It’s called a “work of art” for a reason — the masterpiece you are sculpting takes work.
The artist sits with a lumpy ball of clay. She molds the clay with her hands, encouraging it to take shape. She doesn’t lament over the work in progress. Instead, she visualizes the perfect product. Each move of her hands guides the clay into the shape she has pictured so many times in her head. The artist is encouraged with each deliberate effort. She touches the work that only existed in her mind until recently. After patience and perseverance, the ball of clay becomes a work of art. There is beauty in the process … even in the beginning.
We are all artists, in one way or another, but we often don’t take the time to appreciate where we currently are in our personal process. Can you acknowledge your own beauty? Do you appreciate your strong legs, or your wild hair, or your ever-thinking mind?
Recently, I was cleaning out my storage unit and came across a journal and pictures from college and after graduation. I remember always feeling self-conscious back then. I focused on my bad skin, my frizzy hair and how I was cursed with inheriting my mom’s shape. In my journal, I wrote about how happy I’d be when I finally “got it together.”
In those days I was shy and felt awkward, but as I look at the pictures now I see myself in a different way. The “flaws” that plagued my thoughts back then are no longer visible to me. Instead, I see my strengths and my beauty.
Life happens, and we all go through ups and downs, but now I realize that the majority of my downs were self-created. Whether we’re participating in physique competitions or just training to be fit and strong, it’s easy to be hypercritical and overly hard on ourselves, but we each have the power to mold our thoughts in the same way we mold our bodies. We can choose our perspective, so why not choose the one that makes us the happiest?
What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror? Make it a point to pay attention to your internal dialogue. Many times, we say things about ourselves that we wouldn’t dare hiss at an enemy. We do it often enough, and it becomes a habit we might not even be aware of. But it’s time to break the cycle.
For the next week, try this simple exercise: When you wake up, recite 10 or more positive affirmations. If you're not sure what to say, these are good suggestions.
It may feel silly at first, but give it five minutes in the morning, and see how you feel over the course of a week. When you look in the mirror, practice acknowledging your strengths first, and smile. You are beautiful. Not when you have makeup on, not when you lose that last five pounds, not after your morning coffee. You are beautiful right now.
Focused repetitions in the gym will create beautiful muscles — focused repetitive positive thoughts will create a beautiful mind. I believe that one cannot exist without the other!