The best gift I’ve ever given myself was to learn to love Leanne this year.

Yesterday a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she feels she is totally worthless, unseen and unloved. I know that she had a relationship break up last year that she’s never gotten over. I also see other friends posting about things along this line and it makes me terribly sad. So I am going to open up and share something personal in the hope that someone reading this feels inspired and loved enough to change their lives. 

Today I ran 6 miles (I’m gearing up for the Bolder Boulder), and in that run I ran… FAST… Sub-9:00 min fast. And when I was finished, I cried. I literally walked around crying my face off. They were happy tears and tears of joy. The reason? Recognizing that I could do something at age 44 that I’ve never done before was overwhelming.

Sure, I’ve run fast before… but this was quite an accomplishment. I have been through a lot the past past 6 years—health issues out the yang—resulting in eight surgeries since 2013, with my last one being on October 26th of this past year. I have never posted about my surgeries on social media, because I didn’t want anyone’s sympathy, but my journey back to health was truly brutal and exhausting. There were days that I just wanted to lay down and give up. But I didn’t. I kept trudging through and kept looking for answers. I chose to get up every day. I chose to the do the work to get where I am. 

The best gift I ever gave myself was learning to TRULY LOVE Leanne. I love every bit of me. I love my personality. I love my body. I have scars. I went through a small period where I was really sad about my scars and worried that with my husband out of the picture that I wouldn’t find love again because of them. How ridiculous is that? I now love my scars. I love them because they remind me of everything that I’ve gone through to get to this place where I am now, and I wouldn’t be the person that I am sitting here today without them. I love who I have become.

I went to hypnosis to work on an eating disorder (I was really hard on myself, always thinking I looked fat, then I would binge eat and restrict calories) and other issues that were holding me back from living in my true potential. Did you notice I said HAD an eating disorder? I no longer battle the demons of that. Hypnosis and meditation worked wonders for me (thank you Ed Rupert, my counselor)! I have a very healthy relationship with food now. I have done the work to get here and I’m doing the work to stay here.

I was SO HARD on myself to always be PERFECT. In learning to truly love myself, I have opened up space to forgive others and release judgement, to forgive myself and stop judging myself. Forgiveness, no matter how much you feel harmed, is the key for learning to FORGIVE yourself. Say “I’m sorry” for how you have treated yourself, and how you have allowed others to treat you. I’ve learned and accepted that I am perfect just the way that I am.

If you are sitting on your couch right now, going through tough times, get up off the couch and go kick some major ass. Go be your own hero. Go out and show the world exactly who you are and share your beautiful gifts, so that others will share theirs. You do the world a disservice when you stay small. You aren’t meant to be small. I’ve been where you are. I am sorry that you are hurting and sympathize, but FEEL your feelings, cry that shit out, give yourself permission to feel your pain, and then get up and do something for yourself and your life. Let it all go. It doesn’t serve you. You are important. You are special. You are here to shine your light and be the best, most awesome version of yourself. By being the biggest badass you can be, you give others permission to be the best version of themselves in return. Win win. Love wins. Love yourself. Love each other. Learn to forgive. Clear your blocks. YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE AND IT BEGINS WITH YOUR THOUGHTS. LOVE YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH IT.

So, now you know why today running so fast was such an emotional experience for me. I did it. I am here. I am strong. I am healthy again. I have energy again because I have found what works for me. I have joy and purpose. I would have NEVER thought I would run fast. I had never done it before. But I did it today. And I was ecstatic. And you can do it too. Go do something for yourself. Go find a mirror, tell yourself what a fabulous badass you are, and own every bit of that fabulous you. Run your own fast miles!

-The Giggling Guinea Pig