Pardon me while I get serious for a second. And a little bit cheesy. I love Cathy Zielske. I do. Her books are a big part of why I fell in love with this hobby.I love her sense of humor, her willingness to laugh at herself, her talent,her taste in music...okay, i think you get the idea. Geez,could I sound any more lame? HA!
But it's true. I'm blessed to be able to call Cathy a friend. She has been a great encouragement to me, and brought me MANY laughs.
I am thrilled that she agreed to do a guest post for my lovely things series. Thank you SO much, my friend.
Change. (Have you heard? It’s the new self-love.)
Quick: what do Weight Watchers, running and marriage counseling all have in common?
If your first guess was torture, try again.
Need a hint?
The thing they all have in common? Love. But not just an all-encompassing, garden variety kind of love. No, these things are a bit more focused. The over-arching thread? Self-love.
Not seeing the immediate connection? Let me tell you three stories.
Story Number One: In 2006, I wasn’t living the healthiest of lives. I smoked a pack a cigarettes a day, lived on as much fried food as I could wrap my lips around and the idea of exercise involved clicking my television’s remote control. I had just turned 40 and it was time to face the music: the way I was living was really out of line with someone who purported to “love” herself.
I mean, really. Think about that level of self-destruction. Nothing in the way I was living actually reflected the idea of self-love. Nothing in my life at the time was congruent with someone who actually cared for herself.
So I made changes. Hard changes. I quit smoking, I joined Weight Watchers and I decided to get on the wagon of self-care. It’s taken a while for this lifestyle to stick, but making the effort to change some of my bad habits was a tremendous gift to myself and my potential longevity.
Story Number Two: After quitting smoking and making some real positive changes, I had to go and introduce some not-so-positive ones. I decided to try some new ways of not loving myself, namely, to abuse food. And oh, once I got started on that one, it was hella hard to stop. I ended up packing on a good 40 pounds to my 5’6 frame and in 2009, I knew: something’s gotta give. Believe it or not, I decided to start running.
In my life up until this point, the only thing that would cause me to use my legs to run would be something like an oncoming avalanche, or a wild boar chasing me down the street. Running was something I decided back in the 7th grade—when a lap around the track caused my heart to beat so wildly against my chest that I was convinced I would surely be the first 13-year-old to suffer cardiac arrest in P.E. class—was not for me.
But guess what happened? I ran for one minute then walked for four. Then I ran for two. And then three. And in about two month’s time, I was up to running for 30 minutes non-stop and something really big started to happen: I started to view myself as person with fewer limits. From previously believing running was something only insane people did to realizing that I had the strength and stamina to run a 5K in under 40 minutes, I experienced a mental (and eventually physical) transformation.
I changed the way I viewed myself and in the process I realized that if this was possible, what other things could I do that I’d previously deemed unattainable?
Story Number Three: After 20 years of marriage, my husband Dan and I were tired of the same old fights and the same old scripts. We knew that a) we had something special, but that b) it needed a little tinkering. So a few years ago we jumped in feet first to work with a developmental therapist to tackle our issues.
Imagine my absolute shock to learn that the way I’d learned to be in the world wasn’t exactly conducive to living a responsible, adult life. I had thought counseling would be a lot like refereeing. You get this. He gets that. You do this. He does that.
But the core of what I’ve been learning (and still am in the process of learning) is that in order to really develop a loving and caring relationship with my husband, I need to change a lot of my attitude and my processes and my purposes in life. But by doing the work, and making key changes and understanding the hows and whys of who I am in the world, I’m able to work towards being a loving and wise person who offers love and understanding to myself and others. This will be the key to a fulfilling life and marriage.
These three stories link because they all share something in common: change. Specifically, the willingness to change, which is rooted deep within our attitudes and beliefs about ourselves.
I’ve learned that if I’m truly offering love to myself, the only way this will happen is to be willing to look at some of the inadequacies in my life and take the necessary steps to make the changes that are needed. At the same time, realizing that any time you step out of your comfort zone in the name of making a change that you need to make, you are ultimately doing a really brave and valiant act of self-love.
Make no mistake: change is not easy. Change takes work and commitment and focus. But change can be a way to give yourself a new level of love and understanding you may not have previously experienced.
When I think of the changes I’ve made over the past several years, I’m often flooded with a sense of love and pride and self-worth. It’s something I would wish on everyone I know.
Who knew that self-love would be such a huge byproduct of change?
I’m happy to say that now, I do.
Cathy Zielske is a graphic designer, online instructor, fitness afficianado and blogger who writes about life, love, scrapbooking and less chub on her blog, found here... She likes to pretend like she’s looking off into the distance, laughing at something funny that someone said when in reality, there’s no one there at all.