This one has been on my mind for a while.
The question is simple: how do we enjoy and celebrate the version of ourselves we’re growing into while making sure we’re not hating the version we were before that?
Celebrating weight loss without hating the extra weight we carried and how it made us feel at the time.
Celebrating more revenue/a higher salary without hating the version of us we considered poor.
Celebrating mental health progress without hating depression.
I think of this question in two ways:
- I want to be kind to my former self, and
- I want to be kind to anyone who is still that previous version of themselves, working towards a better one
Otherwise, I feel like all of my empathy and the drive to positively impact others isn’t real.
Over the last 12-ish months, I’ve lost close to 10 kilograms (~22 pounds). It’s a result of a very slow, intentional change of habits, both nutritional and activity ones. I am extremely proud of it and it’s given me the energy and drive I almost forgot I had.
It’s been interesting to see people’s reactions to my very visible physical transformation over the last year. Since I don’t live in the country I was born and raised in, some of my friends and family see me 3-4 times a year, months in between each of the occasions.
Everyone has had a reaction to my appearance. All of them were positive, but they showed me something I wasn’t quite aware of before: everyone was very obviously aware that I had issues with some extra weight, although very few talked about it.
And very few asked me if I was okay back then.
(It’s important to note that I’ve been in sports one way or another since I was 7, so many people never saw me as anything other than fit for over a decade… Until I wasn’t.)
It made me believe that I was a ‘fat’ person in everyone’s eyes, which created the grounds for me to resent those extra kilograms no matter how hard I tried not to. So I decided I won’t.
When I think of my earlier question, I think of this:
The previous version of myself is the exact version that worked hard to turn me into this, better version of myself.
The under-paid, burned-out-me had the willpower and drive to become excellent at her job and earn what she deserves.
The overweight-me had the love for her health and confidence to build habits and routines that made her strong, persistent, and energized.
The imposter-syndrome-infected-me had the guts to email people she admired, show up at terrifyingly huge conferences, and connect with her peers and intelligent people she can learn from.
So if you’re thinking about your progress (especially in this time of reflection as we enter a new year and a new decade), remember to give the previous version of yourself a lot of love, compassion, empathy, and a huge pat on the back.
Because it’s her (or him, or them) that got you exactly where you are right now.