Perhaps a lesser-known fact about me is my love for Lizzo. I constantly find myself playing her songs when I need a pick-me-up or confidence boost. I cook dinner, clean, workout, drive, walk the dog, you name it to Lizzo.

The overarching theme in Lizzo’s music is self-love. Gritty, raw, unapologetic self-love. I don’t know about y’all, but my gosh could I have used more of that in my middle school through early adulthood years. Even prior to the social media age of constant filtering and voyeurism through rose-colored glasses, it was easy to feel “less than”. Before it was social media, it was bylines in Cosmo, Teen Vogue, and Seventeen Magazine marketing Five Tips to Turn Heads and Top Ten Exercises for Toned Summer Abs. We’ve been conditioned for years to believe that we aren’t good enough by some metric or another. There weren’t a lot of celebrities or role models in those years pushing the message that we were great, no exceptions, period.

Lizzo doesn’t just sing about it, either – she lives it. It’s in her social media, it comes through in her shows and performances, in her interviews. I don’t mean the kind of self-love that insists you love every single part of yourself, all the time. Lizzo shows us a “yes, and” way of self-love: yes, I am flawed AND I love myself. These things can co-exist – they must. You don’t have to love every aspect of yourself to feel good and know that you are worthy of love and great things. She also shows us that you don’t have to fit a standard definition of anything – beauty, femineity/masculinity, maturity, etc. You get to define your own parameters for what makes you feel good about yourself.

My job is a bit of a paradox at first blush: a core role of a health coach is to help facilitate changes in behavior to help clients meet goals. The center of what I do is helping people change. Isn’t that contrary to self-love? How can I help people change and also help them love themselves regardless of that change? That’s a great question, and one that I ask myself often.

The reality is, you can’t hate yourself into a change and if you’re seeking to change something about yourself because you say it will make you feel more confident, or it will make loving yourself easier, I have an unfortunate truth for you: it won’t. Confidence and self-love don’t come from making external changes. They are strictly internal, and they take work. It takes fighting the negative self-talk, reframing self-deprecating thoughts, learning to accept parts of yourself and knowing that these things don’t change your worth. Loving yourself can be hard if you’re not used to it. Hating yourself into changing is harder, though, I promise.

Think about how much easier it feels to take care of yourself (to do anything, really) when you’re feeling good. It’s often easier said than done but doing the work to love yourself more before you start trying to tackle a health goal or behavior change is worth it in the long run. When in doubt, look to Lizzo and ask yourself: do I want to feel Good as Hell? Hell yes, you do. And it starts with radical self-love. Curious about what that could look like for you? Let’s talk.

Rooting for you!