If we learned anything from The Babadook it's that the more you try to suppress something the bigger and scarier it becomes.

Self improvement is difficult, and we all have that inner rebel who wants nothing more than to conflict with everything we are striving to become.

It might tell you to skip the gym when you know how great you'll feel afterward, or perhaps it suggests you order a pizza when you already have the ingredients to cook yourself something enjoyable and nourishing. (I'm guilty of both, by the way). It might even tell you to keep going, to keep on hustling, when really what you need is some self care and a good nights' sleep. I understand how the less mindful decision can be the easiest in the moment, yet it can be the most damaging in the long term. 

For a long time, my inner rebel kept me from reaching my goals. Time and time again, I tried my best to will it away, telling myself I would have more discipline in the future. Lasting changes do not happen that way, however. You cannot simply delete a part of yourself through sheer willpower and discipline.

Plus, why would you want to? Eventually I learned that this shifty inner voice was not just a saboteur to my chances at leading a happy and healthy life. It was an important part of my personality which I'd been trying to silence in an effort to be the perfect picture of health. To measure up.

It was trying to tell me that I will never be the type of person who is willing to torture themselves in the name of fitness. That I am a die hard lover of good food. That I will never let the pursuit of a "perfect body" overshadow my personal life, and that as much as I greatly enjoy the act of challenging my mind and body, I also value restoration and recovery. 

I consider it a blessing to have learned to listen to what this voice has to say. The more I mindfully sit with it and simply notice its presence, the less powerful and menacing it becomes. Not only that, but it has helped me to shape a sustainable approach to mental and physical wellness that takes into account the person that I truly am.

So instead of giving into the lie that says "no pain no gain", I program my workouts so that they feel good in my body. I treat myself afterwards by lounging in the steam room. I get massages. I drink good wine and eat good chocolate. I also eat an abundance of (mostly) seasonal and local foods that are as nutrient packed as they are stunning to look at. For me, this system of give and take -  of challenging and pleasureful - runs like a well oiled machine. And it has me feeling more sharp and vibrant and beautiful than ever before. 

I'd like to encourage you to tune in and listen, without judgement, to the voices within you. By simply acknowledging, honoring, and sitting with them you may discover something integral about yourself. A part of you which may need some love and attention, and simply to be heard.