Squatting into Self-Acceptance

My thighs burn as I lower them into a squat, ignoring the voice in my head telling me to stop.

Sweat trickles down my temples.

As if reading my thoughts, Lucia counts me down. “Three. Two. One,” she says.

I came to a trainer to lose weight. Yet after months of workouts, the numbers on the scale don’t budge. Lucia suggests I change my mindset—to focus on getting stronger, not thinner. She encourages me to meet myself where I am now instead of yearning for an idealized version of who I think I want to be.

I hear her. But I don’t necessarily hear her. Because on many days, self-acceptance looks more like self-loathing. The negative voices in my head attack me when I’m most vulnerable, like when I’m staring into the mirror.

Especially in those moments, I find the resolve to keep showing up to the gym. Because my legs do feel stronger, as if they are made of solid wood vs. something far less substantial, like particleboard. And that’s something worth sweating for.

And so on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I continue to drive to my local YMCA just as the sun pokes its head over the horizon. And it’s there, under the hard florescent lighting, where Lucia counts me down from under her mop of red hair.

“It’s about progress, not perfection,” Lucia tells me after a particularly trying workout. “We’ll get there.”

Dear Reader: Have you ever battled for self-acceptance? If so, where does it manifest itself and what helps you conquer your demons? Comments welcome below!

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