by Brittany Gillis

Have you ever been at the gym wishing you could be that person who is lifting a ton of weight or that girl who has enough confidence to work out in her sports bra? You want so bad to be that person, so you workout countless hours each day, or go on some extreme fad diet just to be “like them”. But are you really happy? Are you really feeling a sense of worthiness and happiness? Maybe? But most likely you are doing what makes someone else happy not YOU. Maybe it’s a lack of direction. But maybe it’s a lack of self-love.

Self-love is having a high regard for your OWN well-being and happiness. Self love is taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being for others. Self-love is a powerful thing that can help you in many areas of your life.

I was that person who wanted to be the girl running in her sports bra and feeling great about my body. I would work out and run and would diet like crazy. If I made an error on dieting I would binge eat and then tell myself I was never going to be like that girl if I kept eating like an asshole. After so long with this unhealthy self-talk, I started to believe it. It started taking over my life. If I didn’t hit a PR in the gym I was not good enough. If I didn’t get acknowledged at work for something I did, I felt I wasn’t good enough. I knew I needed to change something – I knew people talked about learning to love yourself, but I didn’t know how to do it. So through some friends and colleagues, I finally found some resources.

I found some great podcast episodes (this one and this one, especially). I started doing some deep breathing exercises: I’d breathe deep and tell myself that I love myself, then I’d exhale all the things that are not that. It was amazing. It only takes about 2 mins of your day and can have a huge impact. I started looking for other ways to strengthen my self-love. I take a hot bath and drink a glass of wine and think about all the positive things that have happened in the week and what I am most grateful for. But there are lots of routes to self-love: you can try journaling, going for a walk, having a dance party with your kids and family; options are endless.

I got to a place where I was sacrificing my own happiness to be like someone else. Now, I am striding on my own path to be the best version of myself and to show others how important and truly powerful this love can be. This is the raw stuff that takes hard work, but with the right tools and the endless support of your coaches and family, it can change everything in your life.