We are all human. We have feelings, fears, emotions, questions, curiosities, doubts, loves, hates, and other human qualities. We are all different. Some of us think differently than others and we often make choices and decisions based on the way that we think. The decisions in our lives are based on our own interpretations and assumptions, and rarely do we step outside of the box and make a decision that is not habitual. Many of us are pretty predictable. Think about the last big, or life-changing, decision that you made. Why did you decide on option A instead of option B or other options available? Was it because of that ‘gut feeling’ that many people describe? Was it based on logic or emotion? Was it in accordance with your personality and perhaps your lifestyle, or was it out of character? Did fear hold you back? Or did you take a risk?
During my weight loss journey, I literally had to teach myself to think differently. I was my own coach, my own motivator, but at times, I was my own hater too. I had to start believing in myself, which was actually pretty hard. I have always struggled with mild anxiety. Thinking back to when I was a child, I remember always being a bit of a scaredy cat. My sister was the wild one, the one who took risks and who was always creating her own adventures, while I was the one who played it safe. When I was at college, I remember waking up one day and thinking to myself, “Oh my god, I am the only person holding me back.” This was a huge realisation for me. Suddenly, my life flashed before my eyes and I realised that I wanted to make it count. I didn’t want to miss out on anything, and I didn’t want to have any regrets. I wanted to be the best possible version of myself.
For my whole adolescent life, I had cared so much about what other people thought of me and not enough about what I thought of myself. I tried to conform to what I thought other people wanted, and somewhere along the way, I lost my own sense of happiness. Happiness is like a light inside your soul and after years of bullying and self-esteem issues, I completely lost my light. It took a bit of nurturing and self-healing in my college years, but I managed to get a bit of it back. However, when you have been bullied, as some of you may know, the wound never truly heals. It’s like having a scar. Therapists are not always effective. They get you to talk about your problems and try to make sense of them, but the only person who can truly help yourself is you. You need to change the way you think. Stop thinking “I can’t” and start thinking “I can”. Stop telling yourself that you are a failure and start telling yourself that you will be successful, no matter what it takes. Stop looking at photos of other people and wishing you were like them. Start looking in the mirror and telling yourself what you are proud of. I know it sounds lame, but seriously, try it. Or if you feel awkward doing it in the mirror then write yourself a letter. You will start to understand yourself a bit better.
If you are already free, then I commend you. You have achieved what many people spend their entire lives trying to achieve. If you are not yet free and you are living in fear or anxiety or doubt, then please try changing the way you think. Try something new. Be bold. Stop caring about what other people think. Get outside of your comfort zone. Stretch yourself. Five things I did that freed myself: (1) Signed up for the Tough Mudder, (2) Moved to a new city where I knew nobody, (3) Started long distance running, (4) Made a motivation board, (5) Realised that higher risk meant potentially a higher pay-off. Did people always tell you to “be sensible” and “be careful”? Well, forget what you were told. A careful life is a boring life. Change the way you think, free yourself, love yourself, and live a life that you feel proud of.