The fact that we are alive on this planet is a gift, a privilege and, in my mind, an absolute miracle. I have spoken before about the uncalculatable odds of our existence, so I won’t bore you with that again. We have been gifted this fantastic body to get through life in. So yes, it needs to be respected, nurtured, and looked after, for sure. Unfortunately, how it looks is an issue for many people, and something we tend to place a lot of emphasis on, and judge on a far too regular basis. Let me tell you, as essential as your body is, it is not the real you.

I know firsthand what a painful and unfulfilling pursuit, the desire for the perfect body can be, if it is not coupled with a deep love for the person underneath the skin, the muscles, and the stuff. I also know it has nothing to do with true happiness, self-love, or identity. It is just an outer layer we far too often use to cover up the real person underneath. In my headlong pursuit of body-beautiful, I was never happy no matter how good I looked, because the real me underneath was being forgotten about. At the time I was insecure, I was lacking true self-love and my whole identity and value revolved around how good I looked, how hard I worked and what I achieved.

Recognition, attention, and admiration from others was my sole source of self-esteem building, so I chased it, and I chased it hard. I chased it in and out of far too many relationships, including three marriages to three wonderful ladies. They could never live up to the expectation I had for them and what I needed them to do to help me feel good about myself. It was never their job to make me feel good about me, that was, is and will always be my job. As it is and will always be for you. My last marriage ended, and, thanks to a global pandemic, I was forced to spend time alone with the person I least liked, me. At that time, it was the hardest, but best thing I could have ever experienced. During that time, I changed my view on who I was, and I discovered the real me.

The real me is not a body. The real me is not a six-pack or buns of steel. The real me is not the athlete. The real me is not the public speaker. The real me is not the author or a podcaster. The real me lies deep underneath all that external stuff. The real me is a spirit. The real me is passion, emotion, and purpose. The real me is love and compassion. The real me is significance and impact on the lives of others. The real me is understanding, acceptance and forgiveness of myself and others. The real me is only on this planet for a short time, but whose legacy and impact will live on long after I am gone. The real me is someone I love with all my heart and soul.

You see, the real me is a spirit and the real you is a spirit. That is our essence and our identity. Without this spirit to fill us and move us joyfully through each day of our life, we would just be a pile of muscles, bones, organs, and junk on the ground. It is the real you, deep under the surface, that gives your body shape, meaning and purpose to live the best life you can with the time you are on this planet. Your job is simple. It is to dig deep and discover the real you. Not the you looking back at you in the mirror, the one you constantly judge and criticise. The real you. The spirit of you. The essence of you. You are amazing, just as you are. You just need to take the time to get to know and love the real you.

I want to urge you to listen to my podcast this week called, Seeing yourself, with Cliona Byrne. Cliona is now a body confidence coach, but spent many years of her life hating herself, her body, and her look. She used to stand in front of the mirror, suck in her tummy, and emotionally beat herself up for how she looked. Her bitchy inner critic (as she calls it) used to love to tell her that she needed to lose weight. She said, “I’ve since slapped the microphone out of that bitch’s hand.”

The real you is amazing. The real you cares about people. The real you wants to have an impact on other people’s lives. The real you is fun, happy, and joyful. The real you is love and compassion. The real you has incredible potential and capacity. The real you is all you need. The real you is good enough. The real you is just waiting to see the light of day. So, please, take the time today to look beyond the surface and see the real and incredible you that is there.