Last week I did my yearly “heads down” session for soul searching around my businesses at the local library. I marvel at those that can work in coffee shops, I am far too nosy to be able to focus on my own work surrounded by others! But I digress.
The exercise I use is one that my personal coach gave me years ago and it has you reflect on the year’s successes, breakthroughs, losses and breakdowns and then decide “what’s next” as a result. I’ve kept one that I did 6 years ago as a reference. I typically just look at the directions at the top of each sheet, but this time, I actually took the time to read what I had written for each response way back when.
For my losses and breakdowns…I complained of negative self talk, I hated dealing with money, I worked so much I couldn’t stay connected with my friends, and I worried about my youngest.
For my successes and breakthroughs…I had just joined a gym and lost 5 pounds, Zain had started eating vegetables, we had gone on fun road trips, and I had connected with my childhood friends.
So six years ago, I had an almost 2 and 6 year old and was about to turn 40. You would think so much has changed, and while many things have, my internal conversations and core gremlins have steadfastly stayed the same.
I’m going to put it all out here.
My negative self talk and core gremlins are not lingering from 6 years ago. They’ve been close at hand for 35+ years. I have been in constant pursuit of “thin” since it was pointed out to me that I was not when I was 11.
Every day my thoughts are the same, “when I lose the weight, then I will”… along with “I shouldn’t have eaten that.”, “Why did I eat that?” “Oh, these legs!” “Oh, these arms!”
You get the picture.
In the case of my reflection six years ago I had just joined the gym and planned to lose 100 pounds and my next step was to go and buy my “goal” outfit so that it was ready for me.
Spoiler Alert! I did not lose 100 pounds that year.
In my lifetime, I’ve probably lost 1,000 pounds! Unfortunately I keep losing the same pounds, over and over again. I’ve lost significant amounts at times, but have never hit that ultimate goal that clearly wasn’t realistic and each time gained back the weight and more. And even when I look back at photos and think, “Man I was so thin there.” I know I never felt it at the time. And as a result, I have a constant sense of unfinished business. For as long as I can remember, I have operated on the premise that I can’t truly love myself until I lose the weight.
I was listening to Deepak Chopra where he said that 50% of our thoughts from today, were exactly the same as yesterday. And I can attest, that at least 50% of my daily thoughts were not only the same yesterday, but every single day since I was 11.
And they aren’t nice. And I think that it’s time for this madness to end.
As usual, I’m going to assume that I am not alone here. Negative self talk is very common–right?!?! We likely have different issues, but the underlying damage we are doing is the same. And if we don’t stop it, it will continue on into perpetuity.
My mom had this same self talk and “dream” for herself (as did her mother before her) and so, even without realizing it, she passed it onto me and I’ve carried it without faltering for 35 of my 46 years.
But today, I’m putting it down, because a.) it’s heavy and b.) I am not handing it over to my children.
They will have enough baggage in their lives, they don’t need mine too.
Consider this my line in the sand.
Step one is to shine a giant light on and create awareness around these recycled thoughts. We can’t start to change something if we don’t acknowledge it.
And my step two (so far) is that I am committed to matching each recycled thought with a new positive one.
“My arms are so flabby” meets…”Today my arms are strong.”
So today, along with taking each thought one at a time, I have to start to process what it will mean to never hit that ultimate goal. To be just me, and be happy with all of my parts that I was given. What does it look like to not be actively trying to lose weight, or on the flip side, stuffing my self silly? What if I never lose another pound? What if I gain 5?
What does it mean to just be? And to love myself completely right now.
It literally blows my mind, I can’t even comprehend what it will take to be okay with that, but I’m committed to heading down this path.
Will you join me?