I have this friend.  She is one of the most beautiful souls I know.  She is the kind of person who, when she finds herself in the company of hate, racism, bigotry, or any other dehumanizing energy, she says to me, “I just can’t believe this world.  I need to make a list of ways I am going to intentionally reach out to and love more people this year to fill the void.”  I mean, that’s pretty freakin’ amazing right!?

Surprisingly, for years my friend didn’t see the same beautiful person in the mirror that the rest of us see.  As it turns out, my friend who makes all of us better by her vibrant presence is, in fact, overweight.  She has spent her adult life struggling to “become” the person she is supposed to be based on the number on the scale.  Her self worth has been entwined with her weight. 

Over the years, she has sought my sage council on the matter and has been a bright pupil.  She is incredibly intelligent, so she easily learns what I teach her about biology, calories, nutrients, and cooking.  She is very authentic, so I don’t spend hours sorting through the story she wants me to believe so that I can get to the heart of the issue.  And she is always ready to apply what she has learned – she doesn’t struggle with motivation. 

Yet, year after year, she has struggled to lose weight.  Her issue wasn’t any of the above, but it was the fact that her self worth was wrapped up in her weight.  Worth and weight were so tightly bound for her that she admitted she even held prejudice against total strangers for their extra pounds.  If she thought those things about total strangers, consider the degrading self talk that must have been going on inside her head for years.

So, in 2015 my friend did something radical.  She focused her whole year on two simple words: Self Worth.  With each emotionally squirrelly moment she faced this past year, she dug deep within, reached out to good friends for authentic feedback, and kept learning to love herself just as she was.  I am sure she would tell you it was hard, but good work.  She even gained a few pounds. There are two interesting things that have happened. 1. She can now separate lifestyle choices from her personal sense of self worth and 2. She now feels worthy of taking better care of herself. 

If you are reading this hoping for your own sage council on New Year’s resolutions that work for a healthier 2016, I need you to consider if you are really ready to take care of yourself.  Perhaps you need to work on self worth, less stress, or more joy.  [bctt tweet=”Whatever continues to be your barrier to health, work on deconstructing that first.”]  If you aren’t sure what your barrier is, get curious.  Spend 2016 with a journal and these three books 1. The Gifts of Imperfection, 2. Daring Greatly, and 3. Rising Strong by the lovely Brene Brown.  If you only have time for one, settle in with The Gifts of Imperfection.  It starts like this, “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do…when the same truth keeps repeating itself it’s hard to pretend that it’s just a coincidence.”

If you keep ignoring your barrier, then you’ll keep running into it. One way.

If you keep ignoring your barrier, then you’ll keep running into it.  If you don’t believe me, consider how many things you have ignored in your life that simply disappeared into thin air and never became an issue again.  Not going to happen, sister.  When people ask you, “Why aren’t you focusing on losing weight?” You can say, “Oh, my personal dietitian told me to focus on my inner self first.”  Then post the image above from my Pinterest page to yours. They will think you are the hippest lady in the burbs and will likely start looking up to you and this, too, will help with your “inner work.

So here’s to you and YOUR SELF this year.  Because every single soul on this earth matters more than we can ever imagine – including you.