View this post on Instagram
It’s easy to lose sight of what our bodies are capable of and what they do for us every day.
Often, it’s not until we’re sick or injured and can’t do something that we truly appreciate how strong our bodies are.
Let’s rewind to 2018, when I was still hyper-focused on the scale and what size I was wearing to determine my worth and how I felt about myself.
I ignored any athletic accomplishments, like personal bests in marathons or half-marathons or even that I could pick up my five-year-old and swing him around at the playground (he used to laugh as I dipped him down to the ground and high to the sky).
To me, if I couldn’t see a change in terms of weight loss or definition in my body, it didn’t matter. Of course, I was surrounding myself with like-minded people who competed in bikini fitness competitions, so that did nothing good for my mindset.
Then, one morning around 9:30, it hit me—quite literally. A driver under the influence crossed the yellow line directly into my car. All I could hear was the noise of metal-on-metal crunching. My cell phone catapulted through the air from my center console into my windshield.
My seat belt saved me from going through my windshield. When I unclicked it and got up to get out of the car, a red-hot pain like nothing I’d ever felt before shot down my legs through my feet. I could barely get out of the car.
The disc injury in my spine was so bad I needed surgery. What size jeans I was wearing and the number on the scale were suddenly insignificant. I couldn’t lift up my son. I couldn’t even walk up the stairs.
As part of my recovery post-surgery, I had to do mini walks three times a day. The first day I attempted this, I made it three houses down and had to turn around. I used to be able to run 26 miles and now I couldn’t even walk one.
I suddenly appreciated what my body used to be able to do. The way I would fly across the pavement and feel almost weightless when I ran. I couldn’t stop comparing myself post-surgery to what I “used to do.” Achievements from years before had value I had never given them before once I knew I wouldn’t be able to do those things again.
I was so mad at myself for taking it all for granted. For never, not once, stopping to be grateful I could run every day. For never being proud of the way I was able to move my body. For only caring about how I thought it looked.
On that cold February day three years ago, I stood in the middle of my street with tears pouring down my face and my nose running from the cold while neighbors drove by me. I looked like a crazy person just standing there crying. I didn’t give a sh*t. I was angry. I was frustrated. I was scared.
For the first time in my life, I didn’t care how I looked or what people thought of me…and it was liberating.
I started to see myself differently. I was celebrating my little wins in physical therapy. I could stabilize the opposite arm and opposite leg without tipping over. I could stretch out my back in half cobra pose.
I focused on what I could do as I grew stronger and stronger and started forgetting about what I couldn’t do anymore. If something seemed tough at first, or if I toppled over, I would think, “Right here, right now.” I started saying this to myself over and over again when I faced a challenge. It forced me to be present.
If we shift our mindset to the present moment, there is no space for comparison. Since we aren’t thinking about who we were in the past, we can’t beat ourselves up for mistakes or missteps we’ve made. By not worrying about the future, we can’t be frustrated by our progress or think we should be further ahead.
We are who we are today, right now, in this moment. Not who we were three weeks ago. Not who we were three years ago. Not who we are going to be three months from now.
All we have is here and now. Let’s maximize our joy by celebrating who we are today.