Have you ever thought about things you do that seem to have no explanation?
You know, those unexplained behaviors you have and you have no clue how or when they began. Maybe it’s that special way you take your coffee or how you like to make your bed or really any other personal ritual that is uniquely your own. Those things that make you, you…
Ever stopped to think about where these behaviors came from?
Now, think about the deeper stories that define you. Those that keep you perpetually searching for something you don’t have. Maybe it’s a relationship, goal weight or that right career. You know the stories you tell yourself that life will be complete and/or happy, when (fill in the blank.)
Each of us is a collection of stories that shape us into who we are and how we show up in the world. I see these stories as tapes we play in our daily life. For most, they seem to have magically appeared from somewhere in our history. Rarely, do we take the time to examine where they showed up along the way. It is those unexamined stories that can often have the most profound meaning. Deep beneath the surface lies a story that we bought into years ago and still impacts our daily life.
I spent most of my life believing I was overweight. As far back as I could remember, an unhealthy body image was my nagging companion. For full disclosure, I have never been traditionally obese, but always a more robust weight than any growth chart recommended.
Regardless, in my head, the struggle was real.
For 40 years, I’d never been able to fully piece together where this message started. One Summer day in my mom’s garage, I found some old pictures of me. A collection of photos from various ages (4–25) revealed a new truth. I wasn’t actually “fat,” in any of them. Of course, there were those awkward teenage years where my height didn’t match my weight, but all in all, I was a relatively “normal” sized kid.
Imagine my shock.
Honestly, carrying this message was painful. It felt so real and had defined much of my self-esteem, as far back as I could remember. Replaying this tape had robbed me of so many opportunities to connect to myself and others. It repeatedly affirmed that only thin people do this or I am not fit enough to try that, which robbed me of years of connection.
Do you have a story that holds you back?
To come full circle, I worked to understand where and how this tape started. Honest evaluation revealed that the message started with my parents. Both of them are what I would define as more traditionally “thin” and my shape was simply different that theirs. My mother was fastidious about her weight and her own habits often left me feeling ashamed.
Instead of developing healthy self-awareness, I was in a constant tug-o-war with myself and my body. They were never wholly integrated. This separateness kept me constantly in a lonely and isolated state. This belief carried me forward for years, trapped in an unhealthy relationship with food and my body.
It wasn’t until I discovered the untruths of my making that I could actually examine what worked for me. Today, I know that my idea of healthy looks different than ever before. It has allowed me to find what suits me and honor that where I am is right where I am supposed to be. When things come up that I don’t like, I can carefully examine if they have value in my life. That process of exploration has allowed me to get comfortable in my own skin in a way I never imagined.
What story is keeping you from the life you desire?
Are you ready to take committed action to get it?
Join me on a continuing journey toward self-love…