This has become a mantra of sorts for me and recently the most frequent method of self care I’ve shared with my clients.
Why? because it’s been a huge part of my journey over the last let’s say umm 20 years?! and I want to help you out by sharing with you what I’ve learned.
This post is going to be related to food and my health but I can span this topic over pretty much any aspect of life. It does however seem the most frequent within health and spirituality – attached to these life changing moments where we fall to our knees and have to change something. It may be that like me you have had to change your diet, or it might be a new approach to caring for yourself. It may be a shift from negative to positive thinking.
The connecting story is this fear of being questioned about our lifestyle choices, or GASP judged even.
How about we change the channel and remember why we make changes in our life to start with.
❤ My own journey from fitting in to feeling good:
Last Summer I was in LA catching up with old friends and generally loving life in the Sun. I had plans to meet up with a friend I’d not seen for a while and as we planned where to get dinner I felt a familiar rush of anxiety come over me.
You see a great source of anxiety for me over the past 12 years has been food. It’s not been about your typical eating disorders but stems from the fact that changing my diet completely changed (and saved, I believe) my life. Hey, that sounds pretty positive I hear you say, and it is, it truly is, I can’t imagine what state I’d be in if I hadn’t chosen that path. But it’s been a hard journey, there were years where I was, to put it simply terrified of food. I associated changing my diet with a lot of the pain and trauma I experienced. It all rolled up in one big ball and started to form into a way of thinking that wasn’t helping me move forward.
At his moment in question what stirred up within my anxiety sat at that dinner table was a 12 year stretch of feeling like I had to explain myself in order to somehow comfort other people or to seem normal or fun or whatever. That was pretty subconscious but the explaining of the self became like this essay transcript that I knew off by heart. It went something like this
Q: Why don’t you eat sugar/gluten/nuts/ and so on…
A: Well you see, ***years ago I was seriously ill (and so on..) and one of the things that helped me recover was following this diet (and so on….) and then you see it just made me so much better I never saw the point of reintroducing those foods… continue on until I’d felt like I’d adequately explained why I wasn’t ‘normal’.
So back at that dinner table all I could think about was if I was seeming weird. The thing is, I had all reason to feel anxious – a couple of days before I’d discovered that I’m allergic to Pineapple and I was feeling a bit on edge. However I didn’t stop to recognise that I could have just been vulnerable and said that I was feeling nervous and so really not wanting to upset my body, especially when away from home. No that would have been WAY TOO EASY, so instead I just internally panicked and gave out the ‘safe’ story that I knew so well.
❤ Rewriting a tired old story:
So after I got back from that last trip to LA I started to rewrite that old story, but before I rewrote, I had to own it first.
Why did I feel like I had to apologise for the health choices I make? Where was it coming from? It’s not like I wasn’t at home with my own oddities in all other areas, I’ve always been an out and proud weirdo (forever and ever amen) but I clearly had a big block still sitting in my way that was stopping me from fully embracing my own wellness. I was desperate to be the normal one at the dinner table.
It was easy to blame it on other things and there was still a lot of anger and fear tied up in this old approach to food.
There were a LOT of ‘what if’s’
- What if people think i’m being fussy?
- What if I never trust anyone to care for me if I have an allergic reaction?
- What if I’ll never meet someone to date who won’t think I’m ridiculous?
- What if people think I’m making it up?
I was SO TIRED of playing this tired story out and also I knew I also had to release some last bits of anger that I had towards those years of being so unwell.
You see, all those years ago, I was furious, absolutely seething with anger at my body and my life for ridding me of those years that I deemed so precious and essential. Those first years of your 20’s, not being able to drink with all my friends, having to leave university. At that point I wasn’t able to really understand that I was in the most wonderful learning experience of my life. Of course not – we can trust that but in times of pain it doesn’t always come as a comfort. I was angry at ‘having’ to change my diet. In my mind I perceived it as something forced.
And part of it was that I didn’t trust my body or anyone else to look after me. I had traumas related to unexpected hospital visits and all those memories of my body feeling like it was breaking down upon itself. I knew this and I’d been already working on it for years. Constant forgiveness and love for my system was the key to it all. This was the final change point, this bit about trying to fit in.
But hold on. There was one thing that I hadn’t been owning up to..
All those years ago.. Who was it who CHOSE to heal the holistic way? Who CHOSE to change her diet? Who CHOSE to take the journey to feeling good?
Oh yeah.. it was me. Time to re write this chapter and return to that original choice, the one that has been ruling my life for the past 5 years, every day, that fuels every decision and every movement I make – Mind, Body and Spirit. It’s my guiding star, this approach to life, and it was the only answer I needed. You see,
I have an overwhelming desire to feel good.
and the best best about this desire – it’s completely non arguable. It’s a complete sentence that tells the entire story that I ‘thought’ I ‘should’ tell – in one foul swoop. And on top of that, it’s positive and exciting. Nail hit well and truly on the head.
❤ Tools and Tips that help me stay feeling good:
So how do you get to a place where you can feel less anxious about letting others know about the choices you have made for your health? Here are some of the things that I have discovered and tools that I use to help me.
- It is a non-negotionable thing. I’ve written about my nn’s before and looking after my body is one of them. I eat entirely to manage my Autoimmune Thyroid disorder – Hashimotos and histamine intolerance. It’s funny because I realised just this year after an enlightening conversation with my new favourite Health Advisor Bethany (who is now taking consults at Celestine Eleven) that I’ve been intuitively eating for my body for my entire life. Every single food that I don’t like is really high in histamine (for example: avocados – I’M SO SORRY EVERYONE I JUST NEVER LIKED THEM!). Make your lifestyle choices a positive non negotiable thing for you. Your choice is to care for yourself, and that is pretty awesome.
- Your wellness regime is not supposed to be a form of punishment. I don’t believe in referring to food as clean or dirty, or talking about food as if it’s a treat or even worse ‘I had a bad day’ – they are swift roots to having food be the enemy and generally make losing weight and feeling good a lot harder. I am tuned into my body, we are on speed dial, anything that doesn’t work I get a swift message about it and I know how to rebalance. How do you use food as a reward or punishment? Do you berate yourself when you don’t do your exercise or meditation practice?
- Judgement is reflective – You do not have to explain yourself. If we have a fear of being judged then it’s because somewhere (and it may be on the surface or buried deep within) we are judging ourself. It is SO easy to walk away from this truth, because how often do we want to face up to the fact we are the judgemental one?
And what about when someone does judge you? or they don’t respond well? – Again it’s reflective. When we receive judgement it’s because we are pulling a thread in the person we are speaking to. The easiest example – Have you ever told someone your biggest dream and they’ve responded like you just threatened their life? – If someone is terrified of making changes in their own life then it can be hard to accept them in someone else’s.
The way to respond to judgement – self or otherwise is with compassion.
So – That long drawn out story? that anxiety in your stomach worrying if someone is going to judge you? Worrying about how to explain yourself – It’s ok. The only thing you need to work on is feeling comfortable with your choices to feel good and releasing any old stories, anger and resentment to do with them. Keep looking after yourself. Do the internal work and you will notice the response to your decisions get better and better. And back to that original point. You do not have to explain yourself.
“I do **** because I have a great desire to feel good and care for myself.” – Tell that to anyone and you’ll find it’s pretty non – arguable closed sentence AND it is filled with good vibes! It’s my new story, the best bit is, it’s not fictional.
I am safe in my body
- I don’t think that mantra can be said enough times. I use it every time I am frustrated with a health issue, which is at the moment every day. It’s a call home to the present moment and to the body. When we are experiencing illness or are being cruel to ourselves we form an instant disconnect to the body as we start to view it externally as opposed to part of ourselves. The body needs acceptance, love and nurture from it’s owner. It’s not an easy practice but worth putting in your daily routine. This is a point for me to take into another post too – remind me about that!
- Feeling good is FUN. Oh yeah took a while to get to this one. If you are constantly trying to fit in at the expense of feeling good then seriously it’s no fun, like zero fun. And life is not supposed to be a dragged out, worn out, tiresome slog trying to please a perceived illusion of someone you have created in your mind.
- Do you need to do a ‘friend’ check? If you are surrounded by friends who don’t support your choices to feel good then some balance might be off. It can be a testing time. Stop drinking and your social life shifts in an instance (especially in the UK a country that thrives on alcohol) and oh god will anyone still want to hang out with you if you are sober? What if all your friends think you’re crazy for wanting to meditate? If you are trying to positive think and all your friends ditch you because they can only communicate in ‘I hates’ then what? IT’S OK! Swiftly check back into YOU. Your greatest friends do not love you because of how you care for your body, in fact they should love you even more for it. Who do YOU want to spend you time with? This is not about ditching your current friends, but make space to bond with those who you share a common interest of self care with. It’s fun to have a spiritual running buddy!
- Cool does not exist. Quit sugar and are you suddenly uncool? OMGGG…. Sure it maybe that the most popular thing you can post on instagram is a pastel Macaron (snore) or a pile of cupcakes but the only thing that is truly cool is owning your own EVERYTHING. It’s all very well to list Ben and Jerrys as your favourite things in the Universe but if you’re going to break out in hives when you eat it, then well thats a swift trip to sadsville – population 1.
- Teach not preach. It is not your responsibility to make everyone else have an ‘awakening’ just like you did! No way.. I have to say that every week I try and get (force) my mum to follow an AIP diet with me, because I KNOW it will make her feel amazing, but it’s almost like every time I say anything she eats double of the things that aren’t good for her! I had to remind myself that if she wants to make the choice for herself then she can, and meanwhile I will just keep looking after me and love her as usual.
- Your wellness routine is unique. I can only ever share my experience and one line of advice, which is, in simple. If you don’t feel good then get your snorkel on and go deep diving and find out what you need. There is a reason that you don’t feel optimal and you can find it out. I promise.
❤ Your turn!
Where are you trying to fit in at the expense of feeling good? Come and chat with me about it here.