An article, written by Sarah Abell, in this months ‘Psychologies’ magazine started my mind whirring today.
I was sat in the car reading it whilst Mr WLB was having his training session. I was sat in the car not really looking forward to my training session…what I really wanted was to stay at home in my pyjamas and eat chips!
‘Take off your armour’ was the title. I was intrigued. As someone who is and has always been fairly open and honest, I sometimes feel a little wary of those people who seem guarded…wondering what exactly it is that they are trying to hide. Much as my mind goes into overdrive when people look at me – imagining the worst – I tend to imagine the worst about these guarded individuals too.
For me, my openness is authentic. If I am honest and genuine then there is nothing to hide…nobody will be able to trip me up, I don’t have to worry about some great secret being revealed. I am not ashamed of my life…and therefore have no issue in sharing it. I am not ashamed of me either.
I like to think that my honesty helps me to connect with people. I am what you see…or read!
One statement in particular stood out for me. It related to authenticity and what it means to be authentic. ‘Authenticity requires vulnerability – and always the type of vulnerability that at times may feel deeply uncomfortable.’ I found this struck a chord with me.
Throughout this blog I talk about some pretty dark stuff…things that you would not generally talk about with people. The severity of my binge eating, the fact that Mr WLB had to help me wash and use the bathroom, the worries I have about my future having put a hold on a career that contributed to my severe morbid obesity. I have confessed my original weight. I have acknowledged that my habits led to health problems. I have even shared details of my gynaecological checks!
For me, this is just pure honesty. I may well be choosing to remain anonymous for now…but this won’t always be the case. One day I will share with you those ‘before’ photos, and the videos I have of me struggling with my exercise.
But for now, I am trying to be as authentic as possible. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to feel emotional. It’s okay to talk about the taboo…because the more it’s talked about, the less taboo it is!
Mr WLB has actually written a book. It’s all about his struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. He hated talking about this with people. He once swore me to secrecy – I couldn’t tell my family or friends, nor his, about the severity of his issue. However, once he started talking to people about it he realised that he was not alone. So bollocks to being secretive and ashamed about these sorts of issues…share it, get it out there…you are NOT alone.
The article talks about protection. A hedgehog is mentioned…on a cold day a hedgehog has a choice – seek out other hedgehogs and snuggle up…with a risk of getting ‘spiked’…or stay out in the cold, safe, but alone. An interesting analogy I thought. Take a risk and find comfort amongst others…
A fellow blogger, Anne Cooper, discusses how authenticity can be scary because it exposes you…that vulnerability thing again. The worry about being judged which leads to fear and anxiety. Her experience shows that the opposite is often true. The more that she is ‘her’, the more positively people respond. I have to say that this is true – for the most part – about me…albeit I was called ugly, evil, and disgusting the other day…but that’s for another time!
So what can you do if you are the type of person that hates to share. You might not want to become ‘authentic’ or to connect with people…in which case, stop reading and come back tomorrow!
There are things that you can do. Like a blog. Perhaps that would be a step too far though! Honesty is the key. The article offered suggestions, of which I will paraphrase…
Keep a journal. Daily. Ask yourself the following questions (and answer them!)…
What emotions did I feel today and why?
What was the best thing I did today and what was the worst?
The one thing I don’t want anyone to know about my day is…(fill in the blank)
Choose wisely. We all know some dickheads…but we all know some people who we feel more comfortable with. Perhaps someone with the emotional intelligence I discussed in my recent blog post. Seek one of these people out and have a conversation that goes one step deeper than you normally would…share a little bit more of yourself and your feelings with them. And then next time, go a step further…see how it feels.
Express your feelings. Mention your emotions. ‘When X happened, I felt Y and Z’.
Courage takes practice. It’s like exercising for the first time…it may feel uncomfortable but it will get easier the more you do it. Be bold and persevere.
Encourage others to be authentic. Ask them questions – about who they are and how they feel. And listen – truly listen. Give them time to talk. Don’t judge. Be supportive. They are likely to do the same for you.
Be kind. To yourself and others. Be gentle.
Before I finish up, the author stated, ‘The reason I didn’t have the dept of relationships that I longed for was because I hadn’t been showing up in an authentic way.’
This made me reflect on my old work situation. I wasn’t open, honest, and genuine at work. I hid my true self. I didn’t stand up for what I believed in…because I was too scared! I was worried about being able to pay my mortgage, or not being liked, or not being good enough. So maybe I contributed to my own downfall.
The article finishes with the statement, ‘When we show up as our real selves, we offer the people around us the real opportunity to be themselves too – and that is a very worthwhile gift.’
Try it – and let me know how you get on!
So today. Today was a good day. It didn’t start that way as I woke up grouchy and tired and didn’t want to go to the gym. I wanted to sit at home and eat chips! But I grabbed a shower and headed to the gym. I was a great session – we did some ‘Gladiator’ style training and it was such good fun! Then we headed to the horses, and then to the shops. We had some bright sunshine, some snow, thunder, rain…a really weird weather day. Then I headed to see my Mum, who was at my sisters house…so I got to see my niece and nephew too. I got roped into games, tickles, hair-dressing stuff…it was good fun. And then I came home to make dinner and relax a little.
Breakfast: Two egg rolls (2 x HEB).
A good food day! No flipping bananas in the fridge this morning…so I improvised and used my HEBs for egg rolls. Lunch was good. My cheese, with roasted veggies and hummus. Although the hummus was a bit pants…I usually make it with extra light mayo and it tastes great…today I used a bit of yogurt to save a couple of syns but it didn’t taste good, so I will be back to my mayo next time! Dinner was good too. A veggie curry – tomatoes, mushrooms, courgette, peppers, onions, spinach, garlic, chilli flakes, and madras curry powder – with roasties. And my snack was lush too – choc orange Nakd bars with cherries and Greek yogurt.
Exercise: A quick warm-up followed by 60 minutes of PT.
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx