I'm sorry. I love you. Please forgive me.
Growing up I was an extremely independent girl. I occasionally got hit by fear but decided I didn’t like it so ‘pushed through’. I remember being 10 years old at my first swimming gala. Despite being a natural swimmer and very fast, when it came to getting in the pool and swimming a race in front of a bunch of strangers, I froze. I stood in the corner of the swimming baths frozen with fear, refusing to swim and I think I was crying. Everyone was watching me. I was holding up the start of the race. I was ‘talked out of it’ by my parents and swim coach. They pushed and encouraged me to do it. To ignore it and push through. I did. And I won my race. Not only did I win my race, I LOVED the feeling of having conquered my fears more. I vowed to never feel like that again. Fear is conquerable if you do it anyway.
That set me off on an even bigger path of facing fears and being independent. HOWEVER, my internal dialogue was always focused on positive force and determination. Pure grit. Very little self compassion. Pushing with no nurturing before or after.
This mindset helped me so much in life. I believed it was strong. I could conquer anything if I pushed myself and worked hard. The athletes mind. A mind that serves a purpose. But not for everyone. And not for all sides of life.
When spinal trauma arrived in my life, the surgeries, the job loss, the loss of friends, sport, social circles etc… I decided to push through with grit and determination. I believed it would get me better. I believed I would go back to my ‘old’ life. That mindset gave me the determination to go on the healing path, to turn to self employment when I became ‘unemployable’ overnight with a big mortgage and extra healthcare costs. I am EXTREMELY grateful to this mindset. My driven, determined mind. But eventually this mindset became my biggest enemy.
Despite thinking I loved myself, when I wasn’t getting better post surgery and was in fact, getting worse, I started to despise myself. My language changed to one of frustration with myself. Self loathing. Disappointment. A feeling of continual battle with myself.
What was missing was that self nurturing inner dialogue. Allowing my body rest and heal instead of fighting her. I didn’t even realise I had been punishing myself until my body screamed for my help. I’d ignored her 10 days after spinal surgery, having the staples taken out and getting straight into the pool - in pain. Gritting my teeth. I didn't have to swim that far. I ignored her when I turned my attention to cycling. She asked me to stop and rest on the journey. My mind said ‘no'. She asked me for joy when moving my body. My mind said ‘no’. She asked me to show gentleness during my physical recovery. My mind said ‘No. Move it or lose it. Move it or lose it. No pain no gain.'
I turned self love into self loathing and didn’t even realise until my body shut me down. She had no choice. She had tried to get my attention so many times. It was years down the line when I realised that my mindset had helped me develop further incurable & complicated chronic illnesses. And it’s my change of mindset that is now helping my thrive and heal.
To my body,
I’m sorry. I love you. Please forgive me.
Self compassion is critical in life - especially on a healing path. Making friends with yourself will crack you wide open. If you’re ready for freedom and making friends with yourself, arrange a free 30min call with me me to see how I can guide you on your journey.