"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change." - Carl Rogers
After I had the baby, life was both great and awful at same time. He was sweet and wonderful and I was truly in love with him, but at the same time I was missing the old me. I was missing my body, and the freedom I had before I had the baby. I was resentful because I knew that I could never go back to my pre-baby life. Also, since this was my third baby, I knew how long it would take to have my body, my strength and my "freedom" back. I also quickly realized how much of a toll a baby has on a relationship.
All those feelings, among other feelings of anxiety and self-doubt about my future career wise, let me in a steady state of suffering internally. Here I was, in some of the "happiest days of my life" with my new beautiful healthy baby boy, and all I could do was feel sadness (and even regret) for the life I left behind.
My first reaction was to stuff it down, and numb the pain with whatever made me feel better in the moment. Usually food, but sometimes booze and shopping, would make the feelings of anxiety and shame go away for that moment of instant gratification.
I also lived in total denial and continued as if life hadn't changed THAT much. I re-hired my Crossfit coach and began working hard in the gym, as I did in my "previous life", in the attempt to make it all better and regain (or keep) my "supermom" status.
On the outside I was kicking ass, but on the inside those feelings were stirring. The fear about my future, my career, the anger about losing my freedom and my body, and the shame of ALL these feelings. The shame is the worst of all, and denying/pushing away my feelings was not making it better.
Three months after having the baby, I was scheduled for surgery for my bladder, and I needed to take 6 weeks off of exercise. My plan was to "dial in" my nutrition, do accessory exercises and meditate daily, in order to get through this difficult time.
None of that happened.
Instead, I went deeper into the trance of unworthiness when I didn't follow through on my plan... And then the spiral of unworthiness started:
What is WRONG with me? I preach about this to all my clients and I can't do it for myself? Why is this so hard when it used to be so easy? Why can't I stop eating? I know what do to but I am not doing it?
Shame. Shame. Anger. Anger. Impatience. Sadness. Judgement. Shame. Breakdown.
I was trying so hard to change who I was and to become someone else, I never gave myself time to grieve, and to feel the feelings I was having. By denying them I was just making it worse, and when I realized that...
I had to feel the feelings and accept them. I had to let them in like guests in my house, acknowledge their presence, and treat them with respect.
Once I started to offer myself the same quality of unconditional love that I would offer a friend, and stop denying my own suffering, I started the healing process. I began kinder to myself, and my life.
I accepted myself as I was without needing to change. I was no longer striving to BECOME and just worked on improving on what I was.
I found my own worth and I put myself first again.
I made some decisions that were tough but necessary for me to grow. Decisions that would affect others, but were best for me. I stopped running away from my feelings and instead started asking:
What is happening right now? What inside of me is needing my attention?
Acknowledging my feelings left me free to make better choices for my health, and my growth. I am no longer striving to rid myself of the pain, and rather I am learning to relate to the suffering. I am learning to pause and reflect, and feel and it is turning this breakdown into a breakthrough.
My goals and my purpose of becoming the strongest version of myself inside and out, haven't changed. The only real change has been to finally accept myself as I am in this moment, and in any moment of my life, and to learn to live with her without trying to change her.
My listening and pausing and reflecting I also realized something about my goals:
They were too far away. Too unattainable at this point of my life. I needed to bring the carrot closer. Find something attainable that will help me get closer to that big hairy goal that I have set for myself.
And that my friends, made all the difference...
But more about that NEXT WEEK!