A few years ago, I found myself in front of my stack of vitamins. It was the right time to take them. I had the water to take them. It made me feel really better to take them. And I looked at them. And looked some more. And I walked away. I didn’t take them. The second I was out of the kitchen, the awareness hit me instantly. I didn’t want to feel better. There was a force pulling me away from feeling my best. There was some unknown payoff I was getting from keeping myself from feeling too good.
It reminded me, years ago, at the height of my weight (320 pounds) I was asked a question by my nutritionist-psychologist that changed my entire paradigm and understanding of life and most importantly of myself. He asked: “quel benefice recois-tu en restant grosse?” because it happened in my native Paris. “what value was I getting from staying fat?” I about fell off my chair. “No value” was my initial response. “Wait a minute” he said, “we don’t do anything, unless we get some value out of it. Unconscious, maybe. But we wouldn’t do it if we were not getting something out of it. “Human nature” he said.
That was some food for thought, to say the least. Are you meaning to tell me that this enormous-unhealthy-unable to fit in any clothes-source of so much pain- body was giving me enough value that I was choosing to stay like that?
That was such a novel idea. Not taking my vitamins was the same thing. There was some secret reason I wanted to keep my life at a lesser level of happiness and wellbeing. I was getting a lot of mileage out of that. I searched deep in my soul for both these answers. And all the ones in that category. Being married to someone I was not thriving with. Not meditating, knowing full well that it would give me a less good day. Sabotaging every relationship that was uplifting and keeping the ones that asked less of me. Stressing from being late when I had an appointment. Eating the kind of foods that zapped my energy and made me want to stay in bed for the day. Keeping a job that didn’t make my heart sing. Not sleeping enough to be able to have a big life.
Small things. Big things.
I was doing it everywhere. I was limiting my quotient for happy, healthy and energetic. I was making choices to keep me down. To keep me in a life that is only “that” good. I still do it. Less and less. I’ve learned to recognize I am doing it and I have built tricks to help me “catch and release” the behaviors that are in that category.
I did it this week. I own Shape House. I sweat for free any day, any time. I have the keys and can come before hours, after hours. I can have my favorite bed, my favorite water, my favorite TV show. I can release lactic acid and not feel any soreness after boxing. I can get a skin that people comment on. I can sleep better, think better and look better. Like a million bucks. And yet I didn’t do it. Not this week.
But I will do it today. Because now I told you. Because it’s out. If you run into me in the hallway…please help me remember. Because taking care of myself, fully, deeply, really is my deepest longing. Because when I am at my best, I have so much more to contribute. It really is worth it.
What will you do today to shift that trend, if you have some of it? What can you do right now? Drink some water? Turn off your computer and go for a walk? Call a dear friend and share your wins of the week? Take a nap? Be on time for your sweat?
A friend of mine told me years ago to take care of myself so I could take care of others better. I like that. That is worth it. I will take my vitamins and I will sweat today.