By Michele Zehr
Wow what a tough week this has been for me regarding this journey. Other amazing events have happened in my life this week as well, which gave me a huge injection of overwhelming gratitude for this amazing life of mine, but out of fear of vulnerability, people just don’t share the tough stuff, and that’s what this blog is all about so here goes. I’d say one of the most powerful self-limiting habits I’ve danced with my whole life is all or nothing thinking also known as black and white thinking. This kind of thinking has a partner called perfectionism, of which I say I am a recovering perfectionist (seriously…I’ve lightened up A LOT over the years with this one). These are the tracks that have plagued me most of my life, “It either has to be perfect or it’s worthless.” “You give yourself just a little slack and then you’ll ruin it all.” “You can’t trust yourself in the grey area; you must maintain that perfect record or you’ll start sliding downhill.”
So this week I intentionally chose to confront this dragon, partially out of what felt like necessity which is related to my very low energy levels, of which I have no explanation for other than, “this is just how it is right now.” The other reason I decided to confront it is because I’ve been aware of this fear-based voice all along that has been saying, “Don’t get off this plan in any way, or you’ll quit.” I know life doesn’t work this way and it’s not realistic to live this way. What I have to do is learn how to trust myself, as I really believe that anyone who struggles with all or nothing thinking ultimately doesn’t trust themselves, so they put this unrealistic “rule” in place to hold themselves accountable at all costs. Living under this is only setting me up for failure, because here is how it always plays out….the moment I “fall off the bandwagon,” then I’ve failed so I might as well just quit. It’s like planning my failure by continuing to buy into this
I’ve struggled with feeling pretty exhausted and just not wanting to do my exercises this week. So I allowed myself to take two days off from exercising (Mo has me taking 1 day of zero activity along with 5 days of my exercises, and 1 day of some type of light movement which feels healthy to me). Wow did this extra day off trigger all sorts of interesting internal responses. Up until this week, I had been “playing it by the book,” and had pretty much not wavered from his instructions. Now it’s important I point out, Mo is not the one putting these all or nothing demands on me, it’s all my “stuff.” So hang onto this point for a moment, because there’s another part of this.
Last Saturday was Valentine’s Day, and the two days I took off from exercising, I also gave myself permission to loosen the rules a bit on my nutrition, so I ate things I normally wouldn’t eat, including a wonderful dinner out on Valentine’s Day where I enjoyed a few drinks and some ice cream, all stuff I’ve pretty much cut out for now.
So the internal dialogue around all of this has been pretty intense, including a part of me that is doubting that “any of this is working,” despite the fact that it clearly is (oh the tricks our minds play on us!). The lack of energy is affecting my motivation and old old fears are rising to the surface that I’ve somehow “ruined” my progress because I had a few days where I couldn’t “do it all perfectly.” In the past, this is the point where I would have thrown in the towel and allowed the voices inside to bully me by saying, “See, we told you you’d fail….we told you this was just another novelty idea and that you really can’t do this.”
The one thing I know for sure, which I eluded to in a previous post, is that the only guarantee that I’ll never create change in my life is to continue responding the way I always have, and guess what…..I’m choosing differently this time come hell or high water.
This is the part where I am digging way way down and finding that gritty stuff that makes me “me,”—you could say I’m calling upon my inner Warrior Woman—and I’m refusing to allow the barrage of negative disempowering comments to put me in a state of despair and paralysis. This is why I call this a spiritual journey because I couldn’t have done this in the past because I was not connected to my “core” like I am now.
This is NOT easy by any means. Even today, I was on my exercise bike and doing my other exercises and had the thought, “This is never going to work.” Where does this stuff come from? Well, for those of you familiar with Carl Jung’s work, he would call it my Shadow Side. These are old messages from deep deep wounding that occurred during a completely different part of my life, but these younger “parts” of me have been triggered and are speaking up out of fear. Here’s the important thing to note….these parts of me aren’t trying to hurt me, they actually believe they are protecting me from something they perceive as a threat. They don’t know that I’m a grown adult, totally capable of taking care of myself, so there comes another moment of choice here. I can respond to this entire situation with more negativity and get down on myself with more disempowering thoughts (my old way), or I can approach all of this with compassion and love (my new way).
Here’s how I’m getting through this. I am simply accepting that for this moment (which does not define any future moment), I don’t feel 100%. I am accepting that for this moment, I knowingly made some choices that may not have supported my evolution through one lens, but through a totally different lens I have to say, “But wait….I NEED to grapple with this or it will always haunt me,” so perhaps it does support my evolution perfectly.
And this brings me to one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned in my life. Only in extreme situations is anything really all or nothing/black or white. Almost everything in life is a both/and, and this week is a perfect example of this. I both did not make choices that would be considered the “best” for my evolution AND I made choices that allowed me to confront some of the most powerful “stuff” that has historically held me back. This journey isn’t about just getting into shape…it’s much much more than that, because we literally have to be willing to change the way we approach difficult situations if we ever expect to get past our road blocks.
So there you have it. I imagine I’ll be wrestling with this dragon quite a bit, but I also know a day will come when we make friends and it’s not nearly as difficult. That could be a year from now who knows, but like the quote at the beginning of this blog says, if I quit now, “A year from now, I will wish I had started today.”
P.S. If you decide to sign up with Mo because of this blog, please mention you heard about him because of Michele’s Blog. Mo offers every customer a free session for each referral, so I’d appreciate it greatly. Thank you.