*photo by Mark Derry
I used to obsess about my body. I used to label myself as fat and ugly and unworthy of sustainable happiness. I used to rely on others' feedback - and of course, make up stories about others' non-verbal communication - to determine my self-worth. I used to spend the majority of my day dreading one thing after the next and would sit in blame and victim-hood anytime anything didn't go as I wanted or hoped it would go (during my hours of daydreaming about the future rather than being in the present).
I didn't feel truth in many of my choices and steered myself towards calamity simply to feel more alive for a few moments. I intentionally harmed myself because I was angry and lost and wanted a tangible reason to cry.
My triggered state still often leads to disordered thoughts around food, body-image and self-worth; albeit, the intensity has considerably diminished. It is now a rare occurrence rather than a daily consistent state.
I still have the personality that makes addiction a very real possibility to be mindful of, and have found it to be humorous when I notice the oxy-moronic nature of noticing addiction to personal development. Because I am prone to go to the extremes, I strive to focus on balance and moderation in all things. And when I do allow myself to do something a little more extreme, I need to make time for recovery and intentional self-care to ensure I don't burn out or do something out of alignment with my best-self. When you are tired or stressed, you are more likely to make impulsive decisions that feel good now, rather than sticking to the tried and true delayed gratification.
What is said about most addictions; even when you overcome it, you will always have the "disease." That sounds so damning and judgmental. While you could see it as a limitation, notice the shift in perspective if you choose to see it as an opportunity rather than a burden.
I have flipped the script and brought myself to a place of self-love, confidence and calm. I have developed the ability to truly tap into the spaces in between the sequence of events that leads to external action. I notice the impulse and know that compassion, curiosity and acceptance are the best first steps. I tell myself what I need to hear. I focus on my breath. I do what I can to conserve energy and create quality fuel so I can make an aligned and grounded choice in my thoughts and actions.
We all get triggered into impulsive action or inaction. Isn't that why self-development is such a lucrative business to be in? While there are generally always going to be some outliers, mostly everyone wants to overcome perceived limitations. To notice where you feel a lack of lust for life and immense imbalance, to develop awareness and compassion while building sustainable traction with purpose and direction in your actions, and to overall create new habits in place of the ones that aren't serving you. We all have this shared struggle and subsequent desire, yet it manifests from a time when we had little control or input in how we lived or what we experienced; our childhood.
What works for one person won't necessarily be what works for another. The best way to create the life of your dreams is to become the instigator, creator and facilitator. My goal is not to start my own tribe. My goal is to empower others to develop their unique capabilities and be guided by their own internal compass.
Everything that I do at this point in my career is focused on empowering others. I teach yoga and spin and infuse strength and overcoming into the words I choose to use. I focus on music and experience to take people on a journey, to get out of their head and into their body. I host workshops and write blogs to share tools and ideas that worked well for me, and to support others in developing an internal conversation that will lead to breakthroughs. I coach people one on one, leading by example in how I live my life and create challenges and conversations that will meet my clients where they are at and direct them to their desired destination. And my book, a tell-all tale about my life and the many hard lessons I have learned. I found my biggest growth spurts by reading books, and am so excited to be close to launching my book out into the world. A book that will take the reader on a journey and will land on a road map that will support the reader long after that final page is turned.
From desperation, I found my way. Life can be enjoyable and purposeful. The best part is, once you feel a sense of structure and have built in new habits, it is your moral and ethical code that guides you. You build your own road map and edit as you go. You have the creative power to design your life within the boundaries of your current existence, and with time and deliberate action (and intentional non-action), we see the beauty of cultivating a life manifested through balance, health, passion, and purpose.
Self-worth is a journey to alignment. It is the feeling of being internally directed and motivated, while still being focused on others and your part in the overall well-being of human kind. We are unique beings with a personalized purpose, but we are also a part of the collective. Relationships are what makes the world prosper. Choose more love, compassion and curiosity. The path will unfold when you stop getting in your own way.