Positive Energy

From the age of about sixteen my weight has been a major struggle. At sixteen I had what was called ‘puppy fat’ so when my sister in law asked me to come along to an aerobics class I agreed. Within a month or so I began losing weight and within three months friends and family began noticing too. It felt good to hear ‘you’ve lost weight’, ‘you look much better’, ‘you look younger’. In a space of a year, I went from doing aerobics two nights a week to joining the gym and going twice a day, in two hour blocks. I didn’t watch what I ate and looking back now I didn’t have an understanding of health and fitness. I just wanted to be thin. Real thin.

Fast forward to when I hit the age of 24. I was about to get married and like most brides, I wanted to lose more weight for my big day. At this point I was going to the gym once a day for about two hours. I was doing weights and lots of cardio. I began seeing a personal trainer who for the first time put me on a weight-loss diet. So here I was training hard (not smart), doing crazy amounts of cardio and on a high protein diet which pretty much consisted of boiled chicken breast, steamed broccoli and boiled eggs.

About 4 weeks into this diet I was at a session with my trainer. She had me holding dumb bells in each hand and doing lunges. As I went to lunge, I lost balance. I shook it off, picked myself up and went to start over again. This time I had no balance and lost bodily control. I collapsed and was out for about a minute. Before I knew it I had the owner of the gym making me gulp down two sugar drinks. After I felt well enough to stand up, I made my way down the stairs to head home. The owner stopped me at the counter and asked me what my trainer had me doing. After I told him about my program and diet he was pretty shocked. He advised me that the diet I was on was for people looking at participating in bodybuilding competitions and the diet was too high in protein with no carbohydrates which was not sustainable for somebody like myself. I ended up training on my own and my eating went downhill. I binged to the point I ate two entire packets of teddy bear biscuits in one sitting and of course the guilt kicked in straight after.

That week I spent $70 on fat blaster at a chemist and didn’t eat for 3 days. Again after the 3 days I went on binge which consisted of chocolate, pasta and ice cream. Then I tried weight-loss patches. Worked a treat but not realistic at all. My big day came and I had lost weight but definitely not the right way. I gained 13 kilos in my first year of marriage simply by not eating right and heavily consuming comfort foods such as ice cream, chips and chocolate. Skip 10 years and here I am today finally with balance in my life and most importantly happy about myself and how far I have come.

Instagram has driven me crazy with all this ‘clean eating’ business and to exercise ‘this way’ or hang on it’s ‘that way’! It made me think long and hard about what connection there was between my self worth, weight and food all these years. It finally dawned on me. My desire to ‘eat clean’ was actually me yearning for pure ‘clean’ love in my life and genuine ‘clean’ relationships.

Once the connection hit me, I began to distance myself from people who presented a negative attitude and only bought negative energy into my life. I started doing things for loved ones because I wanted to not because I felt obligated to. I surrounded myself with people who raised me, not bought me down. I met up with people for coffee who I could learn from not tell me I wasn’t good enough. I distanced myself from friends and family who enjoyed being mean to others and who loved gossiping.

I wanted change in my life. I wanted to feel good about myself and that started with surrounding myself with positive people and positive energy. I didn’t want to be a toxic person or be friends with toxic people. I no longer wanted to pretend I was happy with myself and I no longer wanted to pretend I had the perfect life. I wanted to be happy, I wanted joy in my life and I wanted to be a genuine person who was authentic, honest and most importantly I wanted to be me.

I would really love for each and every one of you to think about the people you surround yourself with. Ask yourself these questions:

Do you have a real connection with them?

Do you have ‘fake’ conversations with them?

Are you yourself around them?

Do they raise you and appreciate your authentic self?

Do you become a different person when you are with them?

Do you take your own direction or theirs?

I let go of the ‘clean eating’ analogy as I knew in actual fact it had nothing do with food but everything to do with the energy around me and what I actually wanted for myself. Yes people have disappeared from my life but they would not have done so when I stopped being a reflection of them. I stopped becoming a people pleaser and I became someone who knew their self worth and authentic self.

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‘When you know better, you do better’ – Maya Angelou

For some reason, this week has been a week for reflection. In particular one damaging relationship I had when I was 19. I had met this guy who was 27 and who was a close friend of my cousin. We met at party and it just so happened that the cafe he owned was across the road from where I was working while attending university.

On the night of the party, he asked me to come into his cafe on my lunch break and so I did.  From that day I felt that we had a connection and I felt that I was attracted to him. My visits became regular and we started seeing each other more often. Since I was 10 years of age, my parents always told me to be honest and forthcoming with them, especially when it came to boys. So the time came to tell my parents that I was in a relationship with this person.

Mum and dad didn’t respond well at all. They had heard of his bad boy reputation and they made it very clear that they did not want me involved with him at all. But of course I thought I was in love and I pretty much begged my parents to let him come over and rather then make a judgement based on other peoples opinions, I wanted them to make a judgement for themselves.

The first time he came over my parents were impressed by his mannerism, the respect he showed and how easy he was to talk to. My younger brother was far from impressed and told Me immediately.  I was blinded by love and I felt protected, safe and loved. What more could I ask for?

Three months into our relationship things began to change. First it would be comments like ‘why are you wearing a short skirt? Only prostitutes wear those’. So my skirts became longer. ‘Why are you wearing such bright colours?, That is not classy at all’. So I began to wear black only. ‘Your too skinny, you need to eat more’. So I began to eat whatever he asked me to. Then came ‘You don’t need your friends, you have me’. So I began to ignore my friends and eventually I was not even allowed to answer their calls without his consent. I interacted less with my family and I became so distant from everyone and I would barely utter a word.

This relationship went on for a year and a half and for a year and a half I was drowning in self hate, fear and embarrassment. On the outside my life looked like a picture of bliss. Everybody thought I was happy, in love and had an amazing life with an amazing guy. Little did anybody know that I was screaming for help and I had never felt so depressed and lost in my entire life. I had lost all support around me. I no longer had friends and I couldn’t go to family as I thought they would say ‘I told you so’. I had fainted several times at work and when the ambulance would be called, I was told it was stress and anxiety. I no longer recognised myself when I looked in the mirror.

Then came a day where he had asked me to call him at 9:15pm. I was laying in bed after a shower and just happened to dose off. I woke up suddenly and looked at the time frantically….it was 9:16pm. I called him and he could sense the fear in my voice. He called me hurtful names and was adamant that because I didn’t call at 9:15pm as asked I didn’t care about him or our relationship. He hung up on me and would not pick up his phone despite my numerous efforts to speak to him and ‘fix’ what I had done.

Mum entered my room. She looked at me as I sat there crying and she cried with me. She turned to me and said you have to leave him. Look at you. I don’t even know you anymore. You are not the daughter I know and love. I looked at her said ‘you are right. I know what I have to do. I’m going to leave him’. Mum gazed at me with some hope, hugged me and walked out of my room.

The next day, he came to pick me up to talk about the incident that happened the night before. I told my parents that I was going to break up with him and not to worry about me. I jumped in his car and off we drove. I turned to him and said ‘I just can’t do this anymore. I can’t be with you anymore’. I couldn’t believe I had the courage to say those words. In an instant he turned into a monster. He began yelling at me and making me feel guilty for giving up and not fighting for our relationship. He then went from angry to outraged. He began to threaten me and when I tried to get out of the car he put me back in and locked the car. As I screamed for help he covered my mouth with his hand. I kept crying and begging for him to take me home and he wouldn’t.

After and hour of begging and crying and screaming for help he drove me home. No one was home and I didn’t have the key to the house. So we sat there waiting and waiting for my parents or brother to come home. Forty five minutes passed and that entire time he was begging me to give him another chance. After hearing the begging for that long something inside me was thinking maybe I should give him another chance. He has never been so sorry and forthcoming before. Maybe I do mean something to him. Maybe I was making a rash decision. As I was thinking this I hear the words come out of my mouth… ‘Ok, I will give you….’

Knock, knock….knock, knock. That is what I hear on the car window. I turn and my brother who happened to be driving past home with his mate had see our car parked and wanted to see if we were ok. I looked at my brother and said ‘I’m ok’. He says ‘cool, I’ll be home soon, I’ll see you later’. I look at my boyfriend and he says to me ‘what were you going to say?’ I said ‘nothing…we are over. I can’t do this anymore’.

God was definitely looking out for me that night and gave me a second chance that second my brother knocked on my window. Shortly after my parents arrived home. We both got out of the car and I told my parents our relationship was over. I broke down, ran inside and left my parents standing outside with my ex-boyfriend.

Mum and dad walked in the house and saw me sobbing hysterically on the couch. My dad got down on his knees, kissed my hand and said ‘thank god I have my daughter back’.

I spent years after ending this relationship blaming myself and calling myself stupid for allowing someone who I thought loved me treat me like this. It wasn’t until I heard the saying ‘when you know better, you do better’ that I was able to let go of the blame I was putting on myself, the guilt I felt towards my family and friends and the regret I had for entering this relationship in the beginning.

I now see what happened to me as a second chance at life. I knew if I had stayed in that relationship, I would’ve ended up dead. The things I have learnt from this experience is;

– I won’t hold myself hostage to my past

– I was foolish, but I was given a second chance

– it’s never too late to change and repair the damage that has been caused

– when I blocked out my family and friends, it was a result of the pain I was going through not a reflection of who I really was

– my life is my responsibility and mine only

– what matters to me is now, the present

– I have accepted what happened, I have forgiven, I am at peace and I have let go

– I look at this relationship as an experience, not a regret

– I am a better person, more focused and stronger because of this relationship

If you have anything in your life that you have been through and you continuously punish yourself for it or have kept it a secret you need to stop. Stop and remember that you can’t change the past. You did what you did because that’s what you knew then. You are not the same person today because you have grown and you now know better. Let go, be free and live in the moment.

Self Worth And Ego

Up until two years ago, I would measure my self worth based on my appearance and material objects. If I was thin enough, beautiful enough and carrying my Jimmy Choo bag then I was worthy of love. Right? Wrong. I thought people around me would accept me and love me if I was externally perfect and if I had nice things. My entire self worth was based on my external appearance & material objects to the point I became obsessed with my weight, looks and shopping. It has taken me years to get to where I am today. I have had to re-wire my brain and get to know my true authentic self again to enable me to find my self worth.

Looking back at my 20’s, I identified myself with objects such as what bag I was carrying, the designers shoes I was wearing and what size jeans I was wearing. I allowed myself to value my life by consuming to the point of suffering. I was unhappy, I had low self esteem and I was spending all my hard earned money on ‘things’. What I now realise is that it was my ego determining my self worth.

Let’s get something clear when it comes to ego. Ego can often be perceived as ‘showing off’, ‘stuck up’ or ‘arrogant’. I can assure you I wasn’t any of those things. Ego as explained by the author of the book the power of now, Eckhard Tolle defines ego as ‘Any identification with form’ i.e.; possessions, cars, social status or simply a desire to be thin. Unfortunately we live in a society that cares about what car a person drives, what house somebody owns and what bag somebody is holding. Unfortunately I got sucked into that way of thinking.

As I came out of my teens and hit my 30’s I realised all these years of consuming and unrealistic and unhealthy desires to be perfect were going to be unattainable. I made a decision that I was going to stop the consuming and stop my obsession with my weight. I wanted to purchase something because I really needed it not because I wanted it. I wanted to exercise and eat good food to be healthy not to be thin. I am enough just as I am. I am worthy of love and belonging just by being me.

It is so important that we all find our true authentic selves. What helped me achieve this was when I found stillness in my life. I don’t mean going to a room or place where there is only you. When I say stillness, I mean that amongst any situation you take a moment when you block everyone else’s voice around you,the judgement, the opinions and you make a decision for yourself. A decision that is going to make you happy before anyone else. As difficult as it may be, don’t give meaning to other peoples observations of you. I did that for years and it is very damaging.

So believe in your self, define your self worth with the qualities that you possess. Measure your success not by how much money is in your bank account or how thin you are or what car you drive but by your being. Start making decisions for the most important person in your life and that person is you. Love yourself unconditionally. Look in the mirror every morning and instead of judging yourself, say to yourself ‘I love you’.

The power of forgiveness

I have no doubt that we have all been in situations where we have been hurt by a family member, a friend, an ex-partner, a current partner or a work colleague. Have you ever felt hurt as a result of someone’s actions? How did you deal with it? Have you let go? Did you tell them? Do you have someone close to you that is a repeat offender?

To me, forgiveness is about letting go of a situation where someone has done or said something to me that has left me upset, hurt and betrayed. Up until about a year ago I used to deal with negative actions by crying, getting angry at the situation/person and simply just bottling up all my emotions until one day I would just explode! Really explode! I would feel negative and often felt frustrated at why I would let these situations get to me so much. I would think to myself ‘I am not deserving of this behaviour or action from someone I care about’, ‘I know I am good person so what have I done to deserve such hurt and suffering’.

I recall watching an Oprah episode where she was speaking to a bishop about forgiveness and he used the following analogy: he says that as humans we can be as full as a gallon or as full as a pint. When you are a person that is full as a gallon and are treated badly by someone who is full as a pint, there are going to be issues. Here you are giving so much of yourself and the other person is only giving you back half of what you giving of yourself because that’s all they have. They are half empty.

Over the last year I have written down the following notes in my journal as part of my path to master true forgiveness:

~ True happiness = forgiveness

~ When you say ‘I’m going to let go’, you really need to mean it. Letting go means you have given up the hope that the past cannot be changed.

~ Accept the past. Accept what has happened and ask yourself ‘where to from here’?

~ Don’t hold a grudge. Holding a grudge affects you as a person, affects your relationship/s with those around you and stops you from learning to love yourself.

~ Don’t build up walls around you. Try and surround yourself with people like you. People that are full gallons and give to you as much as you give them.

~ If the person hurting you is a family member and you have constant contact as I do, you need to try and understand why they are like that. Once you understand why they are a certain way, lower your expectations from them so you are not left disappointed.

Forgiving someone is not telling them what they did was ok. Forgiving someone is you as a person accepting something has happened, acknowledging it cannot be changed and then letting it go. If there is no forgiveness in our life then there is no room for change.

Stressed? What is your outlet?

Ever feel like you are so overwhelmed by what is going on in your life? I have those days. It could be something as simple as just having a busy day with the kids, housework and running errands or when it’s that crazy time around the holiday season, it could be a bad day at work or when you get bill after bill in the mail and the household income hasn’t been so great? We all have everyday stresses in life but how do you deal with all these stresses?

For me it is exercise. I get lots of friends saying to me ‘you are obsessed’, ‘what for? You don’t need to run, you are thin already’, ‘you are crazy’. What people don’t seem to understand is that to me, exercise, in particular running outdoors is the biggest stress relief. It makes me happy!

It is when I clear my mind, re-think any decisions I have made or about to make and it is my time to re-focus and gather my thoughts. Each and every single time, guaranteed I come back home in a better mood like my day has only just begun.

I know with my husband he can go into his guitar room play some tunes and out he comes feeling less stressed. My brother tells me creativity is his form of de-stressing. I have a friend who tells me baking is her outlet and I know my mothers is a short walk after dinner and my fathers is spending some time gardening.

I strongly believe doing something for yourself like exercising, playing music, being creative, cooking etc is a great way to de-stress. Before finding my passion for fitness I would turn to food for comfort. I felt that food would soothe my emotions but I always felt guilty afterwards as I would often reach out for ‘comfort foods’ like chips, chocolate and ice-cream. I would feel so disgusted with myself for bingeing on these unhealthy foods but they would give me a high for a few hours and then send me crashing down. Or if I was at work and feeling down and unhappy I would often go and shop in the hope that a new pair of shoes or new clothes would make me feel better. They did for a couple of days but then I would feel guilty for spending money on things I didn’t really need.

With running it was free! All that was required was my time. And did I feel good afterwards? Of course! I always felt brilliant internally after exercising.

So I urge each and everyone of you to look for your own outlet. One that brings you joy and satisfaction and one that will make you feel good long term. Not just for a few days or a few weeks or a few months. Look for an outlet that does not involve anything material. We all know that material objects do not last forever and only bring us short term satisfaction. I guarantee you if society took a little time to do something for themselves that didn’t include television, any form of social media, online shopping etc we would all have healthier and more fulfilling relationships and lives. Give it a go!

Love Matters

It has been a tough this week on the home front. I am missing my brother who moved to Paris almost 2 months ago dearly.  My heart aches each time I think of him and what lengths I would go to just to be able to hug him. My children have been hard to handle and my patience has been tested one too many times.  There is so much going on in my life at the moment that I feel so overwhelmed to say the least.

Through all the emotions I have been through this week  I have had to remind myself I am human.  I cannot control what is going on in my life at the moment but what I can do is control how I react to it.  A part of wanting to change myself as a person, to grow as a person and to follow my purpose in life, I need to take responsibility of my place on this earth.

This week I have had to play the role of a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, a sister-in-law and a friend two-fold.  It has felt incredible helping all those around in some way.  This is how I know that I am on the right track in life.  I feel that all I have to give is love to all those around me even through these incredibly stressful times.

There was a time where I would hold grudges, give my partner the silent treatment and just sit alone crying and frustrated at life.  Now I express how I feel, I give love to everyone around me and I let go of all the small things in life.  It is not worth holding onto negativity and ill feelings.  When you do as I did, you will ride a dangerous roller coaster in life where only negative things will occur day after day.

Showing love to others and receiving love from others is the greatest gift in life. Think of how you feel when you give or receive love from someone.  Think of all the positivity that stems from love.  What would our world be like if we just showed love to one another.  How much less hurt, war, rape, human trafficking, child slavery would exist if we just showed love to another human.

The first step in experiencing true love begins with ourselves. We need to respect and LOVE ourselves for others to respect and love us back.  We are all loveable and we are all worthy of love.  There is no other way.  This is the only way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all have a purpose in life

What do you want to be when you grow up?  I am sure this is a question we were all asked from a young age.  In  primary school I wanted to be a hairdresser.  In high school I wanted to be a lawyer and by university I wanted to become a criminal psychologist. While completing my university degree in social science I started working in retail. Five years later I was still in that same retail position.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I definitely didn’t want to be a criminal psychologist anymore and I didn’t want to be in retail long term either.  Later on when I commenced work at Bang & Olufsen I created some wonderful relationships with clients.  I would visit their homes as part of the customer service provided by Bang & Olufsen and we would eat and drink together and discuss everyday life issues together.  The long hours became difficult but I knew I wanted to stay in the customer service area so I found a job that dealt with clients but not face to face.

After four years in my new job I fell pregnant with my son.  I became a full time mum and three years after having my son, I fell pregnant with my daughter.  During this time I met many new mothers and made many new friends.  The entire time I was often told ‘you are a great listener’, ‘I feel so much better after seeing you’, ‘You are so positive to be around’, ‘I love you, I am so glad to have met you’ and so much more.  After four years of being on maternity leave I decided that I would not, could not go back to my 9-5 job. I made a decision that I was going to continue to be a good listener and I was going to help people in some way.  That’s why I loved being in retail and customer service positions.  I loved listening to peoples needs and I loved helping them meet their needs.  I have always had an immense passion for health and fitness (mental and physical) so I have made it my mission to further study physical and mental health.  I know listening and helping others is my calling in life.  It’s my purpose in life.  I truly believe we all have one.  We might not know it instantly but at some stage in life you will know it, you will feel it and you will be drawn towards to it.  You just need to be present, be alive in the moment and the universe will deliver.

 

‘I believe there’s a calling for all of us.  I know that every human has value and purpose.  The real work of our lives is to become aware.  And awakened.  To answer the call’.  – Oprah Winfrey


Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/How-Oprah-Winfrey-Found-Her-Purpose#ixzz2sX8Id0Gm