On Being Your Best Self
A few months ago I decided to make a few changes in my life. I wish I could say it was because I had some sort of epiphany.
Actually, it was because I kept getting sick and I felt as though it was a direct result of some of the choices I was making. Who I was dating. How I was dating. What I was eating. Or not eating. How I was dealing with my feelings. Or not dealing with my feelings.
And so I quit dating, and I cut my hair.
I decided to just eat whatever I wanted when I was hungry without counting calories or cutting carbs or living on coffee for the better part of the day while “forgetting” to eat until dinner time.
I made a conscious decision to protect my own feelings, which sometimes meant not being nice and appropriate and polite in my dealings with certain people.
And guess what, it worked.
I did feel better physically. I haven’t had a stomach ailment, which had plagued me for many months, since then. Granted, I’ve had a month-long cold turned sinus infection, but I don’t think that’s related to my mental health.
The time I’ve saved by not dating has been used in tackling all sorts of tasks, from small things like creating a budget (or at least, taking a hard look at my personal finances and spending habits. Oh Starbucks and manicures, how I miss thee.
I’m also much more well rested and pleasant, at least for 3 weeks out of the month, anyway, and even though my work was busy and I had to drop my exercise routine, I was able to hold it together through a pretty stressful month.
And while I’m still a little sad and lonely, they are passing feelings, rarely sticking around for more than a few minutes, the gratefulness I feel about my life squashing them to bits.
But when I look in the mirror, I don’t recognize myself.
I vacillate daily about my short hair. I’ve gained weight.
And I realize now how much of my own self worth I placed squarely on my appearance. That my version of my best self was when I was pretty and thin, without any thought to what was going on inside.
Because I get attention and compliments. And people like me. Or “like” me.
It’s vapid, vain, and completely shallow. And it’s no wonder I’ve found myself in unhappy relationships.
But right now, as I am, I’m pretty sure is my best self, or at least as close to it as I’ve ever been.
I know myself better than I ever had before. I’m doing my best to protect my heart and take care of myself.
Granted, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthier, and I certainly need to exercise again for my own sanity’s sake, not just so I can fit my butt in all the pants I bought on a recent shopping spree.
That’s okay too.
And sure, not every hairstyle is going to be the most flattering. But it’s just hair. It grows.
Our best physical selves are easy to change, but really, quite fleeting. Time is not our friend.
But the other stuff, the important stuff, well that’s all that really matters in the end.
The people that love me, the people that I should want to love me, well, they see that. And now, I’m seeing it for myself.
Published January 14, 2015. Last updated June 12, 2015.