On Target Relationships

Unless we live in a cabin in the mountains in the middle of no where, we are surrounded with human contact. Friends, family, co workers. Some of the people we keep at arms length for various reasons and then we have our inner circle of people who make up our support systems. My sister and I call these our “bullseye” people. They keep us centered. They are the ones we WANT to spend our time and energy on.

These are the ones who you call when you need someone to have dinner with or help you move into your new house. You trust them. They usually are our cheerleaders. But sometimes, our inner circles can be made up of people who really sabotage our efforts to become healthier and happier. What do you do then?

We let go of anger and resentment. We clear out clutter of THINGS in our lives. Why wouldn’t you clear out people who might be cluttering up your life as well?

People change. If you are on a journey toward better health, you are changing as well. It’s important that you recognize this and respect it. Just because someone is no longer on your path doesn’t mean that they are your enemy. It just means that you have grown differently.  The best way to handle that is simply to acknowledge it and continue to move forward.

Whether it be emotional growth, mental adjustments or physical changes, keeping ourselves surrounded with people who will continue to support our growth is imperative to our own successes.

We NEED cheerleaders. Those are the people who will encourage you. Challenge you. We need people that we can count on to pick us up when we have a bad moment. If there is someone in your life who isn’t fitting this bill for you, move them from your inner circle. Create space for someone who can fulfill you. Make room in your life for the cheerleaders and more importantly, be ok with letting some of the not so supportive people you encounter to move into different roles of your life…or out all together.

Relationships are an important part of our lives and our health. Dig in and make that part of your life healthy as well.

Today, take some time to consider the relationships in your life. Do the people around you support your healthy life or do they drag you down? If you have people who need to be moved from your “bullseye” – take time to acknowledge that and make it happen. YOU are worth it.

Changing How We Look at Stress

I recently found this lecture by Kelly McGonigal about the effects of stress on our body. This wasn’t a typical lecture about how stress leads to heart disease, high blood pressure and all of those yucky things that have negatively been linked to the way our body reacts to stress. Her lecture was about changing the way we view stress so that we can better handle it.<!–more–>

Think about this for a moment: What if instead of feeling the effects of stress in our body and mentally considering it a bad thing, we begin to feel the pounding of our heart as a means of strengthening us? What if our rapid breathing became a reminder that our lungs were doing their job and actually helping us to stand there and be strong through our adversities? What if…we could stop being negatively affected by something that for years we have been thinking is leading to our poor health?

Check out her full lecture:
<a href=”http://embed.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend.html”>http://embed.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend.html</a&gt;

I think that there is some truth to this theory. Just consider the possibilities.

If you have a moment, share with us how stress has affected you in the past. Do you think that your stress reaction will change now that you can consider the studies she has mentioned?

Woah There

I read a meme yesterday that pretty much smacked me in my head. It made reference to  losing people in your life when you begin to honor your own personal boundaries, realizing that you can’t “save” others, refusing to do the emotional homework of others and then stop seeking external validation.

BAM.

Seriously.

As a yoga instructor and light worker, my job is to help others heal. I did that job so well, that I exhausted myself in the process. I worried every second for all of my clients. I cried for them. I celebrated with them…and I began to suffer because of my inability to separate myself from their struggles. I began carrying their burdens even when they weren’t taking them seriously. At the end of last year, while I was struggling through my own health stumbles, I realized that if I didn’t find a way to put this baggage down, I would be the one to suffer.

So I quit. All of it. I took a very emotional stand and put down THAT cape. I quit teaching. Quit leading practices. Quit counseling others. I walked away in effort to give myself space to heal and to find my soul again.

It has been difficult. I struggled with figuring out what made me passionate again. I had to find peace in my new found silence…and step there without fear of what I may hear. I had to face demons from my own mind…and look at my very broken body (and body image) in the mirror. I have learned so much about myself in these past months.

I had a horrible self image. While I constantly preached acceptance, I could barely look at myself in the mirror without thoughts of disgust. For years, I had simply glazed over the cellulite, stretch marks and sags in effort to not SEE them. I had forgotten the things that I went through that put those things on my body. I had forgotten the paths that I conquered, often not easy. I neglected to find beauty in my past struggles. I found that I was losing myself by being constantly buried within others paths. Being constantly busy was my coping skill.

I realized that I was still holding so much anger and sadness at the loss of my mom. I had been directing these emotions into all the wrong places and pretty much buried my thoughts and only allowed them to leak out at points that I deemed appropriate. Grief under conditions never heals properly. It is an emotion of fluid movement and we have to be able to accept it, fully for it to be healthy. I have since elected to regularly look at photos of my Momma and let whatever emotions surface that need to surface. Sometimes it is a sadness so deep that it hurts…other times, I giggle and laugh when I am reminded of her. There are no more conditions to my grief of her loss. Those who can’t accept that I miss her and FEEL her absence are no longer of consequence to me.

I have stopped doubting myself as a parent. I have struggled with THIS since I first found out that I was pregnant with my son. I fully accepted that I didn’t do things perfectly as I raised my kids. I yelled when I should have been more patient. I loved too hard and I reacted in ways that I am not always proud of when we faced struggles. But I also managed to do things magnificently too. My kids are funny, and kind. They are expert friends and they are creative and smart. I am proud of them…and now, proud of myself as their Mom.

I still find that I struggle with setting my own boundaries. I operate in an “all or nothing” mentality regarding my relationships.  If someone has wronged me, I do not forget..but now I am starting to allow room for more understanding that they too may be facing their own demons. Their actions are not a reflection of me anymore, but instead THEY are 100% responsible. I really struggled with this during the time I worked with clients.  I can not make someone change their eating habits, do proper exercise or sleep appropriately. It is 100% them and in no way a reflection of my value or skill set as a health & fitness professional. I am NOT responsible for the people I work with. (I may need to tattoo this on my forehead before I can consider entering the fitness world again.)

Today, as I prepare for another round of travels, I find that I am more relaxed and while my bod still isn’t up to 100%, I feel stronger, both emotionally and physically. I am more comfortable with who I am now and I don’t feel like I am LOST any longer.  Is this my season? Only time will be able to tell but right now, it sure feels like it.

Have you ever felt like you have gotten lost among the people in your life? Maybe consumed by others troubles and struggles? How did you cope or are you still struggling to find your way back?