I’d love to keep procrastinating from writing these words. I don’t want to talk about what I need to write. No one really wants to talk about any of it, but that’s why we need to.
What the world needs now more than ever is people standing up and speaking their truth. Being vulnerable. Telling their stories. Including the dark, deep, shameful, and painful ones.
Because on the other side of that steep mountain of vulnerability and facing our fears, lies peace and unity with humanity. By telling our stories, exposing our raw true selves, we uncover the human connection that exists between us all, but is often covered or distorted by our false perceptions of ourselves and others.
Social media is a constant playlist of the world’s “highlight reels,” and it seems that we’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that our lives must always look Instagram-ready. I found myself heavily under that influence more than ever as I began establishing my career as a wellness advocate.
“No one will take me seriously or want to work with me if I don’t look perfectly healthy and happy,” I quickly convinced myself. But the harder I laid down this strict requirement on myself, the further I fell from it.
My transition from engineer to wellness entrepreneur was awkward and ugly and quickly brought my self-defeating habits to the forefront, no longer able to hide them with the distractions of my former chaotic and schedule-ruled lifestyle. Once my speed race routine as a full-time corporate engineer came to a screeching halt, I was left alone in sudden silence. Starting my new business suddenly became a daunting task of unfamiliarity. “Who-do-you-think-you-are” syndrome plagued my mind, sometimes paralyzing my ability to think clearly and move forward in any direction… other than to my kitchen.
The increasing occurrence of anxiety-ridden rants through my cupboards forced me to come to terms with the fact that my self-perception has been distorted through body image and eating disorders for most of my life. Somehow conditioned to believe my value was based on my physical appearance and fitness, I’ve carried along with me a hidden fear of food and judgement from others. Oh, and now I’m trying to become a wellness teacher and coach. A little ironic, isn’t it?
Outside, I may appear to be one of the most positive people you may ever meet, and truly passionate about overall wellness, healthy and organic foods, stress-relief and meditation, etc.
Inside, I have been both my own slave driver enforcing strict eating and exercising routines and the bold slave that retaliates by secretly binge eating as soon as anxiety reaches its frequent tipping point and the opportunity for privacy presents itself.
The thoughts and punishments that occur inside my head would shock those who have heard or been inspired by the kind words I express to others. And trust me, the entire packages of tortilla chips, hummus, or “dairy-free” ice cream that I’ve polished off in one sitting would shock you, too.
The battle within me grew worse each day, screaming to me louder and louder to speak up and share its truth. I’ve just recently, and reluctantly, begun to accept that my life mission is not to be a picture-perfect wellness model. It is to expose my authentic self and shine a light for others towards unconditionally loving, accepting, and expressing themselves.
Social media continues to project those “highlight reels,” but more people are stepping forward to post their raw truth, and the feedback from it is overwhelmingly receptive. For all the hate and anger that swirls through media daily, it’s astounding to see the powerful healing energy that penetrates and transforms the negativity with these heartfelt and honest posts.
One particular post gave me the final boost of hope I needed to speak up. A beautifully fierce picture of my friend and fellow fitness advocate, Anne Schaffer (founder of Fitness Classes with Anne Schaffer), appeared at the top of my news feed, including a confession of her struggles with weight, body image, and disordered eating. Her post was a call to speak up and love your truth, and it filled my heart with compassion and so, so much relief.
“Oh yeah, I’m not the only one! But this girl is too beautiful to feel bad about herself, I had no idea she has been battling demons like I have,” I thought to myself.
And this made me realize my own silliness, as now many of you readers are probably thinking the same thing. Would you have thought that I secretly struggle with self-love?
None of us are alone. We’re all truly in this together. But we won’t know that we’re suffering the same struggles until we begin talking about it. So I encourage you to step up and speak your truth, too.
Whatever it may be that’s holding you back from loving yourself unconditionally and fearlessly living your truth, let it out. Release it to the world to be healed and transformed into love and acceptance. That is certainly what our world needs most now more than ever, so what have you got to lose? You only have freedom to gain from releasing your chains!
Does any of this sound familiar to your own life story? Please feel free to contact me, Anne, or share your truth in the comments!
You ARE perfect, you ARE enough, and you ARE worthy!