Say It, Believe It

It’s amazing the bullshit we tell ourselves.

“I’m fat.”

“No one loves me.”

“I’ll never be successful.”

“There is no way out.”

“I’m a nobody.”

“I can’t do ____.”

“I hate my <insert body part>.”

Blah, blah, blah. The list of negative things we tell ourselves on a daily, hourly, minute by minute basis is astounding. It’s almost like we enjoy torturing ourselves. I have told myself so many lies over the years that I, the real me, got completely lost. Lost under all that BS I had been telling myself and it’s been a real bitch trying to dig myself out.

Did I think someone was going to come rescue me because they felt sorry for me? Yes, I did. I’ve wallowed in self-pity for so long that it stained me a very ugly color. But in that long wait to be rescued I realized that it was up to me to rescue myself.

I came to that realization a couple of years ago when I was feeling very stuck and less than enamored with what my life looked like. It was a big slap to the face to finally see that I had created the misery myself:

  • I said yes to things when I should have said no
  • I did things because everyone else was doing them
  • I had limiting beliefs about who I was and what I was capable of
  • I sought the easy road rather than the tough one
  • I gave away my power
  • I let opinions of me matter more than they should have
  • I gave up too easily
  • I minimized my worth

Does any of this sound familiar? I know. It sucks to read it and find yourself nodding your head, doesn’t it?

There are two simple yet very powerful words we can add to the dialogue with ourselves that will change everything.

I. Am.

I had a huge shift a couple of weeks ago because I started saying these two words. I had been talking with my mentor and she challenged me on the way I thought of myself. She knows the goals I have for myself yet the verbiage and my self-doubt were never going to get me to where I wanted to go.

I thought about what image I had of myself when I was a kid. I was the child of an unhappy marriage so I was never home. I spent fourth grade through senior year with my best friend. She was funny, outgoing, athletic, the youngest of five, from a divorced family (also an alcoholic father) and chose me to be her best friend. As we grew up, she went from a freckle faced gangly child into a beautiful young woman. In my eyes, I grew into her chubby sidekick. I attributed anything and everything to the fact that I was because of my association with her and not from my own merit. I have always been in awe of her because of what she chose to become in spite of her broken home.

I had a time in my life where I stepped up to something big (at that time it was HUGE!) and acted in spite of fear. I ran for Rush Chair of my sorority, not because I wanted the limelight as much as I felt I needed to do something out of necessity. I ran against someone else and I actually won. I thought, “Oh shit. What the hell did I just do?” But I knew that I was doing this to serve and to help guide our house down the right path so I strapped on my boots and went to work. I figured things out as I went along.

The thing that makes this crazy is that I was deathly afraid to speak in front of others and considered myself a team player and not a leader. But there I was, in a leadership role. Funny how I think back on that as just something I had to do and not really who I was.

When I thought about that time as I spoke with my mentor, I realized what a crock I had been feeding myself for so long. Shortly after our talk, I declared to the ladies in my Skinny Dip Society Facebook group who I was. I felt like I was standing on the top of a mountain teetering on plunging forward into the unknown or leaning backwards, tumbling toward old habits and negative self-dialogue. I chose to plunge forward.

And from that moment on, I have felt different inside. I say a lot of I ams these days. Some I believe 100% and some I have to just say it until I do.

These days I say

I am…

strong
nurturing
free
generous
loving
inspiring
curious
funny
courageous
loyal
witty
lovable
tenacious
adventurous
mindful
purposeful
encouraging
intelligent
wild
fun
contagious
unfuckwithable
authentic
leader
worthy
enough

And these words have changed everything. I stand taller, I walk more confidently, and I am acting as if I am all those things. Because eventually, the more I say it, the more my brain will believe it.

Two words…I am. The rest of the sentence is up to you.

The Image We Tell Ourselves

 

Up until age 12, I was skinny. I’m talking beanpole skinny. I had a barely there butt, zero point zero hips and wore slim jeans forever and a day (my favorite were the ones with the roller skates applique with REAL laces on the pockets.) I see my youngest child and he is built just like my daughter when she was his age. Abs for days and arms and legs like a colt. But you know what I used to say when people commented about my kids’ physiques? They take after their father.

Me to me: Um, hello?! Have you SEEN pictures of your husband at that age? Remember, he wore Huskies. (Sorry, babe. I’m just trying to highlight a point here.)

It’s time to call bullshit on myself. I had forgotten that skinny little kid even existed. She’s so far removed from my brain that I can’t even recognize myself in my own children. Sure, my son Kysen and I have the same coloring and Avarie and I sound just alike but that’s all the credit I gave myself.

For so many years, the image I’ve been carrying around, the one I see when I look in the mirror, is still that chubby cheeked teenager with thick thighs and a bubble butt. But I KNOW I’m not overweight. I know I’m healthy and strong but there she is, every damn time, always looking back at me. I see her at the gym, in the dressing room mirror, when I walk down the street and see her reflection in the store window, and in the rarest of rarities, in a photo of myself. The chubby girl is relentless.

But I’ve realized something. By hanging onto this image of her, I will never attain me. As long as I keep imagining her when I think of myself, I will only become more of her. You’ve heard of visualization techniques, right? Well, imagine what I’ve been doing all of these years by visualizing her when I think of myself. Hello, self-sabotage.

I will never look the way I feel if I keep up this unhealthy habit. And not that I’m trying to become a size zero or that appearances are the most important but there is a level of frustration here. I eat amazingly well, exercise 4+ times a week on average, rarely drink alcohol, and sleep at least seven hours a night. What does a girl have to do to get some results around here? I believe that would mean some serious shifting. Specifically, perspective, mindset, and gratitude.

Perspective

What could happen for me if I stop thinking “Damn it, I hate my legs” to “Nice abs, rockstar.” If I stopped focusing on the negative and shifted to the positive, what else might I find? Or perhaps my legs will get jealous from all the attention my abs are getting and they’ll decide to finally show up.

Mindset

What’s important is that I’m eating what’s good for my body and what fuels me with the right kind of energy. I exercise because it feels good and I love how strong I feel because of it. If I keep telling myself my metabolism is slower than molasses and that I’m just destined to look this way than guess what? My body is probably believing that story and sticking to the script.

Gratitude

I’m healthy. I’m strong. I’m a healthy role model for my kids. I never get sick. This should be on repeat every day in the gratitude journal. Instead, I tend to focus on the scarcity in my life. I can’t see the muscles in my legs. I look gross in shorts. 

Who wants to hear that effing sob story every day? Not me. Not anymore.

The more and more I read, watch and learn, changing my perspective, mindset and level of gratitude can shift my life in ways that I thought that were for other people. As I listen to podcasts (seriously addicted these days), I find that this is the common denominator in people who have fulfilling lives. They see things in a positive light, they believe in themselves and acknowledge their strengths, and they express gratitude every day for what they have.

I am not this image I’ve been carrying around with me all of these years. I am so much more than I am giving myself credit for. So, to keep up with my word for the year, freedom, I’m setting that chubby teenager with the thick thighs and bubble butt free. I’m letting her go forever.

This is the only me I need to see, the one sitting right here and now. The one who loves herself for what she has, who she is inside, and how I love others. Not the one who hates herself for what she doesn’t have or for her faults. Life is too short to keep living life through lens of my past.

I am who I tell myself I am. I will become what I tell myself I will become.

It’s amazing what you see when you let go of that image you’ve telling yourself for far too long.

  • How many of you are doing the same thing?
  • Do you have an image you keep playing in your head on repeat, like an old film reel? 
  • What can you do to finally set that image free? 

******

FYI, I’m back to regular newsletter programming and if you’d like to get some insider info like my favorite podcasts, healthy products, book recommendations, and lots of other goodies only subscribers get, then go here or go up to the right hand corner of this page and look for Subscribe Here! Enter your email address in the box below it and you’ll get my weekly newsletter in your inbox every Saturday. 🙂

 

 

 

Turning Off the Firehose

turning-off-the-firehose

As I listened to one of Rob Bell’s podcast episodes the other day, Episode 120 Wisdom Part 5, How to Think About the News. I couldn’t but let  turn off the firehose, as Rob put it.

And that’s exactly how I feel whenever I open Twitter, Facebook, or turn on the television. It’s all so overwhelming but really, it’s my own fault. I’ve been confusing media with journalism. Journalism is truth-seeking, storytelling, and shining light on what needs to be exposed. There is a standard by which journalists are held to. There is a level of respect for story and for sharing what’s important.

Media is a whole other beast. As Rob explained so perfectly, media is like a firehose shooting us at point blank range of information all day long. It’s via television, Twitter, YouTube, Vines, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc. that floods us constantly with random bits and pieces, like the rapid fire Kim and Kanye nonsense, the latest political scandal news, to a viral video of a child singing in his car seat. While at the time, the trickle of information seems harmless but as we keep clicking our mouses, remote controls, or notification buttons, the trickle becomes a firehouse to the face…if we let it.

We can choose to let the firehose run, blasting us in the face with every possible scrap of information that media can point at us or we can choose to turn it off and only give attention to the things that matter to us.

We can turn off app notifications or simply go into airplane mode if we need some focus time. I totally do the whole Pavlov’s dog thing whenever my phone dings or I see a little red circle on my phone screen. It’s insanity in the making. Why would I ever choose to live life reacting to everything and not creating the life I want. But that’s exactly what I’ve done and chances are, the majority of the first world does the same.

Believe me, I’ve been there and I’m still fighting the withdrawals but hearing that podcast really put what I was feeling into words. I had been feeling truly overwhelmed and honestly, slightly depressed about everything I was trying to keep up on. ISIS, this scandal, that tragedy, climate change, claims that climate change is a myth, etc. It makes me crazy.

So part of the freedom I’m creating in 2017 is turning off the media firehose:

-I’m checking email only twice a day, noon and 8 p.m. and unsubscribing to all unnecessary newsletters, not yours, of course! 😉

-Switch off all notifications on my phone.

-Engage in social media via scheduled time and not whenever I’m bored or trying to avoid a task.

-Give my time and attention to sources with integrity only.

-Curate what will bring value or positivity to others.

This is a non-negotiable. My heart and spirit can’t take the constant barrage of negativity and shallow crap that spouts from mainstream media today. It’s killing any chances that I can truly believe that people are inherently good and that our society isn’t going to hell starting tomorrow. Because after a while, if I just keep taking what the firehose is spraying, I will no longer be able to breathe. And if I can’t breathe, well…that won’t the happy ending I was planning on for my life story.

Before I put anything out into the world, I must ask myself, “Is it helpful to others or is it part of the firehouse?” Sure, I like sharing a funny video like the next person but that has to be the exception and not the rule.

What about you? Have you been able to turn off the firehouse or are you still gasping for air?

If you’re still gasping, I hope you make a pledge to yourself that you’ll hit the shutoff valve once and for all. I would love to hear how it’s going and what changes for you by doing it.

******

P.S. Connection can’t happen without comments or shares so I hope you do at least one! You’re the best.