A friend of mine that’s recently started her own life coaching business (bigbravely.com) posted a question on Facebook a while ago:
“What’s the one question about your life that still doesn’t seem to have an answer?”
I usually see these questions and read some responses and have a think but rarely actually submit an answer. This time I did and I wrote “Why can’t I believe in me”.
And Sheri’s response, quick as a flash, was “I see a lot of contradiction in that question, knowing some of the awesome, brave things you’ve done and continue to pursue“. Easy for her I think, she only sees what I publicly post, not privately battle with.
Then, I had some dear friends from across the ditch come visit me and I made a comment about not liking to watch movies from my teenage years as I felt life had such promise then and look at me now. They seem genuinely confused and said they’d just been talking about me on the plane trip and how brave I was in some of my recent life choices.
Like most things, I very rarely react and just let things stew. And stew. And after a bit more stewing, I had an epiphany.
Ready for this?
I have always, and continue to, define myself by my weight. Which means I’m never happy. Everything I achieve and might feel a smidgeon of pride about always has an underlying dissatisfaction about it because I’m never happy with me.
If I were looking in from the outside, here’s what I might see:
- Courage to move to a country she had never visited and didn’t know anyone – and had made some great friends in doing so
- Took the leap from a field she had worked in for 10 years into the private sector
- Studying for her Masters in Construction Management (with a High Distinction average)
- Learning to sing in public – and finding occasions to do so
Not so bad huh? But to me, all of that is not worthy of celebration if I am still overweight. To be honest, I’m constantly surprised that people are nice to me, want to be friends with me and interact with me professionally, because all I am is overweight. And don’t even get me started on guys that may express an interest in wanting to be more than friends!
A couple of years ago I lost a shit ton of weight (official measurement) but didn’t see the achievement. Now I’ve gained a lot of that back and trying to figure out what happened. I think part of it was that I treated myself like a project. Don’t think about anything, just follow the program and work hard (works in my professional life). But then when the project was over, nothing had changed, I hadn’t learned anything so I went back to the old way of life.
The two key times in my life I have lost a significant amount of weight was before I travelled overseas. So I’ve tried to use the same motivation this time. For the last two years I’ve been thinking about my Christmas in New York City and how I wanted to be back to that weight from my USA trip in 2013. Except it hasn’t happened. And now I’m looking down the barrel of a trip overseas that I can’t get excited about because I don’t want to look like this.
So now is a time to actually be brave. To own my choices that have led me to being this size, but not let it define me. Why on earth would I waste an opportunity to have an amazing Christmas with my parents in a beautiful city on the other side of the world because I can’t get happy about me??? Just like, in every day life, why do I not cheer myself on and instead see everything as I think I am perceived? It’s sheer madness and it has to stop. For goodness sake, I am 40 years old and can’t find happiness because I think people are judging me like we’re still in a school yard.
I am all for accountability and responsibility (especially in my career) so now I turn it back on me. I take responsibility for my happiness, for my achievements and for the ability to see what the goods things in my life are. I have gratitude for so many things that I’m really just cheapening it by discounting all the good because of something that I let define me.
Time to get my Maya Angelou on: