The 6-month check in … it is hard for me to believe that I have been doing this for half of a year. Time is funny sometimes in the sense that it feels like I just got started, but it also feels like I have been doing this for a much longer time. I believe it feels like I have been on this health journey for much longer because I already feel disconnected from who I was 6 months ago. I feel disconnected from that version of myself because there has been an internal shift in my thinking and how I have been operating. For the first time in my life, I have been consistently prioritizing myself and have not been apologizing for doing so. I have joked that I am in my “selfish era” but it is not selfish to take care of myself first. When you fly on an airplane, the explicit instructions in case of an emergency are to put your mask on first before helping others. I believe the same principle applies to life.
I have never been the top priority in my life, and I have always placed others’ needs before my own. This seems altruistic and sometimes the intentions were pure, but for the most part this has been because of my need to feel needed. I have placed all my value on what I can do for others and the role I play in their lives. If someone else did not see value in me or need me, then I was not of value. I have been trying to earn love by being perfect for everyone else for as long as I can remember. I have placed others’ opinions of me before my own, and built not only my self worth around that, but my entire identity. My entire identity has been built on how I am a “great friend” – dependable, always available, will drop everything for you, cheerleader, always there type of friend. Don’t believe me? Say that to the 13 bridesmaid dresses hanging in my closet.
Being everyone’s best friend but not a friend to myself just isn’t working anymore. It has brought me to a place of burnout and resentment, and it is the underlying stress that I cannot get rid of. I have tried many times in my life to set boundaries with others but end up giving in due to guilt and shame. Again, if my entire self worth and identity is wrapped up in how others view me…then saying no to take care of myself seems selfish, or worst of all, that I am a disappointment for not living up to the unattainable expectation I have placed upon myself to always be there for everyone. No wonder I am stressed.
When it was brought to my attention that we are at the 6-month mark, it filled me with a sense of panic. Yes, I was able to reflect on the positive changes that have happened, those things being: a healthy gut, intentional eating, consistent sleep, weight loss, less brain fog, improved period symptoms, and being able to rest without shame. These have been massive improvements to my life and it is easy for me to see the positive results. What filled me with panic though was the thought of pressure. Pressure to continue to have results and not disappoint people.
I have been feeling down the last month or so because I believe I have reached my biggest hurdle of all, the stress. For months Anya and Stevie have been working with me on how to eliminate stress from all aspects of my life, layer by layer. However, if I am being honest I have been dancing around the true source of my stress this entire time. My stress is entirely self- induced with my need to maintain my perfectly curated identity of others first. Sure, I have been saying no a lot more than I used to but with the caveat of the no’s being temporary. But I know that if I never want to return to this low point of health that I have been living in for the last few years, the no’s need to be permanent. I am not saying that I will never be there for people in my life again, but me being there will look different.
I feel like I have been in a mourning phase of losing “myself” and my identity. If I am not everyone’s best friend, constantly bending over backwards for others, and always being there…who am I? I am not trying to bring you down with my existential crisis, but I want to acknowledge how hard it is to evolve sometimes, even when you know it is for the best. It is hard to let go of who you have been to become who you want to be.
It is uncomfortable. There will be push back, slip ups, and questioning of whether or not you are actually doing the right thing. But if I have learned anything in the last 6 months, it’s that what was “working” in the past is no longer serving me, and that at times “right” will feel backwards or “wrong.” There will be moments of doubt, setbacks, and defeat – but in the end it feels so much better to try, than it does to sit in the same cycle wondering what would happen if I tried to break free.
I have written several versions of this particular blog post with the intention of only highlighting the positives that have come along over the last 6 months. I wholeheartedly want to acknowledge the victories because they are a big deal to me, and I am proud of the effort I have put in. Like, really proud. As you know though, I have promised myself (and you) that I will be transparent throughout this entire process. I knew if I wrote a piece only showing positive end results that I would feel like a fraud, that I was withholding part of my truth. But a victory in this journey is that I am not submitting the rainbow butterfly piece that I believe everyone wants from me. I am giving what I want to give, what feels authentic to me. This is a “me” I am just getting to know and a “me” that will be disappointing some people in my life who have benefited from my lack of self worth and boundaries. I’m not going to lie- that sucks. But it is also good. How? Because in order to truly eliminate stress from my life, I need to know who truly supports me versus those who have me in their lives because I do things for them.
This 6-month check in was the reality check I needed to keep my eye on the prize and to continue the hard work. I can be both proud of how far I have come and still want more progress. I am allowed to be disappointed that I am not as far along as I would like in some areas, and I need to acknowledge that so that I (with ALL the help at Companion Health) can continue to move forward.
To refresh, at the half-year mark my ultimate goal remains the same: pursuing health in all aspects, mind, body, and spirit. I aim to be at peace within myself, gain back self-trust, and ultimately show myself the love that I give to others, and deserve to feel towards myself. I plan to conquer the fear of trying or looking stupid, and being scared but doing it anyways. And look at myself in the mirror and know that I can confidently say I am giving my all and not settling for less.
Feelings this week: Nervous about how my not so positive 6-month review will be received.
Favorite moment from experience: Getting to reflect on the areas where there has been a lot of improvement, improvement that 6 months ago I did not feel was possible.
Something I am currently loving: Meeting and being my authentic self.
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