Yesterday I had a call with a coaching client who shared that she is having some challenges with her child. I offered her a few tips that I had learned from our family therapist. Our family therapist was the psychologist that I saw during my battle with anxiety. Over the years we have developed a personal relationship. So close, that after I founded my Non-Profit, I asked her to help me run a few of my workshops. My client was so shocked when I told her that I refer to this therapist from time to time.
I asked my client what shocked her about this and she replied, "You just seem to have it all together." This triggered something in me as a recovering perfectionist. I felt like a fraud. I have worked really hard to be honest and open about my personal messy story. Yet, I am aware that some people still view my positive outlook, and mission to choose love over fear, as me 'having it all together'.
I did a lot of self reflection on this. Therefore, I felt called to share yet another vulnerable truth about who I really am - a flawed human like everyone else. So here it is, the REALNESS of me:
People assume that being confident is something that comes easy for me. Actually, I have to work on this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I hold myself back from doing things because I feel very judged (mostly by my own wounded self-critic). I hear the insecure whispers in my ear before I do almost ANYTHING! I have fought very hard to push myself out of my comfort zone and not listen to those voices, but it may be helpful for you to know where they stem from: Back in high school I was in gym class waiting in line for the next activity. An upperclassmen came running up to me upset about what she overheard someone saying in the locker room about me. She blurted out the words "I don't know why anyone thinks Michelle is pretty. I think she is fat. I bet she weighs like 130 pounds!" These words filled my whole being and attached themselves to my soul. I felt tremendous shame as that number lingered in the air all around me. My friends all sat there in silence not knowing what to say. Humiliated, I shrugged it off and turned back around in line. But I played her words over and over in my head all day long - and for the next 15 years. Honestly, they still bubble up in me today.
I was a thin athlete who never even thought about my weight. Actually, up until that moment I had never even weighed myself on a scale before. I went home that day and jumped on. 126. Oh God, I thought, I am close to what she said! From that point on I was obsessed with the scale and was going to be sure that I was no where near 130 pounds (which would obviously make me ugly and unaccepted.) Keep in mind that I am 5'8" with real curves ~ a large full chest, and hips. 130 pounds is actually underweight. To stay well below that number, I began starving myself, over exercising, and developing an inner critic who judged my body and turned me into a number, not a person. I became so self conscious. Who else was looking at me and calling me fat?
Most people didn't know that I was struggling. I was voted captain of my team, crowned Homecoming Queen, was Student Council Officer, and Most Congenial in our class. I had to over achieve in other areas to make up for where I "lacked." When I went to college and gained weight I felt completely unlovable and like a big failure. I tried to be perfect in other ways to distract people from my imperfect body. This is where the seeds of anxiety were planted. My emotional intelligence was telling me that I was repeating hurtful, negative and untrue words about myself, yet I was living as they were my truth. This discord caused so much pain and stress. It was a long road and fight to show up fully in my life and learn to love who I really am. It was a tremendous journey to accept how I was naturally born to look like and stop trying to fit in where I didn't belong. It was learning how to be authentic. It is something I commit to work on for myself EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
I encourage you to take the time to self reflect on your own truth. Are you living your life out loud, honestly and openly...or do you live in fear of judgement? Do you only want people to see the parts that you think are appropriate and worthy of praise? I have found that what makes me a good Mentor and Healer is the fact that I have experienced so much contrast and diversity in my life. I am an expert in my own experiences, and I wouldn't change that for the world. This is my gift, this is how I help people.
If you open your mind and heart to your own messy story, I believe that you will find the same thing that I did - your true self. Once you begin to seek a higher power that lives inside of you, as opposed to outside approval, the fear of other people's opinions will began to fade. You will start to embrace what you once viewed as a weakness and see it as an opportunity to grow in strength of self awareness. This is what heals these inner wounds, and hushes those loud Inner Mean Girl voices. This is what lights your Inner Spark! When you tap into this wisdom, you allow love in the fullness that you were born receive and divinely deserve.
Today, take a moment to look into a mirror. Gaze deep into your own eyes. Then say to yourself what Louise Hay taught me, "I love you, I deeply and completely love and accept you just as you are." This is the invitation for an intimate relationship with the beautiful, loving spirit that lives with in you. THIS IS YOUR TRUTH!
With Visions of Love,
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!