Your mind is a lot like your stomach. If you feed it shit, you will feel shitty.
In the two years that I’d owned and (dismally) operated my CrossFit gym, my life fell apart. I was married and then painfully divorced. Then I fell in love with someone when neither of us was mature or healed enough to stop hurting each other. I was evicted and slept in my gym for a few nights until I moved up to crashing my brother’s couch. I was broke. I was lonely, and things weren’t improving.
“But how could I end up here?” I thought.
I had imperfect but loving parents. I stayed away from drugs and drinking. I worked my ass off, and what did I have to show for it?
As I ruminated, my two rescue dogs were lying on my chest, looking at me as I struggled to work out my position in life, which looked a lot like the air mattress in my brother’s spare bedroom.
I became angry. I began speaking to myself angrily.
“Look where you’re at. Look where you brought yourself to. You’re a crybaby. You deserve this.”
I withdrew from people, afraid that anger would spill onto them if they got too close or said something triggering. It’s said that hurt people will hurt people. I guess it’s true for how you treat yourself as well.
A couple of months of this anger and poor self talk continued. Guess where I was after those months?
Yup. Same exact place. Same angry inner world. Same spare bedroom.
I was mad at myself for where I’d brought myself. Days grew longer, and I struggled to work and keep my head up. I drank enough caffeine to kill a Rhino.
After beating myself up for weeks, I was physically and emotionally drained. I had exhausted my ability to hold any more anger.
One rainy day in the bedroom at my brother’s house with my two big brown rescue dogs on the bed with me, I noticed tears resting on my arms. I didn’t know I was crying, but I was, and more tears came as I allowed my anger to be what it had always been all along. Grief.
Sometimes we cry and feel a little better. Other times, we cry so deeply that we sleep for what feels like days; this was one of those times.
But when I woke up. I felt “a good empty” inside. I had space to think straight and do something good instead of reacting to everything. I woke up happy to be alive. I walked my dogs for the first time since we moved. I ate a real breakfast and didn’t rush to Panera Bread to drown myself in endless coffee and cheap food.
I checked my bank balance on my phone, and it was still zero. But I didn’t get mad. “If I’m at the bottom and have nothing, that means everything the world has to offer is at my disposal if I go get it and use it to make the life I want.”
I felt inspired for the first time in over a year.
This is where you, the reader, expect me to tell you how everything began lining up for me because of the power of positive thinking. But I have to disappoint you.
Life was still hard.
The divorce? Still wrecked me.
That young love? It was one of life’s amazing rides, but it didn’t pan out.
Money? HA! I still had less dough than Pizza Hut.
But I could step up and fix my shit now that I wasn’t weighed down by my grief disguised as anger towards myself and others.
As time progressed, I evolved without being mean to myself, without holding onto the anger about where I’d been and the mistakes I’d made.
No longer afraid, I felt my feelings. I stopped feeding my brain with anger and began feeding it with possibilities and gratitude-even when I didn’t feel like it. I told a completely different story about the world around me. That it could be my playground if I lived a little more virtuously and was kind to myself and others.
I got better.
I became a voracious reader.
I learned to tell myself a better story, So that one day I could tell my story to help someone else get better.
You’re going to step into shit. That’s what happens when you run barefoot through life’s picturesque fields. But it will only bother you if you let that shit into your head.
All the water in the ocean can’t sink a boat. It’s the little bit of water in the boat that does it.
TLDR: If you find yourself struggling with your body AND you’re speaking negatively to yourself. Imagine what the empowered, un-oppressed, grateful version of you could do with that body if you started talking yourself up instead of down.
I’ll do it.
I’ll cheerlead the fuck out of you. Get me the pompoms.