What I am Giving Up For Lent this Year

Where are my Catholics out there?

My family is what I like to call *very Catholic* – we grew up going to church every Sunday & most of my family members still contribute to the church weekly in some way or another – whether it be through their musical vocations or by lectoring etc.

I don’t personally consider myself very religious, but I am Catholic.

I don’t really consider it something that I get to leave behind. It is part of my childhood, it will probably be part of my future adulthood. Perhaps cherrypicking what you claim from a religion is not how you are supposed to do it, but I am coming to accept that it is how I am going to have to do it.

There are many things I disagree with the Catholic church about (no need to go into those here), BUT there are a couple things I DO like about being part of this religion. I like feeling like I was raised with good moral values. I like having the opportunity to sing as loud as I want in public at church – when I go. I like feeling a part of a larger cultural community. And I really like the tradition of pausing to give up something for a period of 40 days during Lent.

As you all know, there has been a lot of change going on as I close down my Lite for Life storefront. Needless to say, I’ve been pretty preoccupied with making sure everything runs smoothly and Ash Wednesday snuck up on me this year. I really hadn’t put any thought to what I was going to give up this year and was pretty much planning on ignoring the whole thing.

Usually, I love the practice of committing to something for Lent. In the past, I’ve given up things like sugar or alcohol for the 40 days. I find the practice of giving up something you love in this manner very centering. But when I took a moment to pause on Wednesday and think about it, giving up a food item didn’t really feel appropriate for this year.

There is something I’ve been engaging in that is way worse than sugar or alcohol and giving IT up would provide a much bigger impact on me and for those around me than adjusting my eating habits once again.

This year I have decided to give up making disparaging remarks about my body and myself.

I have noticed that over the last couple of months that I have slowly started engaging in vocalizing some negative body and self-talk that I had really cut down on over the last couple of years. Treating my body with respect, nutritionally and emotionally, had been really working well for me!

But life change always stirs the pot.

As I’ve worked my way through navigating making some really hard business/life decisions, I have watched the scale creep up a few pounds, and with it I started engaging in a bad habit: getting off the scale in the morning and poking at my stomach and, in as humorous a way as possible, making fun of the little extra pudge.

As light as I keep it, EVERY SINGLE TIME I vocalize a negative thought about myself there is a sudden zap of positive energy.

Every single time I do this, I undermine every positive action I’ve engaged in and every confidence-building step I’ve worked so hard to take over the past 7 years.

It really is true when they say that you can believe anything if you say it enough times. And, let me tell you, I was really starting to believe that my body was a bad thing once again.

My snide comments started out small, but then they started to grow more frequent and ruder. They started out as a reoccurrence of a bad habit, but then they started to butt their way into my core beliefs about myself. Not cool.

So what was I getting out of them? I believe I was getting addicted to needing the external validation my boyfriend would give me. I knew that, by dropping a comment, he would be sure to tell me that I am fine and beautiful no matter what – even though he says those things already.

But let’s be honest, the person I REALLY need to hear those things from was me. The only person who will manage those couple extra pounds will be the me who believes in herself and loves herself.

Hate can only motivate up to a point, love is what really gets you where you want to be going.

So, this year for Lent, I am giving up any and all negative comments about my body and about myself. Anyone else with me?

xx jen

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