As some of you know the first week of January I decided to join a 21-day exercise challenge. The only rules of this challenge were that I had to work out at least once a day for 21 days straight. Well guess what? I failed. I made it to day 20. I worked out on day 20 and than my body gave out. Exhaustion? Crazy Flu? I’m not really sure. Needless to say I have been locked up in my home for the past week recovering and reconnecting with my purpose and more importantly, my why.
What have I learned? My biggest challenge in life is finding balance. I’m either all in or on the sidelines watching in bewilderment. I’m an adrenaline junkie with an addictive personality. Every year I set myself a new goal and I don’t stop until I get it. Run a marathon. Yes of course. But run a marathon on five weeks of training when the last race you ran was six years ago. Not smart. But this is how I operate. I get my mind wrapped up in something and I have to do it immediately or I’m afraid I will never follow through on it. So either way, I’m all in or I’m out.
I’ve noticed these patterns throughout my life.
Recently I have started to notice that my addictions have started to center on “healthier” activities but the way that I approach them makes them unhealthy.
See, I have known for years that I'm an emotional number. I’d like to say I’m reformed but yes, just like you, I have moments of weakness. I’ve used anything to protect me from my own feelings. I’ve used food. Don’t want to feel sad? Well let’s see if I can fill myself up with this here pint of Ben and Jerry’s mint chocolate chip ice cream. It’s worked. Well for about five minutes and than you start to feel empty again. Feeling misunderstood well lets see if finishing this bottle of wine can help me not feel that way. Let’s try another. It’s a never-ending vicious cycle where you never feel fulfilled. The very thing that you are hoping will fill you up leaves you emptier than you have ever been before.
Nothing will ever NUMB the pain. The only way to move forward is to feel it.
I’m an emotional number. But just as much as this is a learned behavior it is also a behavior that I can control. I now know that when I feel something I must make it a priority to allow myself to feel every emotion around it. I have to sit with my feelings. And yes this isn’t fun. But it must be done.
So now when I feel a slight tinge that makes me want to reach for a cookie or a glass of wine, I reach for a glass of water instead. I slowly drink my water and allow myself to feel its nutrients entering my body. I take a couple of deep breaths and allow myself to feel the feeling that I am attempting to mask. This takes practice but I promise you it works. After a while you’ll discover your triggers and you’ll begin to nurture them.
Guess what. It’s ok to have a cookie or a glass of wine.
But just like there is a balance between having a glass of wine and having a bottle there is also balance in life. For me, I began the 21-day workout challenge as a healthy way to get back on track from the holidays. But what I now know is that it was just another way for me to numb the pain. Numb what? I had little tinges of “not good enough” that were coming back and I couldn’t get ahold of them. I couldn’t imagine a better way to mask the pain than with a smoking hot body. Not to mention my body (and mind) were so exhausted that I could barely think about anything that I was feeling. The 21-day challenge sounded perfect. And it was until my body broke down and screamed the bloody hell with it all! I give up. Thank god it did.
It acted as my reminder that there must be balance in all of the madness.
Don’t get me wrong I love exercise and I’m never going to stop but just as with anything else when it’s used excessively as a mask for something deeper than there is a problem. Now that I have had a few days to recoup I now know that my biggest challenge in life is finding balance.
Can you relate?
If you can relate to this I challenge you to think about what your numbing agent of choice is. What would life be like if it wasn’t there? Would it be better? Would it be worse? I invite you to dig deeper and uncover what is the feeling that you are attempting to mask?
Would you rather spend the rest of you life hiding or being seen?