Monday 21st September
I really didn’t intend to leave it a week to blog but the days seem to have really flown by. On more than one occasion I would think about things I wanted to blog about and jot them down on a piece of paper. It’s been busy which is fantastic especially when it is all things that I love to do but it made me even more aware of the importance of staying in the present moment. When life presents us with wonderful opportunities it can get easy to become wrapped up in them and lose touch with now.
I have lots of news and one of the exciting developments is that I will be co-authoring 20 Beautiful Women Volume 3 http://20beautifulwomen.com/
This is such an amazing opportunity and when I have said over and over that what I want is to reach a wider audience with my story so that other people can see what is possible and how they have a power inside of them to turn any situation around- I couldn’t ask for a better platform and to be working with people who feel the same way is fantastic.
This came about the same day that I booked my flights to Philadelphia and as I prepared myself and the Hannah Lilly Believer’s group for the Half Marathon in Dublin on Saturday and to be honest I’m still not really sure if it has all sunk in.
When I think of the different place I was in this time last year only 2 weeks out from competition I was completely consumed with thoughts of calories and losing body fat- my stress levels were so high and I cried thinking about how my body would never be lean enough to step on stage. At this time I was able to wear my nine year old daughter’s clothes but to me in my mind I was “too fat”. It was when I look back as if I was possessed ,my eating disorder had gained complete control an gained strength each day fed by my low self esteem and lack of belief that I was good enough as I was.
Diet and exercise were my subconscious way of distracting myself from anxiety and a way of punishing myself. Something that over this amazing year of learning I’ve realized so many of us do in our own ways and that the key to happiness isn’t in money, careers, and relationships but in a belief, a love and a respect for ourselves.
We all have the voice in our minds that questions what we do, it plants seeds of doubt, it makes us compare ourselves to others, it makes us judge others and it causes us to often treat ourselves worse than we would any enemy. This voice feeds on negativity and it was my experiment and the rules that triggered positivity had the very beneficial side effect of silencing it (most of the time!)
It can make people very uncomfortable when we say “you need to love yourself” because it conjures up the image of someone that is full of themselves, that thinks they are better than others. It’s not that at all it’s about being kind to you. Knowing that perfection doesn’t exist and forgiving yourself for things that you feel guilty about. I believe that when we begin to work on the relationship we have with ourselves all the other problems we have become much easier to solve and often simply disappear.
This year I became my friend and it’s been phenomenal. Now I no longer have an expectation of others to make me happy, I’m not affected by the negative actions of others because I know that I can treat myself well even if they wouldn’t. This year I realized that all the nurture, approval and care I subconsciously craved was there inside me all along.
This doesn’t mean that other people and events can’t make me happy of course they can and now I think they bring me even more happiness. When things don’t go to plan I don’t panic because I’m not going to beat myself up anymore. The same goes for rejection- it’s a feeling, a thought and we can choose to feel however we want about it.
Do I take it as a personal insult and a reflection of the person I am? No, not anymore. Same as I don’t base my self-worth on weighing scales, body fat, race times, race distances, exam results or my bank balance.
Now the voice creeps back in from time to time especially if I am tired and also I noticed a pattern that when things are moving forward like the book, getting to America I woke a few mornings with anxiety as trying to sabotage me it whispered…”really are you really good enough to be in this book? Are you really able to help people…can you really make a difference?” but that’s old habits and when it happens I go back to remembering that I don’t need to be perfect to do what I want to do and I don’t need to wait till I’m perfect to be happy.
On Saturday I ran the Dublin Half Marathon with a fantastic group of runners that I trained over the summer. They had gone from complete beginners and proved to themselves how much they are capable of. Long distances are a place where that voice gets an opportunity to come out in everyone’s minds, willing them to stop, telling them they can’t and each runner has to find the strength at some stage to say “I can, I can”.
It was also another lesson in how even when things seem to be "wrong" they are "right". Myself and another runner ended up getting separated from the group something that disappointed and upset her at the time but the fact that it happened meant we ended up meeting with some other lone runners and that made their experience easier. And a big smile from me when 500m from the finish line I asked a stranger if she wanted to jog beside me only for her to tell me that she loved my blog!
After the race you will hear so many people talking about how it’s all in the mind and it’s true but not just for running.
Every experience and how we react to it comes from our minds and the more things we can do to strengthen the voice that says "I am perfect right now as I am and doing the best I can" the better each experience will be.
The way you live and the way you feel about your life is determined by the way you feel, and the way you feel about you determines how amazing it can be.
This year I discovered the true power and potential of this and that is what I have to share because it is available to us all.