When I think of the woman I want to be, most days she seems like someone I don’t yet know. A collection of admirable traits that I’ve admired in others, philosophies I’ve collected over the years and a body that’s finally been crafted into perfect shape. She’s strong, intelligent, kind, creative, fit, attractive and successful. She’s happy in her life and she’s comfortable in her skin. She’s accomplished many of her big goals and is hard at work on a few more. She’s at least in part a stranger to me, but right now I’d say I know her better that I ever have. But she is still out of reach…or is she? I’m so focused on getting to her that it’s hard to see the glimmer that’s already shown up. When we are in the “working towards”, we can miss the work that’s already been done. And we can see ourselves much further behind than how the rest of the world sees us. This is in part because we are our own worst critics – I am quite certain the flaws I see when I look in the mirror are much more glaring to me than to others, if they even see them as flaws at all. It is also because we put up a smokescreen – a carefully crafted act for the world so that we don’t get found out. It covers our insecurities with inauthenticites like witty banter, inflated confidence, self deprication or an “I don’t give a crap” attitude. It’s not really about simply giving ourselves credit, its finding a way to more truthfully acknowledge who we are – and not just focusing on the imperfections. My perfect version of myself could be described with any of the following: focused, strong, self aware, intelligent, accomplished, kind, determined, caring, fun, fit and beautiful. Well guess what? Those are the words my friends use to describe me now – not in 10 years when I finally get into perfect shape and write a best seller, but now….just as I am. Maybe just as I am now is more than I thought it was. Maybe my truth shines brighter than my BS. It doesn’t mean we have to settle. It doesn’t mean this is as good as it gets. What it does mean is: As we strive to better ourselves and our bodies, it’s OK to feel good about all that we already are. This can carry us to the new heights we seek. This is far better fuel than punishing ourselves or feeling bad about our downfalls, imperfections and “not enoughs”. If we wait to be happy “until”, then life is a struggle. Life happens during the “until”, so don’t miss it waiting for the scale to hit 120 or the income to hit the high six figures, or whatever you’re missing your life for. It breaks my heart to think of what I’ve missed. Being self aware doesn’t mean we ignore that we’ve let our health or waistline slip, it means that we realize that we may not always be able to see ourselves completely clearly. For this we have our loved ones who love us at a size 6 or size 16 and seem to see us more clearly than we can see ourselves. When the people in our lives tell us we are beautiful or smart, don’t thank them and then immediately discount them thinking, “That’s nice, but they haven’t seen me naked” or “They don’t now how bad I just screwed up”. Let it in. Let it give you the strength to keep on trying to be better. How does the world see you? If you don’t know, ask! I did. And not one of them said I had a big butt.