When I was a little girl one of the biggest fears I had was the fear that I would end up being normal. I was scared I would blend in and I would be nothing special or significant. So I became an over achiever and eventually a perfectionist.
Fast-forward to my twenties and this fear encompassed my life only now the method of choice to stand out was to be the thinnest. I did everything and anything I could possibly do to be the thinnest person at any given time and in any given area. If and only if I was the thinnest person in the elevator, the movie theater, the gym, or the grocery store then I was acceptable, worthy and enough because I was not “normal” like everyone else around me.
My weight defined my self worth. I counted every single calorie that passed my lips and I worked out hour upon obsessive hour to purge any calorie I took in. I was killing my health physically and mentally. I lived in a crazy whirlwind of obsession and fear. Despite the many health benefits I knew to be true about exercise, my intense fear of gaining weight was never about health. In my obsessed mind, being a normal weight meant that I was worthless, I was a failure, I was an embarrassment, that I couldn’t be trusted in my job as a personal trainer, that I would never attract a man, no one would want to be my friend and that I would have nothing to offer the world because no one would pay attention to me in the first place.
These fears seem so crazy and irrational now but at the time they were so real and so incredibly scary. And it was this fear that kept me stuck in an endless and lonely cycle of self-hatred and misery for over a decade. Yes, my condition was the extreme, but is it really that far off from where you might be right now? You want to change and you might even know in your head that you need to change but it is just too scary.
Last week I asked you what 3 things you were scared of happening if you were to change a behavior and live in a more moderate place. As you can see from above, I had a lot more than 3. But at the core of my fear of being “normal” I was most scared that I would be forgotten and unloved.
One of the scariest things we can ever imagine is being forgotten, left out and eventually unloved. No amount of rationalization, pep talks from friends, consoling hugs from significant others or self help books can lessen this fear. (I know, I’ve tried)
So we stay stuck.
We continue to base our self worth on our weight and punish our body instead of loving it.
We continue to base our self worth on our productivity at work and never make time for family. We stay safe in your current soul sucking job because it is just too scary to take a chance on something else or we protect ourselves from getting hurt again by never opening up to anyone ever again.
We stay stuck. Desperately wanting to change our life but too scared to try.
The only way to truly move past fear is by taking action and doing the thing we know we need to do even though it scares us to death.
It’s that simple but it's definitely not that easy.
The only way I was able to get off my insane pendulum and stop my obsessive-compulsive behavior was to just stop what I was doing. Yes, I had help. I had a lot of help in fact, but I still had to take action by myself over and over again.
So my question for you this week is what action do you need to take in order to face your fears? Do you need to have a talk with your boss and tell them that you won’t be available on the weekends? Do you need to quit your job? Do you need to have your spouse take the kids out once a week so you can have some much needed “me” time? Do you need to give yourself a break from trying to do everything perfectly and embrace the beautiful mess that is reality?
Write down your action and then DO IT! Courage is not the absence of fear, it is being scared to death and still doing what you know you need to do.
I leave you with a quote from Edith Eva Eger, a holocaust Survivor. "Self love is self care. The biggest concentration camp is in our mind"