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Friday, October 14, 2011

5k Friday and Where does happiness really come from?

I went to the gym this morning, bright and early and had a great workout.  I did four miles total so I feel really good about that.  I haven't been super diligent about going to the gym for the last few weeks so every effort I make to go is a good one in my book.

On a related subject, where does happiness really come from?  A couple days ago I was watching The Biggest Loser (which is normally a show I very much enjoy) and I was shocked and disappointed at what I was seeing and hearing.  On this particular episode they had brought back three former Biggest Loser contestants to help and motivate the current batch of Biggest Losers.  Which I think is great.  The problem came when Bob (one of the trainers) started making a bunch of comments about how this one former contestant was such a mess when she was on the show and how now she's so thin and beautiful and happy.  Then several of the current contestants started talking about how they had never before been truly happy (they were always faking it) and how great it was going to be when they were thin and "beautiful" and happy.   As if true happiness comes from being skinny and as long as a person is fat, true happiness is completely unattainable.

I don't know about you, but I couldn't disagree more with that particular sentiment.  As it happens, I know skinny people who are unhappy most of the time and I know fat people who are happy most of the time.  When I was a Junior in High School I was incredibly thin and unhappy most of the time.  When I was a missionary I was a normal weight and happy more often than not.  Now I'm obese and even though I have bad days and even weeks, my happiness runs deep and is never far from me.  I believe that happiness is a state of mind, not a state of body.  My fat doesn't make me sad, it's my inability to accept my body just the way it is that sometimes takes my mind off my happiness.  I believe true happines is a complex thing and wells up from a number of sources.  Faith, obedience to God, gratitude and service are key.  Time and experience factor in.  Good relationships and plenty of human contact, accomplishments and stress management and yes, even exercise and healthy eating help but being thin and "beautiful" are a passing part of this existence and NEVER bring true and lasting happiness.

So, to put my money where my mouth is, here are my top ten reasons why I love my body just the way it is:

10:  I have great hair and nails.  My hair is strong, soft and thick and my nails are also strong and grow like weeds :)
9:  Everything (mostly) works exactly the way it's supposed to!  My body is a marvel of biological engineering capable of fixing and reproducing itself with only fairly minor assistance.  Honestly, brilliant people study the human body their whole lives and still don't know everything there is to know about it.  And I have one of my very own!
8:  I'm tall.  Okay, I struggle with this one because it's really hard to find pants that fit properly (apparently only short girls are fat) but I am starting to discover that being tall commands respect so I'm really trying to own it.
7:  I have FIERCE curves.  I look like a woman and no one will EVER mistake me for an adolescent boy!
6:  Unlike my children, my body always does exactly what I ask it to do.  Even when it can't it at least tries.
5:  I am strong.  I mean REALLY strong.  You try carrying around 100 extra pounds everywhere you go and see how long you last.
4:  I have beautiful and capable hands.
3:  My body does everything it can to protect me.  It stores fat just in case a famine comes along, it entertains me, it transports me places, it warns me when I'm doing something dangerous, it even lets me know when something is wrong.  My body takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'!
2:  My body is loaded with talents, skills and creativity.  I am beautiful and unique inside and out.
1:  But here's the most important one:  my body is a symbol of God's love for me.  He offered me this body and this human experience and I made the right choice and accepted it.  How great is that?  And if I choose to dislike even one small bit of this priceless gift from a loving Father in Heaven what am I saying to Him?

Let's face it, I will probably never be thin and "beautiful" again.  But are those things really necessary for me to be happy?  I don't think so.


Anderson said...

thank you so much for posting this! I caught that too on the BL and I 100% agree with you! Happiness is inside. The older I get and however imperfect my body maybe I realize I have power to make healthier changes but also power and choice to be happy!

sues2u2 said...

Wow! & double WOW! I LOVED this post, Skip. You ARE an amazing & wonderful woman & no, you're weight does not define you. Thank you for putting this all so beautifully!!

Brian said...

I could list a few more things I love about your body, but this is supposed to be a family-friendly blog.

Your strength and clarity make me proud.