For a long time, I’ve been working on accepting myself for who I am. I don’t succeed very easily at this, due to a high level of self-criticism and some pretty low self-esteem related to certain issues. I am now more aware of what I do to myself and what I do have control over. But it hasn’t been easy.
Just recently, though, I feel like I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough.
I think it started with taking up running. As I’ve mentioned, I trained over the summer with two friends (and a super-cute beagle) to run a 5k. We followed the Couch to 5k program (which I highly recommend) and by golly, it got us from being couch potatoes to completing a 5k. We took our time with the program and extended it several weeks until we could complete the distance. And we ran our 5ks a few weeks ago. Yay for us!
A pleasant side-effect of the running was that I lost about 15 pounds. I did not set out on the running specifically to lose weight; I wanted to get some exercise and feel healthier, and I wanted to accomplish something that would be a bit of a stretch for me. But, of course, I’m not complaining about the 15 pounds.
Losing 15 pounds meant that my clothes did not really fit. I dealt with it through the summer, but when cooler weather arrived, and I pulled out my longer pants, etc., I knew I needed to do some shopping. So, I went out and bought several pairs of pants and jeans. They fit nicely instead of being baggy and shapeless. They’re fairly stylish (I think). And they make me feel good.
With our trip to Italy coming up (we leave in two days!), I also wanted to make sure I had some decent tops – layers, in particular – to wear. I don’t want to be the Ugly American Tourist wearing a fanny pack and over-sized college sweatshirt while touring the Vatican. So I picked up a few things. And then I found my super-cute trench coat (the black one with the large plaid pattern), which makes me feel very hip.
I think my new wardrobe gave me the confidence to go for it with my hair. I am not typically a woman to go for major changes, and I worry a lot about what other people think about me, so this was very uncharacteristic of me to make a very obvious change. I’ve been thinking about changing my hair color for months, but just now I got the courage to go for it. I even picked up some new eye make-up this weekend, since I felt like my coloring had changed a bit with the “new” hair color.
I now feel like a new woman. I have clothes that fit and that look nice, I’m enjoying my new look with my hair, and I can feel the confidence setting in. While things like clothes and hair color are merely on the exterior, I’m feeling a positive change on the inside, one that is helping me to appreciate myself a little more.
It feels really good.