What if you were more than a number?

Losing ten pounds won’t make you comfortable in your skin.

Just one more diet. Just this last ten pounds. If I just get a tummy tuck. If I could get rid of these wrinkles/cellulite/this mole/this scar/these bat wings/stretch marks/this hair.

Then, I’d feel good. I’d be happy. I will have arrived at my best life.

And it’s all a great big lie.

If you don’t love yourself right now, this very moment as you’re skimming over this article on the screen of your device, you won’t love yourself after the transformation you think you need.

I’m not suggesting that we don’t need to set goals and create change in our lives. Not for a second. I’m suggesting that the single most radical change you could make is to try, strain, struggle, practice, and repeat accepting and loving yourself for who you are right now. Right now.

Try it. Stop reading. Put down your phone. Tell yourself, “I love you. I appreciate you. I feel you. I hear you. Thank you.”

It doesn’t even matter if you mean it yet. You will mean it. One day.

When I was 16, my therapist gave me a mantra, “I love and appreciate my beautiful body. I love and appreciate my beautiful self.” She told me to repeat it to myself every time I said something mean to myself in my head or out loud.

I said that mantra on repeat for the next three years. As I did all of my daily activities, it would roll like the soundtrack of my life. It was the back drop to school and work and commuting. To hiking and partying and playing sports.

It still pops up sometimes when I’m being less than kind to myself, but rarely now.

The real game-changer for me was when I started practicing yoga. I peeled off my clothes slowly in that first, sweaty class, staring into a mirror that was 40 feet wide.

I had to look into my own eyes as I struggled, succeeded, persevered, and even cried.

In the beginning, there was a lot of inner chatter about my body. Over time, the chatter just stopped. I learned to appreciate my body for all it does for me every single day. For continuing to work for me through debilitating back pain. For being able to heal and live a life free from pain. For creating and nurturing two babies. For allowing me to both stack wood and dance to Reggaeton.

The scientifically proven way to fall in love is to ask one another progressively more intimate questions. These questions foster trust and intimacy, fertile ground for love.

It works the same with your Self. If you stare at your half-naked body in a giant mirror while you struggle and strive to maintain balance and form without tearing apart every mole, bump, and lump, you give yourself permission to be your flawed self without judgment. If you take the time to develop that trust and intimacy between body and mind, the love comes without effort.

The practice of yoga helps us to feel safe, strong, whole, resilient, enough.

No crash diet, no fad exercise program, no surgeon will ever give you that peace and, like all of us, you deserve peace.