Self-Love

I was reading a blog entry today from someone who has recently begun following my blog and had a lightbulb go off in my head right in the middle.

“So THAT’S why I’ve never felt like I’ve loved anyone” is the message my brain gave me.

The blog I was reading is by a lady named Sindhu. She came by to visit after reading a comment I had made on another blog. So, of course I had to have a poke around her site to see what she writes about. The first entry I read is about self-love and how, no matter what happened in her life and the differences between her and other people, she has always had this inner capacity for a healthy dose of self-love. This has enabled her to be resilient, self-sufficient and to have an endless supply of love for the friends and family members in her life.

Here is where the light bulb hit me. I have written before about how I ate my emotions. I avoided my feelings. Every single one of them. Hate, love, anger, confusion, frustration, joy, gladness. I could continue writing a huge list here but I am sure you get the idea. No matter the emotion, it either didn’t register on my gauge, or barely made the mercury rise above zero. They were all there, but all buried so deeply below the surface they were like an iceberg. 10% above the water and 90% below, hidden from view. Hidden from recognition. And hidden from the knowledge that I was entitled to experience them. iceberg

The thing is, my feelings FOR other people were exactly the same as they were for me. Iceberg-like.

I was 18 the first time I acknowledged to myself that I had FUN on a night out (a friend’s 19th birthday party). People would hug me and tell me they loved me, and I would say the words back to them, but I wouldn’t feel them within. While other teenagers were fawning over the boys in school or the celebrity superstar, putting posters up, writing love messages all over their school folders and pencil cases, I kept my distance, kept to myself, and found it really difficult to understand how they could feel that way.

It did occur to me sometime in my mid 30’s to wonder why I seemed so different to everyone around me, but I never got much of an answer. It was kind of like I was separate from myself.

You see, I always knew, from a very young age, that I was unworthy. That I did not deserve to be loved. That I didn’t deserve to have friends. At least any real ones. Two of the three friends I did have during school were always fighting amongst themselves and I was the one who kept the peace. I listened. I guess it was like I had my role in the group but didn’t really belong. I would visit their houses and see the evidence of their boy/celebrity crushes and I never had that. I was separate. 30 years on, I’m not sure what they would say about that time and how they saw me.

So, this blog I read today and the light bulb it generated…

light bulb

I realised that the reason I was never really able to feel the emotions that other people felt, FOR other people, is because I was never able to feel them for ME. I was never allowed to feel them. So I didn’t. I numbed them. And buried them so deep inside that trying to get them out has taken a lot of soul searching. A lot of time and effort. A lot of wondering whether I am normal.

So much makes sense now.

Stop the pattern of eating my emotions. Recognise their existence. Use the strategies I’ve learned to manage the thoughts. Love myself. Nurture myself.

Simple, right!?

I’ll let you know when the tears stop flowing.

letting go of old thought patterns

Stand Fight Fit

I have been feeling quite overwhelmed with all the stuff I do at work and uni and I have been feeling like I never get time to myself. And yet whenever I am not at work or uni I am at home by myself. This includes most weekends and every evening. Doesn’t quite make sense, does it? focus on your heart

On Saturday morning I went to a Stand Fight Fit workshop with Emazon. I set my intention for the workshop; “focus”. I wanted to come away feeling like I was focused and could concentrate on the stuff I needed to do. Like assessment pieces for my degree. To let go of work stuff, leave it at the front door and then focus on what I need to do at home. Instead of what I have been doing; sitting in my recliner watching mindless television while I eat everything in sight. Well, maybe not everything. But close to it. And then I wonder why my mind is racing at night and I can’t get to sleep for hours …

I finished Saturday’s session feeling centred and calm. And the short talk Emma gave afterward was particularly pertinent for me. The more I push my body and ask more of it, the more stress I add to it. The more I stress it out, the more it craves carbs and sugar. And the more it craves, the harder it is for me to deny those cravings and the more I end up eating. Emma did a youtube clip on something similar to this a few months ago. Very interesting stuff and it makes perfect sense.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiuSTG8g-f8 

So, rather than ask more of my body by spending extra time “trying” to do extra stuff, what I really need to do is create some rituals and give it what it really needs; time to replenish, repair and heal from the stress it has been under for so many years. My kiniesiologist told me a while ago that my adrenals were stressed. I wonder why!!

I need to add to my goals list to include:

  1. Create an evening ritual of quiet time with a cup of tea and meditation.
  2. Spend some training time with the air element, morning and evening. Breathing, meditation, yoga-type movements.
  3. Allow myself to take what I need every day.
  4. Be in bed by 9:30pm to breathe before sleep.
  5. Spend some time in the Japanese Gardens on the weekend, simply sitting, walking and breathing the serenity.

relax

Free Fall

“It’s when you stop looking that you see things that are in plain sight”.

I was watching “Neighbours” tonight (of all things) and one of the characters said these words. They struck a chord with me.

I’m not really sure why at this point, I just know that it has. And it’s related to my previous post on rituals and letting go.

I talk a lot about trusting myself, and yet I never seem to get to the point when I push myself to the edge and I need to trust. To where trust is the only option. I always head back to old habits. I get right to the edge of the precipice and never take the step into free fall.

What exactly am I looking for here? Whatever it is, it seems so elusive. Like it’s just out of reach and no matter how much I fumble around for it with the tips of my fingers, I can never grab hold of it.

I wrote a letter last weekend, addressed to all the teenagers out there who used to feel the way I felt at their age. You can find it here if you’d like to read it. The entire time I was writing and proofreading it I was calm and composed. I had doubts about how it would be received and whether people would get some value out of it, so I asked a friend to proof it before I posted it. Her response was that it was powerful and she wished someone had said those things to her as a teen.

I read it once more before posting it and this time, to see how it sounded, I read it aloud to myself. And of course, I immediately started bawling. It really hit me. I posted that letter on my other blog 3 days ago. Tonight I was talking to another friend about it and I realised that I actually wrote it to myself. The teenage self that was never told she mattered. The teenage self who needed and desperately craved love and acceptance. I wrote it so that she could feel like she had a place in the world. Because, as much as I know it as an adult, the teenager I was never understood it. And she needs to. I need her to. I need her to truly take those words on board and allow them to sit comfortably.

I need it so that I can feel ok about letting go and taking that step over the edge.

Free Fall.

free fall penguin

 

5 signs you’re on the hero’s journey.

5 signs you’re on the hero’s journey..

I came across this article today and wanted to keep it. It speaks to me. Enjoy 🙂

It talks about your greater mind providing the signs you need to listen to so that you can live the life you’re destined for. It’s very well written, uses a lot of metaphors, and while sometimes the language is a little “lyrical”, the message is clear. No matter how much you fight it, your greater mind will always lead you to the life you are meant to life. Even if it hurts like hell to travel the abyss to get there.

So, we may as well learn to let go and listen, right? 🙂

Rituals to let go

Mum. Grief.

Two words that will forever be associated in my head.

excuses kill dreams kill excuses instead

On Thursday I did something I’ve needed to do for a while (and didn’t know I needed it). I had tears flowing on and off most of the evening.

My mum died in October 2002. Since then I think a part of me has known that I haven’t grieved for her in the way I need to. Instead I have coped the way I always have with tough stuff. By avoiding, by burying. The pain. The hurt. The sadness. Usually with food. Mostly unhealthy food.

I would sit for hours numbing myself, watching mindless T.V. while eating. Chips, twisties and chocolate have always been my fall back options. But anything would do.

Every diet ever invented provides a plan that restricts or even eliminates specific foods. When I started the 12WBT it was no exception. I have always turned to food to avoid or numb my emotions to the point where I wouldn’t even know they were there most of the time. “I never get angry”. Yeah, right. Only because it was hidden under all the food, buried deep down inside. So not having my fall back foods on the 12wbt plan ….

It’s been extremely challenging for me. To find alternative strategies has proven difficult. To even become AWARE of my emotions has been an issue. An enlightening and educative process. I feel like I am a lot more aware of when I am feeling emotions. I now acknowledge and recognise my anger. Yay, me!

More difficult has been the strategies. Or at least implementing them. Every time I try, I end up self-sabotaging. I go back to old habits and ways of coping. Namely, eating. My standby addiction. My excuses come out to play, in a big way.

It’s difficult to admit it’s an addiction. I know it is, but I don’t want to say it out loud. But that’s a whole other blog post …

let go of the past
Last week I was talking to a close friend and colleague of mine about rituals. She said she saw me in front of a big orange fire, creating a ritual whereby I was able to let go of stuff that’s been holding me back. Thursday and Friday (yesterday) I went to an annual work retreat where we get together for 2 days for professional development and some down time. My friend, after talking with me last week, organised a bonfire for Thursday night. Especially so I could do my ritual. I am so, so BLESSED!

I spent some time writing before dinner on Thursday, following a full day of professional development on grief and bereavement. Kind of fitting that my mum was right there. I allowed my hand to move the pen however it wanted and I wrote a letter to my excuses. I told them how they have helped me over the years. How they have protected me and kept me safe. How they have allowed me to survive. And about how they are now keeping me further away from where I am destined to be. My big, vast and promising future. I sent them all the love and care in what they have done for me in the time they have been my companions and then told them it was time I set them free. I thanked them and then let them go.

I cried most of the way through writing that one page letter. The words flowed very easily and it took about 5 minutes. I sat quietly for a while, did some breathing and mindfulness practice before rejoining the group. After dinner I went down to the bonfire with my friend and after everyone else went to bed we talked for a bit. She asked me, who was the one person, alive or dead, who I would call upon for support when I needed it?

Mum.

We talked about her. Her personality, her smell, what she did for me. The differences between her and dad. The biggest thing about my mum is the way she nurtured me. Something I have never really done for myself.

We talked about how I could call on her for support and nurturing whenever I needed her. I was in a flood of tears almost the entire time we were talking. My mum was with me by that fire. Watching. Waiting. Loving, nurturing, protecting.

letting go and shining bright

And then I threw the letter in the fire and watched it burn. Slowly, from the edge, across the paper from one side to the other. I watched those excuses disappear out of my life, little bit by little bit, knowing that I am STRONG, DETERMINED, COURAGEOUS. Knowing that whenever I need her, my mum will be there to support, encourage and nurture me. Knowing that I can do those things for myself.

All I need to do is trust. Myself, my gut, my mum.

After I got back to my room I felt quite wrung out. Drained. Tired. And somewhat cleansed.

Tomorrow is a new day.

I’ve got this.

I am looking forward to the rest of my life.

STRENGTH. DETERMINATION. COURAGE.

ME.

letting go for freedom

How to lose friends and piss people off…

I find this blog post very interesting. It gives new meaning to listening to your body and providing what it needs. I think I need to do more research. It’s going to take a while since I am incredibly busy, but I’m ok with that, given that I deserve to nourish myself. Body, mind and soul. 🙂

Unleashing My Inner Awesome

Image

 

There’s a known psychological phenomenon called the Confirmation Bias. Basically it means that you tend to look for evidence to support what you already believe, and ignore things that contradict your beliefs. The more strongly held the belief, the less you’ll look for contradiction. 

So why am I telling you this? Because it’s time I came out. This is a pretty tricky blog post to write, and it’s been going round and round in my head in various ways for a while. Apologies if I ramble, and for those of you who are used to my brevity you may want to go and make a cup of tea, but here goes. 

I was wrong. There, I said it. I was wrong but now I know better and I’m changing. 

I lost 28kg last year and the year before by restricting my calories to 1200 per day and exercising…

View original post 1,091 more words

When you feel like you’re going backward …

Well, to be honest, I’m not sure I feel like I’m heading backward, but I do feel like I am starting to come out of one of those phases. Kind of. I started the 12wbt in February last year and did 4 consecutive 12 week rounds. Since the end of the third round the scales have remained stable, despite a lot of really crappy nutrition choices. Now I could suggest that my body has needed the rest and time to adjust after shedding 30kg, and while that may be true, it’s probably more accurate to say that my brain had a bit of a meltdown. On and off it has been extremely messy in there and confusion has reigned supreme!

Dealing with university assessments, work stuff, heightened emotions from the Emazon convention in April, and having little time to sort any of it out (or more accurately, not making time), have combined to set me going backwards. At least it seems like it.

The Brave Girls Club (www.bravegirlsclub.com) has heaps of resources on their site and they shared an old blog post by one of their founders. It really resonated with me today when I read it. You can find it here. It talks about how even when you feel like you are going backwards, even if all you do is face forward to where you want to be while you’re travelling, you are still moving in that direction. Basically, keep your eye on the prize, even during the tough times.

After some recent not so pleasant events someone asked me, “when are you going to choose your life?” When it was said I was definitely not in the right frame of mind to hear it at face value. The comment was right though. I certainly haven’t been choosing to live the life I want. I have been sitting back and allowing it to be. It’s kind of like I’ve been expecting it to happen to me, rather than me going out to get it. I have a long history of that. For many years I have had people make allowances for my size. They offer to do physical stuff because I’m not able to do it. And I allow them to take over. It’s almost like I’m allowing them to live my life for me. *Light bulb moment*

As I sit here looking at the sentence I just typed I feel quite shocked. I have given away my power and decision making ability on all things personal. And when I am presented with the tools to make changes I choose not to use them, hoping that someone, or a series of someone’s, will put them into place FOR me, thereby absolving me of the responsibility.

Logically of course I’ve known for ages that I am the only one who can do this for me. And yet I’ve been waiting for other people to hand it to me so I don’t have to do the work. *sigh*

I want to say “will I ever learn?!?!” to myself. But I know that’s not going to do anything for me other than bring me down. I overthink. I analyse. Too much. My brain works overtime, especially when it comes to my own stuff. Not news to the people who know me well, I’m sure.

I have signed up to do the next round of the 12WBT. It’s time I take back my personal power. Figure out what I am capable of. I have big things destined for me. When am I going to choose my life?

Now.

Image

 

I’m awesome

I’m not sure why I’m posting this now but it feels like the right thing to do so I’m just going with it. A few weeks ago there was a move in one of the groups I belonged to, to create pictures of yourself that showed how awesome we are. At the time I didn’t do one, but after everything that has happened in the last few days, I decided to do one at the encouragement of one of my friends.

The trend was started by the awesome chicky who owns one of the blogs I subscribe to, called Unleashing my Inner Awesome. With the consent of all the owners of the pictures, she placed them all on her own blog. You can find them here, with an explanation about how the idea came about.

http://unleashingmyinnerawesome.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/im-awesome-and-so-are-you/

I did mine just a couple of days ago. I chose this specific picture on the spur of the moment, after having the idea that I would go for one taken more recently. I have had issues with self esteem since I was younger than in this picture, and I think it more accurately represents the part of me that needs and deserves unconditional love and acceptance. I figure if she can get it at age 10, then I can too.

I have deliberately focused on the emotional aspects because it is this stuff that I have allowed to hold me back.

Ali Gr 3 awesome picture

 

 

 

Bootcamps and Self-Nurturing – Compatible?

I went to bootcamp yesterday. I had the opportunity to go a few weeks ago but piked at the last minute, so this time I made sure I payed in advance and invited a friend to go with me, thereby making a commitment that I felt I had to stick with. It worked. I made it there and participated. This event was something that I had been looking at doing to help me get back into the swing of training. Something to kickstart my brain and get me to looking toward taking real care of my body.

Immediately after starting I felt inadequate. My left knee was playing up and within about 5 seconds I couldn’t keep up with the group. There is something about watching a group of 30+ people run ahead of you to mess with your self-confidence. I felt like giving up and walking away then and there. I may have even considered it had one of the trainers not come up to me, introduced herself and said that she would work with me. Internally I breathed a sigh of relief that I wouldn’t be left to flounder.

So, she modified everything for me. Imagine a very large backyard (grassed), slight slope, with the usual unevenness that is characteristic of grassed areas. There were markers placed at intervals (start, middle, end) up the length of the yard. Warm up included a series of runs to the markers with high knees or butt kicks, run back, followed by a run up the road and back. The workout itself (for me) started with run (walk) to middle marker, squat, return to start. Run to marker, squat x 2, return. Run to marker, squat x 3, return. Continue until you get to 10 squats. Then a series of run to marker, 10 squats, run back. Did this probably about 8-9 times. We had a short break after about 45 min, then repeated the process for another 15 min, this time doing squats at each end. Up, 6 squats, back, 4 squats, up, 6, back, 3. Up, 4, back, 3. Up, 6, back, 4. And so on. All up, probably close to 200 squats.

After the second set of squats my legs were like jelly. And they stayed like that the entire hour. The trainer pushed and pushed, trying to get me to move faster, despite me trying to tell her that I needed to balance myself before moving so I wouldn’t fall over on the uneven ground. I was encouraged, told I was doing well, that I didn’t need to compare myself to anyone else, I was doing this for myself. The first time I went to grab some water to ease my throat I was told that I don’t need any water because nobody else needed any. In the background I heard the leading PT telling the rest of the group not to have any water between sets, to just keep going. I understand that this was to push me outside my comfort zone but something about it sent my emotions into chaos. My legs were like jelly, my lower back was painful from standing for so long, and when I was told not to have water I felt like I was being told to ignore what my body needs.

This goes against everything that I have been working to achieve in my work with Emazon. To listen to my gut, my authentic self, and to give my mind, body and spirit what it asks for. So I got cranky with her and had some water. I think she got frustrated with me and walked away for a few seconds.

She started encouraging me again, telling me I was doing well. Told me not to listen to what my mind was telling me when it was saying I was going to fall over because the ground was uneven or my jelly legs wouldn’t hold me. She pushed me to keep going and I did much more than I would have without her there beside me. For that I am grateful. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet, but I think this has been one of those “holy crap, look what I did!” moments, and I will be proud of that achievement.

Right now though, my brain is a little chaotic. I am glad I went, and that this woman pushed me beyond what I thought was possible. Several times I caught myself thinking “you do realise that I weigh almost 200kg, right?!?!”, wishing I could shout it to her to get her off my back. Several times (many times) I told her to get stuffed in my mind. I tried telling her (aloud) that I needed to steady myself before moving, she tried telling me to ignore it. And so we went, back and forth, for the entire hour (except for the times she rushed to help some of the others for a few minutes).

After it was all over I got to stand beside the main trainer for the group photo and she put her arm around me.

So, I’m trying to figure out what I need to get from this. I’m grateful that I went, that I did more than I would have had I not been pushed like I was. I also learned that I don’t enjoy bootcamps or the harshness in the way this one was run. Some people thrive on being yelled at. I don’t. I get cranky, irritable and argumentative. Rather than listening to and giving my body what it needs, I was encouraged to push past that and ignore it. And that I don’t like. At no point during the workout was I able to block out the crap my mind and body was saying and get into a zone where I was unaware of anything else around me.

I want and need to learn how to get into that zone.