What are the stories you have been telling yourself about your health and body these days?
Are you telling yourself you’re not capable of being in-shape? Are you telling yourself you are never going to overcome your serious sweet tooth and overeating tendencies? Are you miserable while eating your healthy food selections and watching the “skinny” girls eat all they want and not gain any weight?
Our health can be one of the most stressful factors we deal with. Last week, I learned a valuable lesson in probably the only other category of our life that is equally as stressful, if not more—> MONEY. I learned some great insight about the “story we tell ourselves” that I think will help you re-write your story today too whether about health, money or whatever!
Here’s how it went down….
The other day, I was at my counselor’s office having our monthly chat. We see her mainly as a marriage counselor, but I go to her independently too. I have found that I really value having a professional to go to for the times where those really tough circumstances come up, as they inevitably do, and I don’t necessarily want to always air my dirty laundry on my mom, friends or husband. If you have never tried seeking a pro, it truly changed my life. She and I were discussing a heated discussion my husband and I had recently had regarding money. Money is just one of the toughest subjects to talk about, ever. No matter how much you may have or don’t have, money is stress inducing. And as the Bible states, “To whom much is given, much is required.” Being new to the amount of financial responsibility my husband has, there is a significant learning curve I feel the weight of. I have come to realize that whenever he seems to be stressed about money, I internalize it (well, and make it about me, darn it.) I start to think about all the ways that I have not been stewarding and spending money very wisely, often spending out of haste and convenience and just plain old ignorance. I will start to internalize it so much that I will start to regret the very things that have been intended gifts of love from my husband. “Oh, he’s stressed about money, I should never have had that destination wedding….” “Oh, he’s stressed about money, I should have just kept my old car….” “Oh, he’s stressed about money, why did I get so carried away at Whole Foods the other day?”
Let me be clear, these are all actually very valid introspections for me. You learn the best by making mistakes and realizing them from hindsight.
There are some ways I spend money that does not actually align with the kind of woman I want to be and am called to be. I will need to change what I DO in order to BE who God intended me to be. However, my mind takes this ideal and distorts it in a destructive way. This is something we all do. As I was explaining this particular conversation I had with my husband to my Dr., I told her this.
“You see, I am really bad with money….”
And she immediately corrected me. “You’re not bad with money! You just haven’t learned how to do this yet. You are still learning and you need to give yourself some space and grace to process this. It’s a change for you.” Wow, without even realizing it, I just exposed my SHAME. Bene Brown, renowned Author of Daring Greatly and many other best selling books, explains the difference between feeling guilty and feeling shame is in that word “AM.”
It’s the difference in saying, “I did something bad” and “I AM bad because I did x,y or z.”
Shame is really common but really destructive and tend to traps us subconsciously. I had taken something I’m inept and uncomfortable with and actually internalized it to mean that “I AM BAD.” My brain will convince me of a distortion of this truth by convincing me of a story that “I AM bad” and then I act from a place of that story instead of acting from a place of my Truth. This means, I act from a place of insecurity, instead of a place of patience and grace that is required for the learning process. I learned from Rick Warren, that the natural ramifications of my insecurity will manifest in 3 ways: I either get:
DEFENSIVE—I start to justify all the reasons why I am the way I am (i.e. bad with money) –DEMANDING— I start to demand that my husband help me with the expenses more. –DISTANT—I’ll avoid the subject and focus instead on something I do feel like I’m good at.
The problem with all three of those responses is that it doesn’t actually fix the subject at hand and it causes issues in our relationship. Inevitably, these insecurities and resulting issues are going to come up again until I fix the root issue and finally stick with LEARNING THE PROCESS better. I realized, I need to reframe my intention back toward LEARNING how to be wise with money and it will be an ongoing education.
SO, let’s flip this back to health.
With those thoughts that you have, perhaps subconsciously, been convincing yourself is your “truth” (like, “I am bad at eating/exercise/sticking with a program”) is it possible that you too are just internalizing something you simply have not yet LEARNED yet?? You might be thinking, “Yeah, but Amanda, I’m not new to my body? I’ve had time to learn, and yet I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing? To that, I think it’s important to understand the complexity of our body. Because our body’s are always changing, we are constantly having to adapt to the ramifications of the changing hormones and metabolic factors (including stress!). So what might have worked for you 10 years ago won’t necessarily work for your body where it is now. Maybe in some ways, but not completely. You have to commit to the process of LEARNING how to take care of what your body is doing this year. In that same way that I had learned how to spend money as a single person just fine, but I still needed to learn how to spend money as a married woman with a whole lot more expenses, you too will always need to adapt to the changes your body may have faced in the last year. And just like I was exposed the negative ramifications that came from internalizing my shame in the way I would become DEFENSIVE, DEMANDING or DISTANT, you too need to be aware of your own reactions to the story you have convinced yourself too. Realize that if you simply change your story from “ I am BAD at eating healthy or exercising” to “I am in the process of learning about my body this year” you will release yourself mentally from having to be an expert in it right now. Instead, allowing yourself some grace in the space of learning. This week, what are you going to seek and learn about what your body needs from you? What are some things you need to investigate and learn about?
- Maybe you have been experiencing some digestive issues and you need to learn about what foods might be causing your issues.
- Maybe you have been experiencing some joint and body aches and you need to learn some new ways of stretching and exercising to help alleviate the pain but keep you feeling strong.
- Maybe you have a life change going on that is keeping you busy and you need to learn some new rituals to streamline your health so you can still maintain a healthy system required for the additional roles you are facing.