My happiness has always been just 10 pounds away, just a degree away, just a boyfriend away, just a new pair of shoes away, just a circumstance away. It is never now, because now always feels like a struggle, full of regret, shame and envy.
Even in my journey of self-love, I assumed happiness was on the other side of overcoming self-loathing. I’ll be much happier after I banish low self-esteem forever, after I’m finally in love with myself, after people’s comments no longer get to me. This is the reason why I would often feel so frustrated and angry whenever I felt myself slipping back into old self-sabotaging habits. Setbacks made me feel like I was losing grip on my happiness goal which felt so near. I was convinced that if I just overcame this one insecurity issue, my life would finally fall into place. A journey that was meant to free me from self-loathing and help me live a purposeful life, became its own trap I failed to realize that life doesn’t begin only after you’ve reached your goal.
It’s great to have goals in life, but in banking your happiness on them, you put your life on a shelf, ready live it only after said goals have been reached. Before you realize it, life has passed you by while you were looking at your checklist. If you stop for a moment, just long enough to take an assessment of your life you will see that it was the in between moments that really give you joy. All the times in college before getting your degree, the times in the gym before hitting your goal weight, the late nights designing your project to present at work, the sweating hours on your yoga mat to master a pose, the great times with friends and family on random trips.
Please don’t wait to live your life, don’t wait to earn happiness. Don’t wait to lose weight before including yourself in pictures, or saying yes to an adventure. Don’t wait to feel worthy before saying yes to love, to a new job, to a new project. The in-between, that is sacred space. That is where magic happens. Be here, be present, live.
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.