Afraid of Success (FF)

In my last post, I wrote, “It is terrifying to imagine what it will be like when I reach my goal.”

Kinda weird, right?

Shouldn’t that be something that motivates me? I’ll be able to buy this size and lift that weight, fit in those old shorts, and run and swim faster, longer, harder.

But I am scared. Completely and utterly petrified of stepping on the scale and seeing that magic number I meditate on.

I’ve talked a lot about sabotage, self-sabotage in particular. I am an expert at it. And part of this internal journey to get to know who I am – who I want to be – has me searching for the whys of it all. Why do I do this? Why am I so afraid? Why is the voice that tears me down louder than the voice that believes in me?

As I type this, the answers elude me. I feel like I know what I want, I am (mostly) focused on my goals, and yet, when it comes to the ones regarding my health, I can’t follow through. The start is always robust. But there’s something about when people notice and comment, and you try and humbly thank them and not outwardly show your excitement that, YES! It’s working! And then…well, it’s working so well, you can have one cookie. Oh man, that one cookie turned into five…they just tasted so good! And that loaf of bread is just sitting there, you already kinda screwed up with the cookies, may as well go all in. Then the cravings you toiled to keep at bay are back in full force, and then it’s a free for all. And I feel like shit because I eat like shit because I feel like shit…ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

I can say with confidence I’ve lost the same 5-10 pounds at least a dozen times over the past two years. I seem to be a professional maintainer. Problem is, I don’t want this to be the weight I’m maintaining. I want to maintain 30 pounds from now. Or do I? What is it about this particular weight that, like a soft, pillow-like bed, makes me so comfy cozy, I don’t want to leave it?

And then there are those comments. I know people mean well when they say things like, “Have you lost weight?” or “You are wasting away!” The problem with these types of remarks (and I’m guilty of offering them to others, too) is to the person on the receiving end, it doesn’t sound like a compliment. What we hear is, “Wow, you definitely stood to lose some pounds.” Or “Yeah, I totally noticed how heavy you were, so I can really tell now that you are changing.” Or in the case of the wasting away comment, it’s more of a backhanded compliment; it seems soaked in jealousy and gives the impression we look unhealthy. Understand we know that’s not what is meant when these things are said. We know it is meant to offer us motivation and praise. But because that little, yet LOUD, voice (mine is called Maleficent) in our heads translates it to a negative, those well-meaning intentions end up doing more harm than good, completely unbeknownst to the person saying them. And until we have the courage to drown out that voice, we tend to be slaves to it.

The Catch 22 of it is when people don’t notice or say anything, it is also damaging, and then Maleficent just grows shriller. Why are you working so hard if it’s not noticeable? You are wasting your time. You aren’t good enough.

This has been taking up a lot of my headspace lately. These fears, even with awareness of their existence, are still here, flitting about in my ears; Maleficent constantly whispering all those damaging, destructive missives. I’ve been wracking my brain to try and discover the source of her power. How can Aurora (my uplifting, empowering voice [yes, I loved Sleeping Beauty as a child]) rise above and shout, “SHUT UP, MALEFICENT! SHE CAN’T HEAR YOU! LALALALALALALALALA! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. YOU ARE STRONG. YOU. ARE. ENOUGH.”?

So here’s what I’ve concluded. Maleficent has power because I give it to her. Obvious, right? But acknowledging this has been a crucial step in overcoming my fear. Remembering I am in control of myself. I have choices, and it is on me to make the best ones. When someone says, “Oh, we should go to for lunch,” I have the choice to say, “No, thanks.” Or, “Have you heard of ? Want to try it?” When I don’t make the time to exercise during the day, it’s because I chose to do other things in its place. When I don’t make the time to meal plan and shop accordingly, and then eat whatever is around, or nothing at all, that is on me. And that is OK, I just need to own these decisions.

And as for those pseudo-compliments, I thought about what I would like to hear from others. Here are some genuine compliments I came up with:
  • You look healthy. 
  • You look happy. 
  • You look radiant. 
  • You are bursting with confidence. 
  • I am so proud of you.

On the flip side, when receiving these compliments, equally important is to not shrug them off. It’s not easy. We’re hard-wired to be humble to the point of undeserving. But this is absurd, is it not? You earned the compliment; you should own your hard work. So look that person right in eye and say, “Thank you! That means so much to me.”

Instead of being so focused on the outcome, I need to live day-to-day. Stay Present. Make the best choices I can today. I will center my thoughts on how I feel, fueling my body, and letting go of any and all negativity. I will try not to take everything so personally*.  I will work every day to not be controlled by the scale or Maleficent. I can barely hear her now. Sort of just white noise in the background. Good riddance, M.

My sister has a great mantra she has been using to help change her life. “Expect success. Because you are capable and worthy.” And you are. We all are. 

Lastly, I just have to thank you for letting me write through all these struggles. This quote pretty much sums it up for me.  Much love to all y’all. 

Inspire. Motivate. Move.

*Next post will focus on why we take things so personally.

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