There is no such thing as self-improvement, there is only self-discovery. My hope for each person on this planet is that eventually we can all experience self-acceptance.
You cannot improve yourself because you already ARE perfect. You are being manipulated and lied to by industries and by people who have been brainwashed by those industries to believe otherwise. Anytime you are relying on extrinsic motivation or external validation, you are not actually doing something for you. You are not serving your health. You are buying into someone else’s definition of health. You are modelling your choices off of someone else’s experience of life. You are surrounding yourself with expectations that have nothing to do with you because in no way were those expectations created with all of the nuances of your life in mind. A program like that would be priceless and it is priceless, because only you can create it and only you can live it.
The health communities that attempt to tell and sell you the idea that you need to be on their program or follow their lifestyle to be your healthiest self only become a crutch that prevents you from looking inward and discovering the teacher, coach, best friend, motivator, and healer within yourself. They only serve to encourage your inner judge and inner critic to be watchful of your every move, lest you step out of the carefully controlled environment of the particular health program/lifestyle.
But humans need community. I get it. We need to feel like we belong, like we have people in our corner, and that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.
One of the most supportive communities I am a part of is my community of yoga instructors at Higher Health Yoga & Wellness. This group of women and men are some of the most inspiring individuals that I know, and I am so grateful for each and every one of them. I continually learn from each of them, whether it is by taking their yoga classes, having a conversation with them, witnessing them live their passions, or simply following their social media account. When we gather together as a community of instructors we support and take care of each other. We recognize and praise each other’s individual strengths, and we realize that those celebrating our diversity instead of striving for uniformity is what makes our community strong as a whole. Individual yoga instructors as encouraged to express themselves by creating yoga classes and workshops based on their own personalities and interests. None of the yoga instructors are restricted in the style of yoga they teach, the method they teach, the music they play/don’t play, the clothing they wear, or the thoughts that they share. It is an environment of total creative freedom and absolute respect for each individual’s own teaching style and background of experience. The result is a diverse studio with a very high quality of classes that encourages students to come as they are and develop a practice that is unique to them.
When we gather as instructors we don’t sit around comparing who has the most ethical yogi diet, who can do the most “advanced” yoga posture, who got on their yoga mat most that week, who has the most defined abs, who can control their breath the best, who meditates the longest every day, who has the best Sanskrit pronunciation, or who is getting the most students in their classes. None of those things matter. They are superficial and they don’t indicate anything about the actual person inside. We don’t hold up a standard that says: this is what a yoga teacher should do, this is what a yoga teacher’s life looks like, this is what yoga is and how you should practice it. We encourage each other, and our students, to live life in an authentic way, and we share the teachings of yoga as a means of cultivating community – a community of diverse individuals who are seeking connection with others and with themselves.
I share the example of my community of yoga instructors to illustrate the face that you can be part of a supportive and inspiring community without it having to involve anything about your weight, what you eat, or how much you exercise. You can find people who uplift you and motivate you in your passions in life as a whole, and who encourage you to tune into yourself authentically without judgment or comparison. I feel like many people have lost sight of this. Living authentically, tuning into your body, and creating a healthy lifestyle definitely may include motivating yourself to be more physically active, cook more meals at home, or incorporate more veggies into your diet. But living a healthy, balanced lifestyle also means not getting so caught up in the pursuit of physical health that it becomes the most significant part of your life to the point of obsession. It may mean surrounding yourself by a community or support network of likeminded people, but in no way should that community have the power to provide or manipulate your sense of self-worth.
I promise that I never want to tell you how to life your life and I work hard to create my own boundaries to ensure that I’m living my own life authentically. If you’ve ever felt that I have written, said, or promoted anything that doesn’t align with your personal health journey or understanding of life, then please disregard it and I will take absolutely no offence. If I have ever deeply hurt you or inspired a health-destructive behaviour or thought pattern, then I sincerely apologize as it was never my intention to do so. If you would like to contact me then I am open to listening to your experience, but if completely cutting yourself off from me is more supportive to your health then please do that. I can’t tell you what to do to be your healthiest self or to protect yourself, only you can do that.
If you are looking for a supportive, loving community to be a part of, then I am here for you!
In this community you do you and I do me. In this community we don’t judge each other on our lifestyle choices, because we have no idea the personal history behind those choices. In this community we practice self-care and flexibility instead of self-control and perfectionism. In this community we live by intuition and freedom, not restriction and rules. In this community we approach ourselves and others with curiosity and compassion instead of assumptions and judgments. In this community, we walk beside each other as equals, not in front of or behind each other as leaders and followers. In this community, we don’t sell gimmicks or quick fixes, we realize that health is a lifelong personal journey of ups, downs, and upside downs; we realize health is not static, it’s not guaranteed, and it’s not one-size-fits all. In this community we make choices that reflect our love and our acceptance for ourselves, not ones that reflect our fears of rejection by the world or by someone else’s standards. In this community we respect, celebrate, and embrace our differences because we remember that beneath the surface layers we are intrinsically connected and that is what unites us.
Thank you for being part of my community.
Love, Brooke xo