Self-Love and Acceptance – Collaboration With Purpose

Self-Love and Acceptance

Self-Love and Acceptance – Collaboration With Purpose

I’ve told this story a number of times but never have I told it like this…

Nearly 12 years to the day, I visited my doctor. The purpose of my visit was a simple and routine check-up. At the time, I was young, cocky, and impetuous. Even after watching a friend that I had graduated with go through two bouts of cancer, I had convinced myself that I didn’t need to see a doctor.

I was and finally free. Why should I?

For the first time in my life, I was able to do all the things that I grew up dreaming of doing.

  • Late night video game marathons
  • Sleeping in well past my mid-morning alarm clock
  • Eating whatever I wanted to eat
  • Exercising only when I needed more beer

I felt great.

I was young and as Frank Sinatra had convinced me, I was doing it my way.

During this time, I ignored my body more than I had at any point in my life. I ballooned up to 215 pounds and didn’t even notice. I didn’t know it yet but my body had grown tired of me. It would soon let me know.

Before I made my appointment I made sure to find out what time the office opened at. I was certain that the visit was going to be quick and I didn’t want to spend any extra time waiting. It opened at 8:00.

I walked in looking and feeling as though I owned the office. I confidently stepped my way to the counter and announced that I was here to see the doctor. In a stern voice, I was told to take my seat.

“Must not know who I am”, I told myself.

At 8:20 I was called.

He and I sat down and talked for a bit. We talked about life, where I was heading, and who I wanted to be. After our pleasantries were exchanged, he began to give me the news.

There are some people in life that are very effective in getting a message across…he is one of them. He lectured me that I was overweight, living with high blood pressure, a heart murmur, was borderline diabetic and would be dead before I reached 60. I was 22.

This was the turning point of my life.

I went home that day, cleared out my fridge and began to formulate a way to get the life I didn’t know was gone, back. In a period of 30 days, I shed 30 pounds. I was so focused that I actually remember going to the local grocery store so I test my blood pressure to see if it was dropping.

I had laid out some goals and my new life had started to define who I wanted to become. With my diet laying the foundation of change, I began to run…and run a lot. Dropping weight became an obsession and at my lowest point, I weighed a paltry 167 pounds. If this doesn’t make you cringe, understand that I am 6’4”.

Hearing my eventual wife tell me I was too skinny sent my life on a whole new path.

I became obsessed with becoming the best physical version of myself that I could be. To do this, I began going to the gym to lift weights. The gym and I were the perfect fit. I loved it and it loved me. I wanted to feel good and look better. The gym allowed this.

My obsession became a compulsion.

At my most confident, I weighed in at 205 pounds and could lift more than most around me. I had done it. I was fit, lean, and I did it for myself…

…At least I thought I did.

I’ve dedicated a lot of my thoughts over the last few years thinking about my compulsion. Was it worth it? The pain, the torment, and agony. Did I actually enjoy what I was putting myself through? 

Were my obsession, compulsion, and dedication a reflection of what I wanted or was it a reflection of what I perceived the world wanted?

The answer is twofold.

First, I had been scared that day at the doctors and wanted to do everything in my power to prevent that feeling from ever coming back. Hearing what I heard at 22 was like an explosion of reality that changed who I was. He had gotten to me in a way that no one had ever been able to do before.

Second, my reflection has forced me to realize that I had carefully crafted a persona that I wanted to world to know me for. For years I did whatever it took to protect that persona. My compulsion was because I was afraid that if I didn’t continually keep my body the way that I thought the world wanted to see it, I wouldn’t be accepted by it.

I lived my life never truly accepting myself for who I was in fear of judgment from those around me. All aspects of my life revolved around maintaining the visage I created.

I was on a road with no end. No matter how defined, muscular, or lean I became, I was never going to be satisfied. I was a victim of my own insecurities and was stuck in a vicious cycle that I couldn’t escape.

Life will not always workout the way you want it to. What it will do is workout the way that you need it to.

In short, I lacked self-love.

In a matter of two months, I sustained two devastating injuries, both of which took the better part of two years to heal. I was left without an identity. Not being able to lift weights hurt more than the injuries.

Everything that I had used to define myself was taken from me. Worse yet, I was scared that the world would finally see me for who I left behind so long ago. Unable to work out, my confidence suffered.

I sat, confidence destroyed, and thought about my life during the first 4 months of healing. It tore me apart to know that everything I had worked so hard to achieve was turning to literal mush.

I was left with more questions than at any point in my life.

A little over a month ago I reached out to some friends from another part of the world about trading blog articles. I was overjoyed when the responded with a resounding “Yes”. We swapped those articles a couple of weeks ago, and if you want to read them, you can find them here and here.

Life will not always workout the way you want it to. What it will do is workout the way that you need it to.

Through my reaching out, the questions that have brought me so much pain were answered.

As well as swapping articles, my friend invited me to join a collaboration project that she was apart of. This project has the participants each write an article based on the same theme. 

This article, the one that you are currently reading is my first contribution to the project. The theme of the articles is Self-Love and Acceptance. This article couldn’t have come at a better time.

Acceptance. The answer to my pain was self-love and acceptance.

I now realize that it wasn’t my inability to feed my compulsion that left me powerless. I was left powerless because I didn’t understand the power that my compulsion had over me.

I lifted weights, tore muscles, sustained injuries, and missed out on so much of my younger years because I prized the acceptance of others more than my own acceptance. I was scared to let others see my flaws or see my pain.

The world lacks self-love and I’m not alone.

This phenomenon occurs more than we think. I’ve watched, talked to, and been confided in the same from so many around me.

I’m:

  • Ugly
  • Too fat
  • Not funny
  • Not smart enough

I:

  • Hate myself
  • Wish I had…
  • Want a new life
  • Can’t get ahead

This way of thinking is paralyzing. As it did in my case, it prevents the showcasing of true self and instead hides it behind a created picture perfect persona. Rather than spending the freest years of my life in perpetual self-love, I spent it behind a carefully constructed wall so the world could love me.

And I wonder if you do too?

Not everyone is like me practices self-love through thinking and reflection. For you, here are a few things that I have asked others to do.

Let go of the past

Nothing that you can do right now can change what has happened in the past. Learn to let go of it and free yourself from the trauma it brings. Instead of allowing it to cripple your current experiences, thank it for what it has done and ask it to leave. 

Participate in activities that you know you excel in

Nothing is more liberating and self-love elevating than doing something that you’re naturally good at. This advice comes with a caution, however. Be sure that you aren’t relying on it to prevent new experiences. New experiences are an integral part of life and as such, should be embraced. If you aren’t relying on your strengths to prevent change, go ahead, get better at them. 

Don’t let comparison take away your individuality

Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Relish the fact that you are an individual and as such, are the only version of you on the planet. Even identical twins aren’t completely identical.

Each of us, including you, has something special to offer the world. Find out what it is and exploit it. 

Begin your day on a positive note

Rise each morning telling yourself something great about you. Self-love can begin with compliments. If you can’t think of a compliment, don’t fret. Try starting with:

  • I won’t give up because I haven’t exhausted all possible scenarios
  • I matter
  • Others like being around me
  • My hard work speaks volumes about who I am
  • My life is not defined by any one moment. Rather, it is defined by all moments
  • I will continue to learn and implement everything that I learn.
  • There is no such thing as failure if I never quit

Make time to do the things that make you happy

The world is filled with opportunities to do the things you enjoy doing. Be sure to take some time to do them. Not only will this allow you to be yourself, it will allow others to see the real you. 

If you draw, then draw.

If you write, then write. 

Does reading make you happy? Then do it.

Walking the dog? Go for a walk.

Play with your kids? They’ll love it too.

It really doesn’t matter what it is, just be sure that it is something you truly enjoy.

Trust your intuition

I cannot stress this enough. Practicing self-love and trusting your intuition are inherently linked to one another. Your intuition, gut-feeling, or any thing it is called is there to act as a guide. Like walking through a jungle, if you choose not to use the guide, it can become easy to get lost.

Consider the intuition a map to the life you want. You’ll be surprised what will happen if you listen to it. 

Stop caring what others think of you

This quote by Auliq Ice sums it up nicely:

“The older I get the less I care what other people think of me. Therefore the older I get the more I enjoy life.”

Like earlier, I write this with caution. Don’t wait until you’re old to stop caring what others think.

Cheers to your success,

Joel

Oh,

Please be sure to check out the other blogs from around the world on this topic. You’ll be glad you did.

Addison D’Marko

Barb Caffrey

Harmonious Joy

Ipuna Black

I Think My Way

Jothish Joseph

Life As We Have Never Known It

Lil Pick Me Up

Moms On The Go

Mylene C. Orillo

Sadaf Saddiqi

Sensible Nonsense

Stories of a Highly Sensitive Introvert

 

 

 

 

 

I'M JUST TRYING TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
YOU TOO?
TOGETHER WE CAN
About Joel Scott 93 Articles
I am a family man first and foremost. Everything that I do is for my family. They keep me focused and moving forward. My world was turned upside down when I visited Africa for the first time. That trip left me with a newfound purpose in life: To cause and create profound change in every corner of our world.

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19 Comments on "Self-Love and Acceptance – Collaboration With Purpose"

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Ipuna Black
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Wow! Joel, I feel like I need to rewrite my piece! That was so real, honest, and helpful. Well done. And what a bold doctor you had. Good for him. Sometimes we need to hear the truth just straight forward.

Sonyo Estavillo
Guest

I commend you for the journey you went through in finding yourself and becoming a better person as a result. Sometimes it takes falling down to learn the strength in getting back up again. At my lowest points in life I noticed that the struggle itself gave me the self respect to continue in my life and pursure the most challenging goals.

Sadaf Siddiqi
Guest

What a real motivating story!The points are well listed.

Mylene Orillo
Guest

Thank you for sharing your story. The shedding of 30 pounds in 30 days seemed intense. But it’s true, no matter how lean you’ve become sometimes our thoughts about ourselves doesn’t change and if we can’t get off our own insecurities, we can never be happy. Glad to have stumbled upon your website and for joining the collab.

Divyang Shah
Guest

It needs a great deal of courage and self motivation for what you have done for yourself. You even showed how should we react in such collab. Good work 🙂✌👌

Addison D\'Marko
Guest

Wow joel very touching piece, thanks for sharing.

Jothish Joseph
Guest

It was great reading through your story and I must say you’ve learned a lot and also taught us. The World lacks self love but life someday does teach a lesson to such people.

Jainey
Guest

I never cease to get a huge load of motivation whenever I drop by your place. Wow. Just wow. Love how real, honest and down to earth this post is. This is truly motivational.
Glad to have you with us.

Sibo
Guest

Thanks for writing this. I can relate to so much of what you wrote here. If we give something in our lives a lot of power, our confidence is shattered when that thing is taken away from us. The sad part is that we only realize how much power it had over us when we don’t have it anymore.

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