My beautiful friend Dorotea is this weeks guest blogger! Dorotea and I found each other while working on my project “Dear Cassey”, a video put together in response to Cassey Ho’s video “The Perfect Body”. I reached out to POPsters all over Instagram to compile a mixture of sweet video messages and uplifting photos for Cassey.
Dorotea was one of them.
She instantly stood out to me. She had so much to say in her video message, but unfortunately I had to trim it down for the final product. After releasing the video I decided to make a directors cut version where I included her entire message along with the other girls participating, because her message to Cassey was too beautiful not to be heard in its entirety!
This magnificent girl speaks straight from the heart. Not just in her words, but her actions as well. An amazing yogi, friend, and now POP Pilates Instructor, Dorotea’s story is one worth reading. It’s no surprise to me that she grew up strong and sure of herself. It radiates in all she does. But my favorite part is how she handles what struggles do come her way.
I hope you enjoy this weeks blog post for Self Love Sunday.
“I have never compared myself to others, only to myself.”
When Abbie asked me to write about this I was completely excited, but then I started thinking and the more I thought the less I had any clue what will I write about. But then it hit me – self-love is something that I have simply always had.
It’s funny, but it’s true. I have never looked down on me. Not even when I was bullied. Or when I was at my heaviest. It’s a bit hard to describe, but I have simply always loved and respected myself.
I would never let anyone say bad things about me and I would always fight for myself. I am a really loud and fierce human and I would never let anyone step on my foot. For this I blame my grandma who from my youngest age kept telling me the one and only sentence “Love yourself”. Even 24 years later, she still keeps repeating that.
My mum on the other hand would share books about self-improving she was reading at the time and sometimes those books would get to my hands and that ended up really shaping my thinking as well. That is what made me a super positive, sometimes almost unrealistic kind of person haha, but I truly do believe that mind is a powerful thing and that if you set your mind onto something, the universe will bring it to you sooner or later. That is why I never quit. I either give my 110% or nothing at all.
Now, don’t get the wrong picture. Although all of this may make me sound tough and invincible, I am an extremely emotional person. Emotional out of proportions. Like everything, this has its pros and its cons, but not for once have I thought of changing who I am. This is me and whether you like it or not, I will never go against my will to change just to please someone else.
But who am I really?
My story is long and many things have happened in my life, but I will try to keep it short and yet let you know why self-love played an important part in my life.
I have been fighting the weight loss battle since the age of 8. In case you are wondering, I am 24 now and it is the battle I keep winning and losing all the time all over again. For me, it has never been about wanting to look a certain way or wanting to ”fit into” whatever you need to fit into – it has always been about the health and wanting to perform better. I think this is one of those things that kept me sane throughout these years. If I were to do it just because I wanted to look a certain way, I am pretty sure I would eventually lose it. So instead, I am just doing me and trying to be better and stronger with each day.
This may sound weird, but I don’t see social media as a tool of comparison – to me, seeing fit girls showing off their muscles and strength – it is what motivates me and pushes me to be better. But I have never compared myself to others, only to myself.
You would think I would have it easier because of that, but I have gone through a decent share of bullying in elementary as well. These things will always be a part of me and every time some random stranger says something mean to me, it always takes me back to that place. But it’s a thing that for a moment makes you weak, but for the eternity makes you stronger. Because you learn how to take no shit. And how to stand up for yourself.
I have once confronted my bully and pushed all the buttons he had with all the questions about why he was acting this way that in the end he realized there was no reason for him to hate me. And we actually became friends after that. It may be funny, but it’s who I am.
I am emotional, I care, I forgive easily, but I never forget and I always stand up for myself. Nothing will cost you to try. But by trying, there is a possibility of you making your life better so why not?
Although being overweight for majority of my life – weight has not once stopped me for going for what I wanted. Did you know I was a state champion for several years in a row?
Even thought I was overweight, I have never treated my body this way. I would train and persist and I would simply chase my dreams. Not once did it happen that some people had their jaws dropped when they saw an overweight girl being in better shape than them. And it didn’t happen once that trainers underestimated me and treated me as if I was less capable not believing my strength.
And that is why I find it hard to work with trainers. I believe I am my own best trainer because to me, weight is just a number and it will never stop me.
We all have bad days and bad periods of our life. I am not always determined and I don’t have it put together all the time. In fact, after high school I was so lost that I changed colleges twice before settling where I am today. I am not super proud of this and I would never suggest this to someone, but this was my path and it made me realize what I wanted to do with my life.
Although today I am a happy student of nutrition science, not everyone was as happy as me when I decided to study that. You have to realize one thing – I did sports all my life, but being overweight was a part of my life as well. Getting into this university while still being overweight was a hard decision on its own, let alone losing support from others in the process as well.
Due to this decision, which was completely my own, I have lost several “friends” who believed that was not me and that not nutrition nor science nor fitness were my thing. But you know what, sometimes you have to lose someone in order to find yourself. You may be ridiculed and you may be teased, but your soul will be happy. And that’s all that matters. Not all friends are real friends, but those that are will always stick with you till the end.
To conclude this story, I will tell you one more thing. Loving yourself is the best thing you could ever possibly gift to yourself.
It will teach you to grow, teach you to live, to be free and to dream, it will teach you to respect yourself and it will teach you many other beautiful things.
So next time you decide not to love yourself, just remind yourself you are the one putting these barriers on your path – you are the one stopping you from reaching your dreams.
If I didn’t have love for myself I would never learn how to stand up for myself.
I would never learn compassion.
I would never get to be a state champion.
I would never get unlost.
I would never learn who my true friends are.
I would never get to find my passion.
I would never become an instructor.
And I would never try to chase my dreams.
And then – I wouldn’t be me anymore.
And I kinda like being me. Even on the days when ”I don’t”.
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Thanks for reading!