Somewhere along this journey of life there comes a point where things change a little. (At least it did for me.)
I've watched my girls as they grow. I've watched them exhibit confidence (sometimes even cockiness). You know how some parents teach their kids to be modest in their self confidence? I have taken a different route. Instead, I let them portray their extra confidence now...while they have lots to spare! You see, growing up is hard. Add to that, being a girl!
(My oldest...who happened to fracture her arm this week.)
I have watched my oldest as she has grown. As a child, she had no shame. She wasn't shy of herself around us. She was sure of who she was. As her parent, I would constantly build her self-esteem. You see, I knew not too far into the future she would need all the built up confidence she could get.
I thought of it like a bank. No, she didn't necessarily need me telling her how beautiful she was, how smart she was, how kind she was....she was already pretty sure of herself. However, I knew there would be a day when the tide switched. I knew there would be a time when she would need to start withdrawing those compliments, those self-esteem boosts, because the world would start wearing on her. I just prayed I was giving her enough of a "savings account" to stay ahead of what was to come.
Slowly, I've watched my almost 8 year old become more aware of her appearance. I've watched her be more hesitant in what she wears, I've heard her make comments about herself that break my heart. With each moment that happens, I try to cushion her with 100 others where she can feel good about herself.
Because really, isn't that what we all are after? Confidence in ourselves!
(My youngest, finding the confidence to FINALLY stand on his own.)
I know there was a point where I was very self-confident. However, over the years the confidence has not always been where I want it for my children when they are my age. Sure, some say having extra weight weighs down a persons confidence. Some say by losing weight, you can gain confidence again. But shouldn't confidence be about more than weight....more than what we look like?
What I'm trying to get at is I'm still Alisha. I was Alisha when I weighed 233 pounds. I am Alisha now at 175 pounds. Why is it I sold myself short at 233 pounds? Why is it that I told myself I wasn't "enough" when in fact, I'm still me?
I found myself doing it again this last week....'oh, when I lose 30 more pounds...then, THEN I will be confident and be who I want to be.'
WHAT A CROCK!
Seriously. Confidence and self-assurance is something you can develop whether you weigh 50 pounds or 350 pounds or 1050 pounds. Weight does not define us. It is not who we are. I am me. You are you. What surrounds us physically does not define us. The great news is YOU can define yourself.
(My middle child, who is definitely not afraid to be who she knows she is...)
Sure, some might look for excuses as to why they aren't happy. Some might blame their unhappiness on weight, others might use an excuse of a bad relationship or a failed marriage. Maybe you are saying you aren't happy because you don't have a good job, or you don't have many friends. Maybe you are like me...maybe you had a traumatic experience happen that made you shut down for many years. Maybe you have let something like being sexually assaulted affect you. What those are, are excuses. Ultimately, happiness lies within each of us.
Our happiness is OUR OWN PERSONAL decision!
Now that's not to say that I don't feel better about myself now that I'm over 50 pounds lighter. Sure, that's true. I feel better when I move. I feel better when I exercise. PHYSICALLY I feel better.
Emotionally, I'm still working it all out. Because like I said before...I'm still me. I still see myself as the 233 pound girl who struggles with reaching out to friend people. I still see myself as the 233 pound girl who is self-conscious. No amount of weight can change what is happening emotionally....that's a whole other journey that I'm trying to take. And no matter where you are on your own journey in this life...the emotional journey is one I strongly recommend. Only you can help yourself. Only you can find happiness for yourself. Only you can hold yourself to a higher way of living. Only you can decide it's time to start respecting YOU for who you are TODAY!
So today, that is what I'm focusing on. Respecting myself for who I am. I am happy, and it is not because I'm 50+ pounds lighter...it's because I have a deep love for myself. I respect myself and the trials I have been through. I have worked hard to move past many emotional issues that could have been enough to stop anyone. You are only as strong as what you choose to overcome. I choose to be stronger than my past! Everyone has a past. Everyone has a reason to quit. Everyone has a reason to be down, or sad. Trust me, I've spent too many years focusing on what happened to me when I was raped. I spent so much time focusing on my hatred for the men that caused me so much hurt and anger. I spent so much time hating and so much time in anger that it was only natural to hate myself.
Here's the good news...you can move past whatever is holding you back. It's not easy. Oh, it's so not easy! Especially if the wounds are deep, and unhealed. But it can be done. I know this because I've worked so hard to overcome my own past. I realized something very important....it wasn't the men who raped me that were causing me pain. Sure, in the moment...it was all them! In the moment, I had no control. I am by NO MEANS taking any responsibility for the act. What I am taking responsibility for is how I reacted after. I spent far too many years of my life miserable because of what happened to me. I was allowing myself to be in a negative place because of what was done to me.
I was allowing it.
So I chose to change. I chose to decide I was more important that my past. It doesn't matter what your past is, it doesn't matter what baggage you are holding on to....what matters is that you are holding on to it. And, by holding on to negative baggage it holds you back from your great potential.
(Yes, I think my family is pretty darn amazing. Copyright Studio C Photography)
Each day is a blessing. There truly is good in each and every day. That's not to say that I still don't have moments of sadness. (Everybody does, right?) But the strides I've taken to focus on the great things in my life...rather than focusing on the negative aspects is what I've worked hard at. I'm sure there will still be days I struggle. I'm sure there will still be moments ahead that will affect me. But what I know is that I have the power. I am in control of how I let different events affect my life. I can let them drag me down, or I can let them propel me forward into something more.
I'll chose to be propelled forward...the thought of drowning in negativity scares me.
What are you going to choose? (Can I give you a suggestion....choose YOU, stop choosing your past.)
And, if you've made it all the way to the end of my long soap box...I will reward you a pat on the back. :)
(Copyright, Studio C Photography)
Now excuse me while I go love on my guy....the one who has been by my side through the good and the bad!