Thankful Thursday: Why Not Me?

Thankful Thursdays on Food4ThoughtNYC

The alarm went off at 3am.

What the hell am I doing up at this hour?

Groggy and bleary-eyed, I rolled out of bed and turned my computer on.

Ah, this is what happens when you procrastinate, I told myself.

I’d let myself go up against a deadline and decided to wake up several hours before the workday so that I could finish my writing assignment. Having been exactly here before, I started the familiar process of beating myself up over a myriad of issues all contributing to my having to sit at my desk at 3am.

“If only you’d gotten yourself organized….”

“You always do this…”

“Everyone else has their shit together, but you can’t…”

You get the idea.

Have you ever stopped and listened to how you talk about yourself? It’s brutal.

Most of us have moments of doubt. New experiences and challenges often brings out our fears, which have a powerful hold on us whether we like it or not.

I recently went to an event hosted by Jillian Michaels where she spoke about how to lose weight, exercise, and build confidence to reach our goals. Interesting enough, although not particularly earth-shattering. Nevertheless, Michaels is a badass and a great speaker to boot, so I followed along.

What caused me to perk up and take notice was this question she asked:

Why not me?

Simple enough and one that I’d heard in some variation for over a year now. But in that moment,  it sounded so right.

I can sit here and talk until I’m blue in the face about how you need to celebrate all of the little unique foibles and idiosyncrasies that make up who you are. But I rarely do that for myself, and if I do, I usually dismiss it as being too selfish.

That’s all fear. That I know through and through. How do I break that fear cycle?

Michaels spoke about fear and tore apart the notion that the goal is to be fearless in all of our endeavors. Fear is a normal human response to situations that cause stress. We’re fighting a losing battle if we think that we can just ignore fear and “fake it ’till we make it,” without putting in the work to change our inner dialogue from one of discord to one of compassion.

Fear sneaks up on you. It knows when your guard is down and it keeps you immobilized, especially at times when you really need to move.

At 3am on a Monday morning, I felt that fear creep in as I typed away, until I asked myself:

Why not me?

And I kid you not, the fear slowly faded. My energy levels kicked up. My focus cleared and I felt a renewed sense of purpose.

Years have gone by with me wringing my hands, worrying myself to death over not accomplishing the course that I thought my life would take by the time I hit 30. I built up expectations of what my life should look like and when things didn’t go according to that plan, I very meticulously broke myself down until all I had left was fear and self-doubt.

The truth I’ve come to accept is that there is no “plan”, no one-size-fits-all approach to life that applies to everyone. We’ve created a status quo to follow, and kill ourselves to fit that mold. Creativity is stifled in favor of a life that we don’t want to live, and yet we don’t stop to consider what we actually want because we’re so afraid of going off that beaten track.

Each of us has a gift to contribute to this world that you alone can bring. There are realities that ground us, but by ignoring your inner voice, or worse, giving it a regular smackdown so that you can continue living unhappily, is unacceptable.

I’ve asked myself this question almost daily and each time I find myself pushing a little bit further past the walls I’d built so long ago to get closer to my passion and truth. I’m working harder than ever to accomplish goals and more importantly, I’m taking better care of how I talk about myself.

Instead of beating myself down, I’m choosing to lift myself up, to be grateful and forgiving, to be curious and determined, to be accepting of my fears but balanced in my approach. Some days are harder then others, but I’m investing the time to improve my relationship with myself and that’s worth the effort.

Ask yourself this question each time you experience fear: Why not me?

Thankful Thursday: Why not me?

How do you talk about yourself?

Why do you think we follow a status quo?

What was your answer when you asked, ‘why not me’?

What are you grateful for?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below, or on FB and Twitter.

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂

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Forgive Yourself Before Anyone Else Today

To Be BeautifulAs important as it is to let go of conflict with others by forgiving them, it’s just as important for you to let go of the negative self-talk and forgive yourself in the process.

Sometimes the reasons we argue stem from some deep seeded inner conflict that causes us to lash out. We hold onto resentment and anger out of fear.

Exercising forgiveness goes hand in hand with gratitude. Start with yourself.

Take a moment to consider how you would feel if you took a step back from whatever was causing you pain today and told yourself,

Hey, it’s okay. You did your best. It’s okay that this happened. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t loved. This doesn’t mean that you are alone. This doesn’t mean that things can’t change for the better. Let it go.

Go ahead and try it out this second if you can. Write it down and repeat it to yourself. Say it out loud. Or close your eyes and meditate.

It might feel kind of strange at first, but over time you’ll find this exercise to be vital and life-affirming. There’s no harm in trying.

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂

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Thankful Thursday: Anger Isn’t Always Bad

Thankful Thursdays on Food4ThoughtNYC

“Criticism always seems to add inspiration to your pursuit of success. Strip away the anger and bias. And use the rest as fuel.”
-Dan Waldschmidt

 

 

 

I’m grateful for the anger this week. That statement might leave some of you confused.

How can she be happy that she was angry?  Isn’t anger bad?

You’re not wrong. Anger isn’t an emotion anyone should go for especially if your true intention is to live in harmony with yourself and the world around you.

But it’d be false to say that feeling anger doesn’t creep up from time to time. Life doesn’t always work out the way we want it to and our response to stressful situations really breaks down to biology: we go into survival mode, our bodies react by producing more cortisol, and our adrenaline picks up. In short, we become physically tense and that inevitably bleeds into our mental and emotional state. Anger is a natural byproduct of stress.

So why am I grateful for being angry this week?

There are times when we need a jolt to break us out of a monotony. Sometimes it’s a check in the ‘win’ column, with a promotion or a chance meeting with a new friend or partner that you truly click with. Other times it’s changing old habits and finding new hobbies or exploring interests so that you feel energized and motivated to meet challenges with optimism.

Then there are those times that you really just need a kick in the pants. Where the cycle you find your life in is so destructive and soul-crushing that you’re numb day in and day out.

I’ve been there for longer than I care to say, and for the first time in a very long time, I felt real anger. I allowed that emotion, all white-hot and fiery, to consume me for a little while this week as I metaphorically shook my fist at the world (really, I just turned my phone off and avoided people for a few days while I mentally cursed the universe).

Then the tide shifted and I found energy underneath all of that frustration. The intensity of my anger has dissipated to a simmer, but what I feel more than anything is a fierce need to change my circumstances. My drive has doubled and I’m attacking each day as an opportunity.

I’m not saying that anger is the answer. At its core, anger does more to limit us if you hold onto the grudge for too long. It’s also self-indulgent. We’re so focused on being pissed off at what’s going on within our heads, that we neglect to see the upsides happening all around us, all the time.

What’s important to realize is that we need to allow ourselves to experience what we’re going through from top to bottom. Do not dismiss any part of that because you think you should be more forgiving or that you should be positive always. Those are lofty goals and at the end of the day, we’re all human. Admit to yourself that you’re angry, and then ask yourself, why?

Being self-aware and honest opens so many doors down the road. I was honestly angry for so many reasons this week, but the great thing is that I was able to apply that constructively to resolve some of the conflicts I mentioned last week, in a way that was positive. How could I not be grateful for that?

Thankful Thursday Food4ThoughtNYC  4/10/14

How do you experience anger?

Does anger help you or harm you?

What are you thankful for this week?

Please feel free to share in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂
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