’ll be OK when I find the perfect partner. I’ll be OK when…
For me, my trigger is money. On a logical level, I know that basing my worth on how much money I have doesn’t work.
Yet, I would tell myself I would be OK when I get out of debt or have enough in savings, or have a certain level of income.
And for years, I would predictably be in debt. I would just get by, telling myself that I would be OK when… and being angry and frustrated and hating myself when I was nowhere near where I wanted to be.
In fact, I took plenty of steps backwards.
I never felt like I was worthy of love and acceptance unless I had my financial shit together. And that included being in a relationship with my co-pilot and I did everything in my power to destroy it.
All because I owed some money and I didn’t feel worthy of love.
Some of you might be reading this and you’ve know me for a long time. Why didn’t I share all of this before? 1.) I was scared to and I needed to show that I am a capable person. 2.) I didn’t want you to worry about me. 3.) I didn’t want you to think any less of me.
That may or may not be the case. But this is my truth and I’m committed to sharing it to help others.
A New Sense of Faith
Recently, I found a new sense of faith, a new sense of resolve and a new sense of self. I’m not sure how it happened. I listed to the audiobook of A Purpose Driven Life. I purchased in 2001 or 2002. It sat in my collection untouched for about 15 years.
After all, this was was the perfect time to hear the message and to be open to faith. There were some truths in there that spoke to me.
The two that I reflect on the most are:
Life is a test.
Rick Warren talks about how life is a test. We are put in situations that test our faith, our trust in God (or whatever higher power you believe in), a test of your commitment and a test of who you are.
What I realized is that I didn’t have a clear idea of who I was or what I stood for. I know that I absorbed a lot of emotions that didn’t serve me, and I acted accordingly. That alone would make it very easy to become derailed from what was truly important.
I had a beautiful opportunity to reset to tell and live a new story about myself. A story that says that I am powerful, I am someone who cares about keeping her word, I know that anything is possible, I am always happy, always connected to my true self and with the world around me. I’m someone who inspires others. I’m madly in love with life and I’m madly in love with myself. That is who I truly am.
Growing through temptation.
This really resonated with me because when I was growing up, I always thought of temptation literally. As in, don’t eat the apple, don’t steal, or have an affair with someone else’s spouse.
In the context of the book, temptation is essentially ego. It’s that voice of doubt and fear that causes us to react in certain ways. I know that for me, I definitely acted from fear and doubt many times over.
Here was an opportunity to turn that around and act from a place of love, faith, joy, patience and kindness.
That has helped me get back to letting go and finding faith when I had none and I just gave up on life.
I started to value myself more by working out and seeing the positive shifts. I started to believe in something bigger than myself and not try to control everything. Most of all, I let go of being angry with myself.
Testing My Self-Esteem and Faith
Of course, when you are learning something new or having a new awareness, you’re going to be tested. Something will come up that will try to shake that new-found awareness.
I am no exception.
Friday of this week came a massive test of this faith. I received calls and letters regarding old issues seemingly out of nowhere. I know that I have things to clean up and this was the time to do it.
My typical response is one of panic. My fight or flight response would be sky high. Anxiety would kick in, and all I could do was to focus on those things. I would obsess until I’d call and tell a sob story and then things would be OK for a while. The cycle would repeat itself over and over.
This time was different. There was a fight or flight response. But I didn’t obsess.
I reminded myself that I had to go through these things to learn how to love myself unconditionally. On the surface, it may be an expensive lesson, but the knowing that I am worthy of love regardless of how I look or how much money I have is priceless. I was at peace in the moment of chaos.
This was part of God’s plan and I didn’t have to have it all figured out. I just had to reach out and pick up the phone.
In fact, I was excited to call so I can share the lessons I learned. I stayed present and help others. I was still able to enjoy myself because I deserve to do so.
What can You Find Self-Esteem and Faith Through Fitness?
We all seem to have a hard time remembering who we truly are. Sometimes, we let other people or circumstances get in the the way of us being our authentic selves. This is what I want you to remember.
- We are all worthy of love. Fuck anyone who tells you otherwise (that might include your ego). That is regardless of how you look or how you might feel about your body. In fact, 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful, but do not see their own beauty.
Your job is to remind yourself of that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL and YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE every single day. Even in those moments when it seems really difficult to do so.
- Trust the process. You know that you’re doing the right things to take care of yourself, yet these same things keep coming up. These are tests. Once you recognize that what you’re coming up against is a test, it is so much easier to work with. Be committed to passing the test.
- Calm your mind. In know in my case, I get anxious and obsessive and I can go down the rabbit hole pretty quickly. I have to notice when that is happening and breathe.
- Be positive & smile. Staying positive and reminding yourself that you’re doing the right things and everything is happening exactly as it should is helpful when fear and doubt want to take over. Having trouble with this part? The picture below might help.
Of course, we’re expecting a magical moment where everything ‘clicks’ into place and we’re magically transformed. Those moments do happen, but they are rare.
Making any kind of change takes practice.
Regardless, there are certain things that I know:
- I don’t have all of the answers.
- There may be moments where my ego want to tell me horrible things about myself.
- I must practice telling myself that I am worthy of love regardless of my situation.
This is why fitness is so important in a daily routine. Think of training as a daily love letter to yourself. You’re putting yourself first. You are taking care you.
Have your own tips and tools to share? I’d love to hear from you! Share in the comments below.