Dear Past Belinda,
You live surrounded by beautiful women on magazine covers, television, the internet and even your family and friends. Society judges women based on their appearance or status in life. Honestly, you’ve done the same. There have been times you’ve compared yourself to __________ . (Fill in the blank; but you can practically insert the word ‘everyone’ here.) Unfortunately, you’ve thought less of yourself because you weren’t what you wanted to be physically or professionally. I admire you for making one of the hardest decisions you’ve ever made. In August of 2012 you decided to start a new journey… a lifestyle change to become healthier. At first, you thought this only meant physical health, but now I can look back and know you were unhealthy in other areas of your life too. You started by getting enough sleep, seeking help from a professional trainer and dietician, fueling your body with purpose and losing a pound or two here and there. Despite your efforts, it will be easy to lose perspective of where and why your journey started. I write this letter to you as a reminder, both in words and photos.
In your journey to be healthier, you’ve lost weight and experienced several physical and emotional changes. These physical changes do not define who you are. Yes, you may feel more comfortable going shopping with girl friends or approaching a total stranger. Don’t fall into the trap of society and allow physical qualities to define you. You’ve learned to live your life with purpose. You’ve learned you have always been beautiful. You just didn’t always recognize it. You’ve learned that beauty is not defined by physical appearance. You’ve learned one lesson you must never forget…
You are (and have always been) worth investing in yourself.
Some of this investment will be through time to focus on your physical health. It is not the only, nor the most important investment. The best thing you can do is cultivate relationships: with yourself, God, your husband, family, friends and each person you come in contact with. Strive to improve each of these relationships every day. Continue to live your life with purpose. Don’t fall back into the trap of comparison, for it is the thief of joy. Trust your instincts. Continue to learn to love and forgive yourself. Let the little things go. When you get discouraged, remember moments of clarity and vulnerability you’ve learned from.
Love yourself from the inside out and don’t forget it!
Sincerely, Today’s Belinda