Warning: Read at your own risk. It’s a little more touchy-feely than I usually write, but in order to continue to share about other aspects of my life, I felt the need to share this portion of my history. I do not equate my story with anything similar to real tragedy, and hope it doesn’t come across as self-indulgent. I only hope that through sharing my experiences, maybe, just maybe someone can find joy and their own self-worth.
Around these parts, I’m known for being almost annoyingly happy and cheerful. The “almost” I added, as to make myself feel better because it has got to get irritating. I can’t help it! It’s true! I genuinely love life, love my job, love my fiancé, love my family, love my friends. Ok, I’ll stop—don’t punch me in the face (but I’d dodge it anyway, man).
A big secret to my happiness has been confidence in who I am. I haven’t always had it. Fitness wasn’t the only piece to this puzzle, but it was an irreplaceable tool I utilized to find my self-worth. Again, I did not find worth in fitness, but I used fitness to help myself discover my own worth. It was more of a symbol of how I am capable of changing things in my life when I put my mind to it.
During my college years and immediately post-graduation, there were some tough days on the ego. The weight gain caused me to lose who I was. I felt trapped in my body, and unless you’ve been there, you can’t quite get it.
Blessings through friends proved priceless. Fortunately, during this weak period of my life, I had an incredible group of friends to lean on. Friends in whom I put my utmost trust.
Part of growing up for me, though, was learning that trust is a gift that I could not share with every person I meet. Some of my friends were and still are wonderful people to be around, and I wouldn’t trade a day I spent with them. However, I know now that it is foolish to share details of your life with the selfish and insecure. If a person can’t accept who they are, it can lead to a warped perspective on their views of others.
It took some time to get over the hurt of some personal ties being severed. It took even more time to forgive and move past it, accepting that sometimes what matters isn’t others’ perspectives, but rather your own knowledge of truth.
Experiences with this breaking of trust led me to a key perspective that I still consider my life mantra.
I can’t control what others think of me, but I can control my own actions. If I live a life I’m proud of, no one can take that from me.
This realization that the only person I can control is myself led me to the gym. After seeing firsthand what playing the constant victim looks like, I knew I never wanted that for myself. No one is to blame for my actions but me. I needed to take charge. I wasn’t going to live one more day in a life that I didn’t choose.
I don’t mean to be sappy, but that is what my experience felt like. Basically, I had to decide to put on my big girl pants and take charge of my own life. Fitness gave me a way of controlling who I was, and you know what? I felt incredible. I was stronger than I ever thought possible.
That kind of attitude couldn’t help but make me a happier, more confident person. Stress was completely bearable because I was in control. My career was on course because I knew it was my responsibility to not just sit there, but to really make something happen. I can honestly say I’m grateful for the more challenging times because they were such turning points for me.
Oh, and for the record, a boyfriend never dumped me again because they “didn’t think I was very attractive.” True story. Totally happened.