Archives for posts with tag: self-esteem

When it comes to the volunteer work that I do – as well as the GBMM  work – it leaves me open to a great deal of criticism.  Some of it is real – some of it is imagined.   Criticism is a vulnerability soft spot for me – I wonder if it’s because I worry that once one of my shortcomings are identified by someone that the floodgates will open and all the shitty things I think about myself suddenly will be nothing but the truth??  Gawd, as I type this I know how silly it seems to think this.

I’m involved with a book study of “The Gifts Of Imperfection” by Brene Brown and today this quote just rocked my world:

“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection…”

The last 2 and half years of my life have been an experiment of living authentically and vulnerably and I have had the very highest of highs and the lowest of lows but today that quote made me realize I will always stay low if I get too scared to stay vulnerable. The end of 2013 was very difficult and the first half of 2014 hasn’t been much easier and I see so clearly now that my survival mode was to stop being vulnerable and I really shut-down quite a bit.

It got me thinking about the criticism that I’m so afraid of …. it’s never the constructive stuff.  The people that offer constructive criticism have just as much skin in the game as I do… they are living a life as authentically as they can and they reach out to me and offer me guidance when it’s needed.

But that destructive criticism?  That’s the shit that gets me.  That’s the stuff that gets me in my tender little heart.  How do these trolls know where to get you?

The quote “It’s not the critics who count….” is my mantra.

That’s my new barometer for taking outside criticism and considering if it’s constructive or destructive…. if it’s coming from a person who has been in the arena…   I hear it … if it’s coming from an asshole who has nothing better to do than attack a person from behind the comfort of a computer screen I am getting so much better at dismissing it!

Also… putting myself in this role did magnify my shortcomings…. how can it not? None of us are perfect! I’m pretty proud of the courage it took to plow ahead anyway and proud of the courage it takes right now to not give you a laundry list of all the reasons why the work I do is hindered by my inadequacies. 

Today, when I read the words about staying vulnerable I realized that I had “vulnerability burnout”…  I forgot to nurture my vulnerable parts and had to withdraw… guess what? That didn’t work and I have simply felt stuck for the last 4 months.

This is so clear to me now…. if you make a promise to yourself to be your most authentic you… you MUST make a commitment of EXTREME self-care and compassion.  This is the only way to protect your vulnerable heart if you want to wear it on your sleeve ❤not the critic

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For those of you who know me – you won’t be surprised that the the idea for The Release Retreat was born from the inspiration of a daily horoscope.  I read it towards the end of last winter and it basically said “it’s time to tap into your soul and share that with the world…”  At first, I didn’t really know what to make of this because I didn’t feel like anything I was doing was very inspiring; I was digging deeper in my yoga practice, I was working hard to heal my broken heart, I was doing everything in my power to listen to my body – to what it needed….  My life had become quite simple.  And then the “aha” came… my life was simple and I was so bursting with contentment about that – we get this “live an extraordinary life” message stuffed down our throats everywhere we turn that so many of us just fill it all up with our careers, activities – the glorification of busy – that we forget that what’s really extraordinary (and I daresay the exception to the rule these days) is really savouring our lives.

I fired up the laptop and started typing furiously about creating a day for women to finally “Release” themselves from what was holding them back from achieving this level of peace and calm in their lives.  I typed what I wanted the day to feel like, how I wanted to feel, how I wanted our guests to feel.  Quickly, without giving it a second thought I sent the outline to people that I knew would never criticize me for not making the Retreat happen but who I admired and wanted to create some accountability for this goal – and who I also knew would celebrate with me what a dream come true it would be….

…and it was…

There were times when someone was sharing their deepest emotions – really baring their souls – and I kind of froze the moment – I could feel that they were really letting go of something that had been holding them back and I was so proud and honoured that something we had facilitated was making this happen.

We laughed.

We cried.

We swore.

Like…. a lot.

We listened and learned.  We had “aha” moments and “F*@k them” moments and sinking into deep, deep gratitude moments…. it really was a gorgeous day.

Shannon Laackman, The Psychic Cowgirl was on hand to guide us through meditations, to “cut the cord” on relationships or circumstances in relationships that have been holding us back…. she lead us through a beautiful and powerful chakra balancing…  her bright and sizzly energy was JUST what we needed to keep us engaged!

The reviews were so touching and sincere….  My favourite comment of the day was someone saying;

“it was like an all day coffee date with your best friend…”

I am bursting with excitement about what comes next – how we grow.  Thank you Marriann for your amazing partnership, thank you to The Bra Lounge for believing in our message AND  Thank you all of you beautiful souls who trusted us and so willingly shared with us…..  There are no words for the level of my gratitude… I love you all.  Thank you for helping us see how truly right the path is that we are on. Namaste.

your calling

I feel like I have said this too many times to count over the last two years but I think it bears repeating…..  If you want to feel good about your body, if you want to set yourself free from insecurity surrounding your body…. You MUST accept your body;

All of it;

The scars;

The squishy flesh;

The shiny stretch marks;

The too short legs; and

The fwappy arms….

You must ACCEPT….. and then…. learn to love.

There is NOTHING I mean NOTHING good in this entire Universe that comes from hate…. hating your body will not force it into submission, will not erase your wobbly bits…  hating your shortcomings whether they are related to your physical appearance will not result in self-acceptance and love.

It’s okay if this concept seems ridiculously foreign to you.  It’s okay if right now this seems impossible…. but you can start… just a baby step.

Today – what if you started with love.  When you feel a hateful thought bubbling in your brain… what if you stopped it?  What if you said “Nope, not today” and moved onto something with love… maybe it’s too soon to direct a loving thought towards yourself…  do a loving thing… go find that book you have been meaning to dig into, knit a scarf, phone a friend…

Move through this world with love and the intention of love…. and then when you’re ready… Maybe think something loving about yourself.

Love is easy.

Hate is hard.

Simple as that.

 

love and hate

The quest for body perfection has become a tricky little bastard with a tricky little way to fool you…  It has wrapped itself up in “health”… as in, if you keep trying to get a perfect body you will be healthy… like counting every calorie and tracking every rep is a healthier way to eat and exercise…. Like having “6 pack” abs is a definition of health.  I have my own ideas now about extreme exercise that I won’t share – I really, really, want to end the cycle of judging others and how they choose to take care of their bodies but I also want other women to know that it’s okay to question this…. That it’s okay to wonder how exercising to the point of injury is “healthy”.

I recently had a very interesting conversation with a woman about this judgment.  We were talking about family vacations and she indicated that when they vacation with their whole family they really have to consider her father-in-law who has had 2 hip replacements since he was 55.  Yep, that’s right first hip replacement at 55.  He had always been an extreme athlete, played football through high school and college.  Often played when he was injured.  Then, he became a runner and often continued running against medical advice.  As she started to express how bad she felt for him I stopped her and I asked her how she would feel if her father-in-law was fat.  If he was obese and because of this obesity he had required 2 hip replacements in less than 20 years.  She agreed that this was a very interesting question – that many would see an obese person requiring these surgeries as a “they did it to themselves…” and cast judgment and possibly say derogatory things about the cost to our healthcare system.  And really, what’s the difference?  Her father-in-law mistreated his body too – just because his mistreatment made his body look good didn’t change the fact that his health was compromised by the way he treated his body.

I remember, before children, when I was “imaginary fat” – I always used to commiserate with my friends that I just wished that my body would reflect how hard I worked at the gym… Ugh, I want to hug that woman, and then slap her…  My body did reflect how hard I worked – I just didn’t “see” it… I will never quite understand how I managed to convince myself that if I just worked out harder and ate so much less that somehow that would make my legs and my torso longer…  it’s true, I was striving for a body that only someone a good 4 or 5 inches taller than myself would ever have!  That certainly speaks to the effective brainwashing of the diet and exercise industry.

In any event, I guess I am ready to change the dialogue – ready to ask the tough questions of people and how they view their own bodies as well as others.  It’s time to shift our attitudes about health and realize that the quest for skinny has never been about that.

body health

I met with a client yesterday and much of her story resonated with me… we both have been on “diets” and the quest for weight loss since before we were 10.  We both had mamas that struggled with their weight.  We both have 2 little girls that we will give anything, ANYTHING to not pass these body-image issue onto!

Through this whole process I have never said I am on a “diet”… I try my best to not moralize food… we don’t say certain foods are “bad” for you or “good” for you… we just talk about healthy choices.  I also try very hard to let my kids follow their hunger cues….  But there are things that are far more important than this….  They are watching and listening.  They see me look at myself in the mirror, they watch me step on the scale…. they listen to me talk to my friends… and as my husband says

“little cabbages have big ears…”

In just a few years time my influence on my daughters when it comes to body image will no longer be as substantial as their friends or the media so I have some work to do and I think it is of the utmost importance that they learn from a woman who feels good about her body and her appearance – but it’s a fine line too right?  I want to send the message loud and clear to them that what they look like is  just about the  smallest  part of being a WHOLE good person.

They are listening mamas… but not to the lip service you pay them when you are making their lunches or choosing a snack…  They watch you get ready for a date with their Dad, they see you turn and turn in front of the mirror and then frown, they hear you say the “F” word to your friends (FAT)….

If I succeed at one thing in my life – giving my girls a healthy attitude about their bodies would make me so proud… Listen to yourself today, watch yourself today… Could you do things differently?

body image scale

Having become a “professional” weightloss guru for nearly 30 years has created a ton of obsessions, which include, but are not limited to; body, exercise, food, scale, size…..  All of these things have taken up far too much space in my head and far too much time.  What I have discovered through this process is the scale obsession is a losing battle – there are far too many factors that contribute to the number on the scale and NONE of those factors really have anything to do with my health or self-worth.

I was the type of gal that when I was on a real weight-loss binge (this would mean being on some kind of program which I would closely monitor every single minute of every single day) I would weigh myself ALOT.  And by ALOT I mean several times per day… First thing in the morning without clothes, first thing after the morning poop, after workouts, after meals, before bed…. sometimes even after a middle of the night pee…  What that number would say on the scale would directly affect my attitude about myself for the next few hours before the next weigh in took place…. and so on and so forth.

On this protocol we actually encourage people to weigh themselves very little….  What if getting “healthy” wasn’t about that number on the scale? What if it was about the way your clothes fit, or how much energy you had, or how you felt when you looked in the mirror? Ever had a day where you felt pretty awesome about yourself and then you step on that fucking scale?  If it directly affects how you feel about yourself and your body – stop. stepping. on the fucking scale!!

What I am about to show you takes just about every nerve of my body.  There are pictures below that show quite a bit of my skin… and it’s the skin that I am the most ashamed of.  It’s the skin that I criticize and hate.  It’s the fat I jiggle in disgust in front of the mirror…  but show it I must because it’s time to be free of this ridiculous demon that has nothing to do with who I am! That skin and fat doesn’t define my character.  It doesn’t show you how deeply I love and trust my friends.  It doesn’t let you know that I am a great mom and a wonderful wife….  All that skin tells you about me are some maybe’s;  maybe I  had too many cookies, maybe I had a couple of babies, maybe I’ve had a rough few years, maybe I have a little self-esteem problem…

I also want to show the pictures for two more reasons.  First, I want you to see that our claims that this program turns on your fat burning machines is in fact true!  Second, if I was really only monitoring my weight loss I would be disappointed – based on my results in the past.  During my other protocols when I was at this point I would be down close to 20 pounds.  This time, I am down 10 pounds…. the catch? I have lost 15 inches! So…. here are the pictures…

goodbye picturesCan you imagine what my “before” pictures looked like before I released 50 lbs…. too bad it’s so hard to track down a “before” picture as most of them were deleted.

I have heard people describe using this protocol as the “easy way out”… again, nothing about this has been easy!  This is the difference – I don’t want to obsess about my body, my size, how much/how little I exercise – I don’t want to write down every single morsel of food I eat anymore, I don’t want to feel guilty for eating a cookie, I don’t want to eat when I’m sad, I want to eat and exercise FUNCTIONALLY and for me – this was the only way I was EVER going to get there…. 30 years trying the other way is pretty good evidence that it wasn’t working for me 😉

Want to do what I did?  Just clicky here and find out how!