Everyone has a story.
We are all on a quest for love, health, and abundance.
Along the road, we all experience pain and suffering… looking at each other, we can hardly tell where we are at the continuum of pain or bliss.
Especially in any kind of exercise setting, it is easy to forget that we are all one and the same, just here to find our way towards our desires and destiny.
Maybe her pain is hidden behind her well groomed appearance, but you never know what the person next to you is going through, what her dreams are, what challenges she is facing on her way there, and what suffering she endured to be where she is.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” – T. Roosevelt
Ain’t that the truth? Yet we all do it. By doing so, we miss out. And we feel down.
We miss out on the opportunity to take an hour just for ourselves, and get the most of our time mentally, physically, and emotionally. We miss out on having compassion for others. We miss out on learning more about ourselves, and we miss out on feeling connected.
Next time you take a jealous glance at the bodies around you, send love, blessings, and compassion. You never know what is going on inside.
Extend the same to yourself. We all have our hands full with our own lives. When you catch a glance of yourself in the mirror, I invite you to use this affirmation:
I fully and completely love, accept and approve of myself.
It may sound silly at first, but our words hold great power. Just notice how it feels to say lovely things to yourself or about others versus judging the size of your thighs compared to another.
The great news, we are completely in charge of what we focus on. Do you really want to spend your time focusing on others? Not just during class, but in your life?
It takes away precious energy that we could be spending in totally uplifting, productive, and fun ways.
My invitation to you is get to know each other. Get to know the story. If you want someone else’s body, you also need to swap lives.
It is the nature of our inner critic, also referred to as “the ego,” to compare ourselves. That part of us is not our enemy. It is just trying to help and protect us. It is doing so by comparing, criticizing, judging, guilt tripping, and pushing.
Have compassion for this part of yourself. Understand that while it is trying to help, it does not work. It is like a parent or a teacher that thinks that by punishing, threatening, or yelling, they would get us to be more motivated. It never works.
Chances are, you have been criticizing yourself all your life and can see that it does not help.
So how about every time you compare yourself, let a red light bulb go off in your head. Gently shift your focus towards loving and compassionate thoughts. Draw your attention to your breath, relax your shoulders, and focus on the muscle that you are working. Get super present with the exercise; perhaps even close your eyes.
And remember that our bodies are just a vessel. The body is not who we are, it is just the house we live in. It changes constantly, inside and out. It is our vehicle, and we are the messengers inside.
Be a messenger of love. Radiate self love and acceptance. The change begins with you. Be happy with the skin you are in. Be a role model for all women by loving, accepting, and approving of your body.
I took my own advice a few weeks back. I eyeballed a beautiful woman in the corner. I found myself making up stories about how amazing her life must be. “She looks like she has it all together, and her body is rocking. She probably has an easy life, lucky one” crossed my mind.
My life that day was chaotic and lots of things were out of my control. My old habit of criticizing my body and comparing myself to others kicked in to take my mind off that which I could not control. We women tend to do that when there is something off in our lives; we turn to self judgment to distract from our soul’s true pain.
I felt my energy going down, my body feeling tight, and my mood getting irritable. So after class, I took some time to get to know her. Turns out that she has an autistic child that needs 24/7 care, and that her hour of Pure Barre is the only time she has to herself.
Now when I see her, I smile and send love and compassion her way. I feel so inspired by her strength, and in awe of her ability to take such good care of herself, despite her challenges.
We all have a story. And the story of a woman is usually paved with pain and suffering, fueled by hopes and dreams, lined with lots of people counting on her strength and care, and always searching for a happy ending.
Loves, we are here FOR each other. We are messengers of love, and when we allow ourselves to shine, we inspire others to do the same.
- Elli Boland is a life coach, yoga instructor, and an avid Pure Barre client in Charleston, SC. Elli believes in living on purpose, with purpose. Connect with her at elliboland.com