“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
I declared February to be Love Yourself month at our CrossFit gym. My goal was simple. I wanted to take back this short span of time that our culture has traditionally relinquished to processed sugar and Cupid’s trinkets in order to replace it with something we all need - self love. “You can be your own Valentine!” I highlighted posts and inspirational quotes to promote positive self talk and self care throughout the month.
The centerpiece of this campaign came from our athletes themselves. I asked them to write something that they loved about themselves on a board. I photographed them holding their words to post on our social media pages. It sounds like an inspiring, positive endeavor to spread light and self love, right?
For the entire month of February, men and women were ducking, hiding and sprinting to their cars after class to avoid having to tell me ONE THING they loved about themselves. Except for a few male athletes who said, “Can I only write one thing?” or “My list won’t fit on this tiny board,” people were in a panic. You would think I asked them to run barefoot over flaming coals (they would have preferred that). A few women even asked me if they could write what they didn’t love about themselves. My answer was, of course, “NO! We do that all the time anyway! What do you LOVE?”
This experiment was eye opening and sort of heart breaking. Why is it that we are so uncomfortable talking about ourselves in a positive light? Why do we tend to linger on the negative? Do we fear that we will be seen as conceited or full of ourselves if we actually celebrate our successes?
This idea came up in a book that I just finished reading. In Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis exposes lies we tell ourselves that keep us from reaching our full potential. She described attending a conference where author Elizabeth Gilbert asked participants to make a list of everything they had accomplished; not what they wanted to do or needed to do but all that they had already done. She said there was not a dry eye in the room. It seemed so foreign for the attendees to stop and acknowledge that they should already be proud of themselves.
One of the many things I love about the CrossFit community is that people frequently post and celebrate their accomplishments. CrossFit Jane has a celebration board for each month. Athletes highlight their accomplishments. It is not viewed as bragging or showboating because success in this sport requires hard work and dedication— much like in life. So why not spend more time celebrating ourselves?
A friend of mine recently reminded me that when I start seeing myself as others do, I will really love myself. I have seen my reviews on ratemyprofessor.com; I’m not all rainbows, unicorns and chili peppers. But, at the end of the day, she might be right. I love building up my friends. I am a cheerleader and will lead a public display of hooting and hollering in a skinny minute when a friend or family member does something great. Turn that camera around though, and it is a bit squirmy and uncomfortable.
Social media has definitely left a bad taste in our mouth when it comes to self-promotion. We have all unfollowed people who constantly boast about themselves. And I, for one, prefer to see real rather than perfectly staged fairy tale versions of someone’s life. But I also appreciate seeing someone who can talk about themselves in a positive light. In her book, Hollis describes her accomplishments. I think a younger, less mature version of me would have thought she was just tooting her own horn. However, as an almost 39 year old (GULP) reader, I can extend a nice, slow clap. Preach. Talk about your successes, Rachel, because you also talk about the journey and many failures that got you to where you are.
We set the tone for our life. Perception is reality. How can we ever expect to be happy with ourselves if we only acknowledge the negative? I know it feels weird. Maybe you are worried it will appear desperate or that you are seeking approval. And guess what, maybe you are! But the approval we all desperately need comes from ourselves.
I saw a picture online that stated, “In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.” The odds are stacked against us. Content, self-loving people are too busy enjoying life to be consumers. They are producers of their own joy. I say we all give it a try. Let’s be rebels. We can love ourselves this and every month.
Things I Love About Myself…
jazz hands and enthusiasm
muscles and physical strength
mind (it’s a love/hate relationship)
healthy, capable body that birthed two incredible kids
I’m a visionary, and without a vision the people perish (my Momma taught me that)
I’m a good teacher and at my best in the classroom
What is on your list?
Visit our Community page at crossfitjane.com to see the full collection of posts on self love from the month of February.