Ever since I wrote my post about the two breast surgeries I’ve had (and gotten countless messages from so many of you supporting that, thank you!), I’ve thought of being more vulnerable here. I think the world is full of the flash and veneer of everything, of perfect pictures of what we want the world to see, and while I enjoy creating that myself for my business and personal profiles, I like to not feel alone as well. And I don’t want YOU to feel alone. I know deep down inside we are all really similar, it is just hard to see that a lot of the time. While I haven’t made my personal growth journey a secret around here, I tend to highlight the really positive stuff 99% of the time. I mean, I am inherently a really positive person who looks for rainbows and light and solutions. I honestly think gratitude and appreciation is the key to life. With that said, though, I want to tell you some stuff I’ve been afraid to say, as well as the steps I’m taking to overcome them.
- I’ve been mainly a stay at home mom for the past ten years, and at times it is debilitatingly lonely. At first, it was being home with two small babies while my husband would be gone for months, and the monotony of that was mind numbing. I’d solve that with daily outings to Target, playgroup, and visits to my moms house. I’m a routine person and thrive on that, but often that routine becomes a rut, and then all of a sudden I can’t stand another minute of each day/week/year being the same. I’m also building an at home business that keeps me working alone, and often at home sitting in the same spot, day after day. I get intense feelings of boredom and lonliness that I don’t always know how to solve. Because honestly? I’m an introvert and savor alone time, until I don’t. I don’t like to be over scheduled with events and people, and I don’t like to be underscheduled and home alone too much. It’s a classic catch 22. I believe wholeheartedly in the work I’m doing and the possibility of it, but the point I’m at now is me creating it on my own. Also, it can often feel weird to tell people I’m bored or lonely. Most say they wish they had the problem, which doesn’t really help. I don’t have to say I’m blessed to choose how I spend my days, I get it, but it doesn’t make it easier sometimes. My solution to all of this is to schedule more time out of the house on a regular basis. I do go to the gym daily, which gets me talking to my friends and I love that. Now I am working on going to coffee shops and other places to get my work done instead of staying home in my leggings. I have to fight with myself daily to switch things up and to get out of my comfort zone, because it is so good for me. I mean, it’s fun to be home working in leggings 24/7, but I need the fresh perspective of getting dressed and being out more often. Pre planning and getting out moret are really the key for me here.
- I’ve noticed over the past year that I have a real issue with perfection. This shows up in many ways, but shows up the most in motherhood, in how I want to appear to my husband, and the strict ways I control my life (which I’ll get into below.) Mostly, I hold myself to a really high standard that is not attainable on a regular basis, and I feel really crappy about that. When it comes to motherhood, I look at how I want to be the “perfect” mother. The one that goes to all of the things and does it all right. Which is obviously impossible. It wasn’t until recent that I discovered I don’t have to do all the field trips, or play all the imaginary games, or cook the best dinners, because they don’t really care. They just want a mom that is happy and connects with them in a quality way. I do the same thing as a wife. Especially as one that stays at home, I’ve become the person who feels I should always take care of everyone in my home, have a super clean home, should also have a job that brings in tons of cash, and I should look sexy and pretty doing it all, while serving people food 24/7. Um what? Basically all old beliefs that I learned growing up that has nothing to do with reality and my current relationship. Turns out, the expectations I have as a wife and a mother are all self-created. There is no such thing as the perfect wife and mother, and no one is really noticing my “failures’ other than me. My solution to this has been to really talk to my husband about the way I have felt and to set boundaries about what I will and will not do/be as a mother/wife. And honestly? Most of the issues I’ve had here are all self-created, and no one in my household really expects me to be perfect.
- Piggy baking on the last one, perfectionism really comes in in how I hold myself accountable with my goals. I have huge goals that I like to commit to, and often I get carried away with making them really grand. Which is fine, but if you don’t keep track of your priorities, this can get out of hand. I’m really good at setting goals and reaching them no matter what, it is a good thing. Until it gets to be too much I want to be perfect at ALL the things I do, and if I fall short even a little bit I am a failure. For instance, say I’m training for a half marathon (I am!), and I am supposed to run 14 miles a week and only get to do 12 because of weather or illness or whatever, I feel like a failure. Or if I say I am going to eat zero snacks in the day and cave, I beat myself up. Basically I have really strict goals and guidelines for a lot of the way I live and I’m not very flexible with things getting in the way. I guess I hate going against my word and hate letting myself down or appearing flaky, but then I overdo it and have to back off a bit, or over commit myself and back out, and then I feel like a failure and that I am a flaky person. Whew! My solution here has been two-part, One, I set really low goals. For instance, I say I am going to clean my house only 5 minutes per day versus saying I’m doing a whole house clean once a week that takes hours. Five minutes is really easy to commit to. Second, I really look at my priorities and plan accordingly, Right now I am creating a course for this website that is AMAZING, so creating that and spending my time there is a priority. I’m also training for a half marathon in December, so preparing for that is a priority. My family is also always a priority. So right now, anything outside of those three things right now is pushed aside. I don’t have the time or brain power to do more than these three things work right now, and that is okay.
- I have pretty big control issues with food and eating that stems from my childhood, and I have to work pretty hard not to let it get crazy. I happen to have really good willpower, I can make myself do just about anything, and often when the world seems crazy or out of control, what I eat is an easy control thing for me. It comes down to more control over what I eat and when, and I have strict guidelines that I rarely break (I rarely ever eat after 6pm, I drink the same smoothie everyday, I can resist a lot of treats and special food, etc.) I guess I get tunnel vision sometimes, and food is really easy for me to control. I was heavier in middle school and high school, so I think once I learned that I could control what I eat, I felt better. I know when I used to count my macros and eat that way, it was easy for me because I loved the challenge of it and I loved the control of it. I saw daily, in black and white numbers, if I had succeeded that day or not. I also saw the results in my physical self, and that was gratifying. I found that eventually it had sort of taken the joy out of eating and my life and wasn’t really sustainable. My solution to all of this has been to really pay attention to how food makes me feel, and to eat more of what makes me feel good and less of what makes me feel bad. Basically, there are no rules or diets or no no’s. It’s intuitive eating, and it’s sometimes a battle where my brain tells me my body “isn’t the same as when you controlled your diet more” or when I feel that need for perfection. I find that I am still learning what my body wants when it comes to food, and what the ideal balance is. I do find that I think about food a lot less when I am active, and I really like that. It’s really freeing and shuts down the noise in my brain, which likes to tell me I’m not good enough or that I could do it better if I controlled things.
- I think the likely place for this to go after my control issues with what I eat, is to talk about how I’m afraid sometimes that my body isn’t what it was when I was really public about it while doing the Bikini Body Guide a couple of years ago. Which is so stupid! The real problem with chronicling a fitness program with pictures for over a year is that is makes you hyper critical of your body. And logically speaking, there isn’t a real huge difference in my body then and my body now, it is all in my mind. There is no level of perfection here to attain, yet my year-long journey of basically “fitness blogging”made me hyper aware of all the nuances of my physical self, and not in a good way. I have a lot of pictures showing my “transformation”, and I loved doing it. Basically all of that brought me to where I am today, doing the things I love and feeling really, really good inside and out. But there is always that inner voice that says, “hey, you looked better then,” or “you’ve gone up a size, you should control what you are doing more.” It’s an insidious voice that I have become really good at blocking out. My solution? I do a ton of positive affirmations and mind work (see below for teh books and podcasts that really hekpe me), I try to never look at fitness accounts or my own past pictures because they are triggering, and I just practice self-love.
So that’s it! The stuff that I’m afraid to say out loud and admit to. You can see most of it is about old beliefs that I had about what a woman, wife and mother should be, and also a lot is centered on control and perfectionism. It’s all ridiculous, but it feels so good to just purge it all out. I will say, I have been working diligently on my mind and how I think and the things I say to myself and out loud and I can FEEL that inside. All of these things I spoke about are slowly getting better and I have to actively work on that. I’m sharing below the books and podcast that I listen to and read that have made a lot of difference in ym life and have really helped. I’ll include the graphic below!