A few months ago, I shared about my history with eating disorders and how it was affecting my first time going through a weight cut. I wanted to share about what I've learned after a successful weight cut and tournament win.
I don't share the image above lightly. I'm not one to post photos like this. I share this to highlight just how much change I had undergone and how, societally, I should be happy with this degree of progress and attainment of my goals. I made my weight and I did in fact win my tournament. It was an incredible feeling, knowing the months of training, dieting, sweating, crying, and pushing myself had paid off.
But here's the punchline:
When the adrenaline wore off, and the "Congratulations!" and "You look amazing!" stopped coming, when my trophy gathered dust and an injury kept me from being able to train...I didn't feel good enough. I felt the weight of my worthlessness. And it was time to really dig into why.
Here is what I've come to truly believe:
It is so common yet so incredibly dangerous to anchor our value, our self-worth, to something that will change.
Obviously, body image and how I respond to my body based on how it looks is something I deal with on a daily basis. Something that was put under a microscope while I went through this season of my training. But I came to the following conclusions in the past few months after such a trying and emotional time for me:
Your body will change. Your job will change. Your friends will change. Even your abilities will change; you could get hurt or lose the ability to think clearly or take care of yourself. 100% of the tangible, "doable" things in this life will not last. Let that sink in for a moment.
With that in mind, why would you value yourself based on such fleeting, unstable things? Well, for one, because it's easy. It's easy to base how you feel on how you look or what you do or how high your grades are or how many friends you have or how much money you make because you can see that. You can measure it in some form or another and therefore, you can measure yourself.
Now, I'm not here to shove my specific beliefs down anyone's throat; that's not my M.O. However, I think we can all agree on the universal need to derive your value and base your worth on something unchangeable, unyielding and immeasurable. If you can measure it, it has a shelf life. It doesn't have an eternal, unbreakable value and therefore, it can't give you one.
It is so easy to think that the next goal or the next 5 lbs or the next promotion or the next relationship will make you feel better about yourself. It won't. I promise, it really, really won't. Because if that is where you're basing your worth, you will always be in a constant state of improvement and filled with a constant need for validation.
You don't need validation, you don't need improvement. You are enough, just as you are, right now.
I would be lying if I said I knew how to fully embrace this state of nirvana or that I could tell you what your anchor is; I don't know how and I can't decide that for you.
I have to constantly remind myself, almost on an hourly basis, that I am more than the number of squats I can do or the number of people that read my blog or the money in my bank account or even the number of people that love me. I am anchored to the truth that I have value because God gave me life and salvation and therefore, He gave me more value than I can ever give myself based on my shallow ideas of self-worth.
If nothing else, I hope you can join me in just being more aware. Aware of whether or not you're basing how you feel about yourself on things that will truly never fulfill you. Aware of what or who you are anchoring your self-worth to.
I still have goals. I still want to be a world champion fighter. But when I get to that point, I won't be worth any more or any less than I am right now as a slightly out of shape, socially awkward, writer/fighter-in-training.
And I think that's what it means to know your worth.