The other day, I was listening to a PT called Kitty, being interviewed about her online coaching business. It was a great interview and I really loved the honesty and openness that she had. She talked very freely about her own insecurities and how that had led to her being sexually promiscuous and putting herself on terrible diets and exercise regimes. Long story short, she ended up as a trainer and wanted to help women who were doing stupid things to their bodies like her. I found myself laughing and nodding my head so many times throughout the webinar that by the end, I really wanted to message her and tell her how much her story had resonated with me.
You know what’s funny though? I’d seen an ad of hers some months before, and been really annoyed by her message. I had thought “just another idiot PT trying to sell a product” but after listening to her in this interview, I got her. I understood her. I still hated her ad but then I’m not her target audience 😉 and I’m pretty sure there’s a message in this about not being a judgemental num-nuts too 😉.
So here’s the deal. We all need to be more like Kitty (as in open and honest, not sexually promiscuous lol). When we’re open and honest, our past and our secrets hold no more power over us. And it’s often what is holding us back. We worry that if we achieve success in our life (however that looks), all our secrets and skeletons are going to come back to haunt us.
So here’s the deal. I’ve spent most of my life feeling like I don’t fit in; feeling like an outsider and not as good as anyone else. It started in my childhood and has continued all the way through to adulthood. All through my schooling years I was focused on what everyone else had (the nicer car, the nicer house etc.) and it really formed a solid foundation for becoming the comparison queen. I can compare the absolute shiz-nit out of anything faster than you can say 1, 2, 3 and I promise you, it’s not a great way to live.
In high school, I was also very insecure. In fact, I was so good at feeling insecure about myself, that I even managed to lose swimming races, I’d qualified fastest for. Now that is a talent. I pretty much felt like the ugly duckling who just didn’t belong. So, once I left high school and entered the real world, I found alcohol, night clubs and boys. Let me tell you, this is not a good mix. When Kitty said she threw herself at anything and everything, I found myself thinking, “yep me too”. And I did. You see, when you’re not happy with who you are, you find yourself seeking external validation. I looked to boys to make me happy but of course, it made me feel worse. I felt dirty and I felt even more insecure. So my late teens and early 20’s were pretty wild as I rebounded from one bad decision to the next. In fact, my parents thought they were going to be woken in the middle of the night with a call from the police telling them I was dead. Hearing that from your parents is pretty ordinary, let me tell you. Not surprisingly, my wild ways finally resulted in me falling pregnant to my then boyfriend. To make matters worse, I decided to marry him, despite knowing it was a bad idea. I then proceeded to treat him in a way no human should have to endure and after the shortest marriage in history, I was suddenly a 22 year old divorcee, single-mum, with no money, no job, no car, no qualifications and absolutely no real prospects on the horizon. I was not a hot mess, I was a mess. In fact I was a loser and I had made my bed.
Now, if Tony (my husband) was telling you this story, he would like to tell you at this point he came in and rescued me 😉 but truth be told, I simply made a few good decisions (for once). The first good decision was to move into an apartment by myself with Andrew (my son). We needed stability and we’d be staying with a friend temporarily (as I had just left Andrew’s father) until I could figure out what to do next. Miraculously, I was able to find a very affordable two bedroom unit that was very close to the city, with public transport at my door. I also re-enrolled back into uni, making the decision to do the double degree (exercise science and education), rather than just exercise science. This meant 5 subjects per semester for the next few years but I knew it was a better choice. I needed a job with hours that suited Andrew and what better job was there, than a teacher? I also applied for a job nearby where I would be doing tutoring for people undertaking their personal training qualification. The job applications had already closed but I figured why not. Another miracle – I jot the job and all of a sudden, my life was turning around. Over the next few years, my life became quieter and more focused and in 2010 Tony and I were married. Other than having Andrew, this was the best day of my life.
Now I acknowledge that God played a role in my life, but I also acknowledge that had to be willing to change and I had to be willing to do the work. So, whether or not you believe in God, for change to happen, you have to change. You might be thinking, but I can’t change. It’s too hard. I hear you! I really really hear you. My change started back in 2006 and is still happening in 2018. The transformation is never over but it begins with ONE SINGLE DECISION.
You might be thinking that because my situation is vastly different to yours, that what I’m saying doesn’t apply to you. Well I’m here to tell you it probably does. We all act out in different ways due to our insecurities and self-loathing. Some people use sex, others use food or alcohol, others exercise excessively – we all have our ways of hiding how we feel about ourselves. And until you are honest, until you fess up to how you feel, how on earth are you going to change?
If you don’t see any value in yourself, then every program you try, every diet you put yourself on is not likely to have any lasting effect and even if it does work, it won’t change how you see yourself. Your value is not in how skinny you are, how perky your glutes are, how many Instagram likes you can get on your post. No! Your value lies is in who you ARE. We are all unique, with our own strengths and weaknesses. Our value lies in that there has never been anyone like us before and there will never be anyone like us again. We are literally an endangered species 😉 Once you start to believe that you do have real value, you will start to believe that you are worth taking care of. This is where the magic happens.
Unfortunately, I can’t force you to see your value. I can tell you, that you are a valuable. I can tell you, that you are one of a kind but you need to tell yourself this and you need to start doing things that make you actually believe it.
Personally, I think that when we start eating well and exercising it has a profound effect on how we feel about ourselves. When I go to the gym and lift weights, I feel powerful and in control and when I eat well, I feel pretty damn chuffed with myself. Avoiding all the delicious, energy-ladden foods is a daily struggle! So I really high five myself when I nail it. And so should you! We are always so hard on ourselves and incredibly critical. We focus on all the things we get wrong, which is often far less than what we get right. I have so many of my clients beating themselves up for a day of “flexible eating” when they completely forgot about every day before that, that they nailed. Never mind that we are not going to be able to avoid cake for the rest of our lives (and why would we want to???) We need to celebrate our victories! We need to focus on what we get right! This is part of the way in which we see our value.
So my message to you today is be like Kitty. Be honest and real. Be vulnerable. I hear the word “authentic” getting thrown around a lot these days and if I’m honest, this word makes a little bit of vomit come up into my mouth. The word itself is obviously fine but what I tend to see is that the people who talk about being authentic (and it’s usually some dopey celebrity on TV), they’re being anything but authentic. They’re just saying what they think people want to hear. And it’s disingenuous.
Don’t be like that.
Be real. Be raw and be yourself.
** Psalm 139:13-14 **