Yep. This is a post about the "F" word. Forgiveness!!! Yes, I said it, forgiveness. The act of forgiveness can seem so difficult sometimes. If you have ever been hurt and betrayed deeply, you may be thinking to yourself, bullsh*t!! From my own experience I can tell you, when you are in the throws of pain, the "F" word is the last thing you want to hear!! BUT, it is necessary. Not necessary for the offender, but necessary for YOU!! I feel like I have EVERY right to hold a grudge against a couple of people. They stole from me, they damaged me, they contributed to feelings of worthlessness, shame, and a soul bruised and battererd to the very core. I used to have revenge fantasies where I would imagine those that hurt me receiving the pain upon themselves that I brought upon them. Then I would have feelings of great anger because it seemed that everything was great for them and here I sat in pain with a destroyed life that I thought I couldn't put back together. BUT, I could and I did. I was allowing those who hurt me to still control me by holding onto my anger. The hardest thing for me to understand was: if I forgive then they will think that what they did was ok...they won't know how BAD...how AWFUL...how DEEPLY I was hurt. I was trying to punish them by remaining a victim and holding onto my anger! What I had to realize was the forgiving was for MY benefit. It was to FREE ME!! I was not and am not condoning the actions nor am I hoping for great things to happen to those who hurt me but I AM freeing myself by releasing myself from the pain by forgiving myself and forgiving those who have hurt me. That is all I can do. But if I want to move forward in my life, I can't carry someone else's baggage and someone else's problem. I have to operate from love and gratitude. Love for myself and gratitude for the character I have and the life I have. Forgiveness is not about the offender, it is about the offended. Forgiveness is freeing. Forgiveness is release of all of those negative feelings and making room for the positive. Here are two exercises you can do to release anger: 1) Write down the offenses and their effect on you, the negative feelings it brings up in you. Then, cut up those pieces of paper and put them into a balloon...fill with helium....release!! Let them go!! 2) Write a letter. In the letter write everything you want to say to this person....curse if you must...but put all of that anger in the letter ..... take the letter, a coffee can, and a lighter outside and set the letter on fire and drop it in the coffee can....watch it BURN!! If you want, read it outloud before you drop it in the can ....but put it out there and then watch it burn and feel the freedom that comes from that. I understand, believe me, that forgiveness is a big act. But, do it for yourself. Don't live as a victim, there is too much beauty in this world to live as a victim with a life full of excuses. When you free yourself, my friend, you will fly and THAT is the best revenge!!
My friend Amy asked me recently, what is my motivation and what is my inspiration? This is such a big question to answer, but I am going to try. My original inspiration came from my dad. My dad had diabetes and it was severe. He began having complication after complication and finally went to an Endocrinologist at Barnes Hospital. The doctor started him on a Medical diet. Medical are weight loss shakes that were developed by this doctor at Barnes. Dad had to drink five of them a day and then he could have broth as well as jello and diet soda. He was supposed to be able to lose 100lbs in 5 months.
Now, my dad, my family, loves to eat!! And I thought, if this is something he is going to do, I am going to start making some changes and I am going to support him. I mean, I had already had so many of my own health complications that had started and I wanted to stop mine from getting any worse. I had hypertension, sleep apnea, mixed connective tissue disorder, planters fasciatus, I was tired all of the time, I couldn't walk very far at all without excruciating pain and swelling, and I had skin issues .The PTSD symptoms, anxiety, and depression were compounded by all of the physical issues. I definitely didn't want to add diabetes to the list.
So, when my dad started, I started. However, after a few months, I began finding excuses. I said I couldn't do the diet because of health issues, I couldn't work out because it hurt, I couldn't.....you fill in the blank...I had excuses. The following January, I decided I was done....done with excuses, done with pain, done. done. done. So, I started again and I lost about 36lbs in 3 months and then I was stuck and I definitely wasn't commited to the gym.
Then, something happened.....this is weird, but it's the truth....my grandma passed away and I was set free. I loved my grandma so very much and I was so very very close to her and I grieved while she was dying and when she died, but at the same time her passing was empowering for me, for some reason. It's like her strength was passed on to me. She was a very very tough woman. After she passed, I was more determined than ever and something in me clicked. I got back on track and started with very small changes. I made small goals but I have a very definite large goal. I surrounded myself with people who are encouraging and positive. I read a book called Unbearable Lightness (by Portia Di Rossi) and my relationship with food just changed. I no longer thought in terms of "I can never have this again" or" I HAVE to give this up forever if I am going to be healthy". I learned through reading this book that allowing my body indulgences showed love for myself and I didn't feel like I was punished or neglectful. Eating well is an expression of self love.
My motivation and inspiration honestly come from those I surround myself with, books I read, helping others, and the realization that although other people care about and love me, if I want things to change, I have to change them and to hell with the excuses. Yes, excercising HURT LIKE HELL when I first started. My body refused to do more than move from side to side. No, I did NOT want to eat salad, vegetables and fruit all of the time, no I did NOT want to drink water, no I did NOT want to give up soda. I had SO many excuses: but my biggest one was, I CAN'T. I had a victim mentality. Anytime an opportunity would present itself, I would say "I can't". Fear would envelop me, and I let it. What I have found is this: if it is important to you, you will make it happen. No matter what it is, if it is important, you will find a way. What was and is important to me is this: thriving -- for my daughter, my partner, my parents, my family, my friends, FOR ME. I wanted to live as an example for my daughter. I wanted her to be proud to call me mom and I want her to see that she can be anything, do anything and overcome anything. Being healthy is important. I don't want to be hypertensive, I want to continue to do my own grocery shopping -- pushing a cart on my own, I want to run with my daughter and with my dog, I want to sleep without a cpap machine, I want to live a life free of pain and pain medication. These things are important enough for me to continue with my way of life and to continue reaching for my goals. I don't want to use excuses to keep me from goals, I want to look things straight in the face that scare me and overcome them in a way that touches the lives of those around me and inspires them.
"I am whatever you say I am, cuz if I wasn't then why would I say I am?"
Some of you may not know how big of an Eminem fan I am, but I love him. I know I know, I'm not being a good feminist by liking him but I admire his willingness to put ALL of his demons out for the world to see while he works through them in a very creative way. Any way, that quote at the beginning is from one of his tracks. How many times have you said or heard someone else say, "I don't care what anyone thinks, I'm doing me and that is all that matters." (not in those exact words maybe, but along those same lines). The truth of that statement is, "I care what people think, but I'm going to pretend I'm tough as nails so they can't hurt me anymore than I have already been hurt." Everyone cares. Anyone that says they don't is either not being honest with themselves or is delusional. It is important to love yourself and be proud of who you are. You have to live with you everyday and you have to look yourself in the mirror, so it is most important to be able to do that with your head held high and a smile on your face with a grateful heart! Now, I'm going to put some of my own garbage out there for everyone to see and work through it on this "creative" blog : )
I want people to like me. I want people to be pleased if they take a class with me and I want people to get what they are expecting when they are around me. I want to be as good as those around me. I am definitely a people pleaser. I have been for as long as I can remember. There is a fine line here though. If I cross that line, I lose myself in trying to be what everyone else wants or needs me to be. So, what can I do? Here it is: I can be grateful for the gifts I have; I can do whatever is necessary to make myself better each day than the day before; I can ask for feedback so that I make sure that my friends, family, and fellow gym rats are getting what they need from me; I can REFRAIN from comparing myself to those around me and be grateful that I am different and have other gifts. When I try to be someone else or obsess about if "they" like this, or if "this" is what "they" want, I am not being true to myself.
So, I will be grateful for my own talents and be grateful for the opportunities that I have and do the best with them that I possibly can. When I get feedback I will be grateful for the positive and negative and learn from them and grow. I am good. I mean you don't lose 110lbs and not learn something about how to be healthy and fit. No, I haven't done it for 20 years but I am surrounded by those who have experience and are willing to help and offer advice whenever needed. I am grateful for that. I am grateful to be me and I am so very grateful for my life and the second chance I have to live life beautifully. We all have a choices. We all have to challenge those negative thoughts and dwell on the positives. We have life and what a beautiful gift that is. We also have opportunity, because we get to decide each day how we will live. I want to live open, free, grateful and constantly learning and bettering myself and the world around me. What do you need to challenge yourself with today? Think about it. Change your own life, don't wait for someone else to do it because that is your job, not theirs. Your feelings about YOU, are up to YOU!! <3