A long time ago, just before I started actively losing weight, I gave myself a gift. I told myself that I could eat whatever I wanted in whatever quantities I wanted. I also told myself that I could be as active or inactive as I wanted. I decided to take all the pressure off myself of dealing with my weight problem.
I gave myself this gift with only one condition; I had to actively work on the emotional issues that had brought me to that weight in the first place. I could indulge those needs but, while indulging, I had to emotionally show up to explore them.
I figured that in doing this, when I did start pushing myself to eat well, exercise, and lose weight, I wouldn’t feel bullied into it. I wouldn’t feel subconsciously resentful of it.
I’m confident that this gift to myself contributed in a major way to the success I’ve had thus far. Rather than feeling forced into new behaviors and exertion, I allowed myself to be eased into it as I felt comfortable. I took each step as I felt ready and as a result, my motivation increased.
Recently, I’ve struggled with getting myself to start working out again. The eating part hasn’t been hard but getting myself to be active has been really difficult. I knew that so much of it had to do with the baggage I now had with my gym but I couldn’t get past it. I wanted to work out at the gym but I didn’t feel safe there anymore.
Unfortunately, when I feel uncomfortable about something, I tend to just avoid it. That’s exactly what I did with working out.
I also had this sense of not wanting to retraumatize my body. I felt like the exertion that goes into exercise would make me feel fragile again. Nothing I could think of felt gentle enough. It was a very strange and child like feeling that didn’t make much sense when I tried to articulate it. All I knew was that I felt protective and like exercise was a threat.
So, I gave myself another gift. I told myself that if I didn’t feel like working out, I didn’t have to. If I want to, I’m certainly welcome to do so but there is no obligation. Once again, this came with one condition; I had to show up. I didn’t have to exercise but I did have to show up at my gym.
Once there, I could do whatever I wanted to do but I had to show up and be present.
After the first time back it got a little easier but I still felt this huge I DON’T WANNA about the whole thing. So, on Monday I made the deal with myself.
Showing up is probably the most important factor for success, hands down. Nothing can happen until you’ve shown up. Whether that be physically, mentally, or emotionally depends on the situation but all are important. I’ve faced all three recently.
I had to physically show up at the gym and at voice lessons, I had to show up both mentally and physically at work, and I had to show up both emotionally and physically to therapy so that I could start to get better and lessen these struggles in the future.
So, my gift right now is that I simply have to show up. What happens next gets to depend on how I’m feeling but showing up is mandatory.
What’s included in this?
I’ll show up by blogging regularly, being present at the gym twice a week, going to voice lessons every week ready to work, going to work with an awake and present mind, being authentic and honest with the people around me, and by retreating when I need alone time.
Every item on that list is something that I struggle with in some way and with each one it relates to showing up. So I guess it’s both my gift to myself and my challenge for myself.
And I do love a good challenge.