When New Year's Eve comes around, a couple million of us decide that a resolution should be decided at the turning of the year. You see people promising to go to the gym, or cutting down on calories, or marking dates to call their mom.
To me, those resolutions seemed doable. All required some type of physical action. Yes, those may seem hard (sorry mom), but they were achievable. But, like always, I couldn't even succeed at all of those. I wasn't alone with the thousands of other people across the nation whose New Year's Resolutions always seemed to fall through.
When New Year's Eve rolled around, I hesitated to pick a physical resolution I knew I couldn't fulfill. My mind sifted through all memories and struggles I had encountered in the fall.
In the late fall of 2017, I could look in the mirror and say proudly, "I love myself." For the first time in my life, I wasn't lying. I did love myself. I do love myself. So, I knew what my resolution was.
I was going to dedicate an entire year to loving myself by following two simple rules: love the body and love the soul.
Loving the body, at first, seemed easy. "Oh, I'll just go to the gym, that way I will love myself."
Don't get me wrong, going to the gym and eating better definitely made loving my body easier and I know that is why I have grown to love my body, but you always hit a ridge. No matter how much you work out or how many calories you count, you can't change your face shape, your nose shape, or your eye color by simply going to the gym.
It takes mental strength to realize that social media warps the way you see beauty. To love body, it doesn't take going to the gym, it takes the realization that there is not a standard for beauty.
Yes, the people you see in magazines are beautiful, the boy on the street is beautiful, but they do not define beauty, because beauty has many different forms. Bodies have many different forms. Love has many different forms.
To love the body, I had to fall in love with my pale, grey eyes. I had to turn the other cheek while I watched celebrities paint over their freckles. I had to look in the mirror and love my bridged nose.
When I forgot about the "fictitious rule of beauty," I remembered and saw how beautiful I was. Loving the body was about loving everything that made me me. It wasn't just about the curve of my hips or the size of my thighs, it was about looking in the mirror and understanding that my "flaws" were not flaws at all.
The second step was loving the soul.
The soul doesn't have a physical aspect to it. It's simply there, it holds our consciousness. This was everything you were outside of your body and everything you were inside of the mind.
Again, it seemed easy. I was good person, I was kind and considerate towards others. I dropped pennies in the Ronald McDonald House box at McDonalds, I picked up trash in yard, I even bought people things they needed without ever asking for a payment in return.
I thought that meant I had a good soul, a soul worthy of loving. But many showers later and emotional awakenings, I realized I didn't love my soul at all.
I spent countless nights worrying about boys who were out of my league, drama that was so little a mouse couldn't even detect it, and what outfit I was going to wear the next day. I deprived myself of sleep and I lost focus of my purpose on earth.
I didn't love my soul, how could I? I didn't even know who I was or what soul I had within me. All I knew is I didn't love something that made me uniquely me.
It's not about the pennies or trash or even the "gifts," it's about the things in my life that made my soul happy. The moments in life that made my soul excited to be alive. I did things that hurt my mind and my consciousness. Things that veered me from my religion and my values. I became a person I was not proud of.
Loving the soul meant loving the things you do and unapologetically doing them because you know that is your purpose of life.
I loved my soul when I saw the way my presence brings joy to my friends, the way the children at the Ronald McDonald House smiled when I baked goods, the way I go the gym and I feel empowered about myself, the way I listen to my favorite song and scream it at the top of my lungs, the way I know I've made an impact on someone else's life and helped them find their purpose in life.
We are only three months into 2018 and I'm struggling with my resolution, but I know I am getting there. I love the body and I love the soul. It's making sure that I love both those even on rough day, even when I don't think I could love all.
Love the body. Love the soul. Love yourself as whole.