When this image first started going around the social media circles, a friend shared it with me. And I'll admit that my first reaction was...
...because, as anyone who knows me will attest, I really have always had a deep fondness for these single-horned mythological treasures.
But my next thought was... wait... what is the message here, really?
When you really look at this picture, you might think - ooh, inspiring. This rhino refuses to give up no matter what because he is determined to be a Unicorn.
And then, if you really take a step back, you can see that there is something deeply, deeply problematic with this image and what is wrong with IT is what is, at its core, what is wrong with the diet and weight-loss culture. When looked at with a critical eye, this image beautifully illustrates exactly why we should take a step back from all the messaging we get about how we should all be trying to be thinner.
That adorable animal on the treadmill is a rhino, and a darn cute rhino at that. And yet, somehow he hopes that if he works hard enough, he'll become a unicorn. A unicorn.
Think about that for a moment.
Not only is he trying to become something else entirely - which we all know can never be possible, no matter how hard he works, but in this example - the creature he's trying to become doesn't even actually exist.
If that isn't an excellent summary of the diet and weight-loss trap that so many of us end up in, I don't know what is.
There is nothing heartwarming about this image. Actually, everything about it is heartbreaking.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we try so hard to be something we aren't?
The answer, for so many of us, is because we think our happiness lies on the other side of that dream. We think that if we could only be or have whatever it is we think we're supposed to be or have, then everything would just get easier.
But the reality is, the hardest and best journey you can take, is the one to accepting and loving yourself as you are.
Where that gets confusing for people is we think that if we accept ourselves, somehow we're giving up on the idea that we could ever change or grow or be healthier or whatever it is we'd like to be more of. But is that really true?
I can tell you, from experience....
I think, the opposite is true - that accepting yourself makes it even more possible to improve your health and well-being.
I haven't stepped on a scale in years. I couldn't tell you how much I weigh right now. But I do know that, through practicing and teaching Yoga, I am stronger, healthier, more fit. I can take deeper breaths. I have more stamina. I sleep better. I feel that I have more vitality. My posture is better. My focus and balance are better. And none of those "results" have required that I give up on who I am.
So, what's the answer, when you're looking for an image to motivate you to go after what you want and still accept who you are?
How about this one: