“Change occurs when the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of change.” – Unknown
When will we begin to learn that sometimes our comfort zones aren’t as comfortable as we think? Stepping outside the boundaries we set for ourselves can definitely be a painful experience. But what’s more painful? The temporary discomfort of expanding your boundaries to taste, touch, and feel new things? Or looking beyond those walls from the inside wishing and hoping for the perfect moment to seize the day?
I am 28 years old and have lived the majority of those years in fear. The fear of failing, looking silly for not getting something right the first try, fear of succeeding and having to live up to the greatness and responsibilities of success. The fear of being looked at as lazy and unaccomplished.
I struggled with pain and the lack of self-confidence of being overweight. Being overweight was a symptom of the fear that I was living in. I was afraid to eat well because I didn’t believe that I was able to have the self-control to do so. I felt that I was too fat and inexperienced to go to the gym. I even hated being outside because I was always so hot and uncomfortable in my own skin and clothes.
A little over a year ago I decided enough was enough. For the first time in my life I decided it was time to actually begin living. I started off small by taking walks and incorporating healthier foods into my diet. Once I realized how good it felt to be outside and see new things, I was unstoppable. I began getting into shape, but still wasn’t happy with my insides. I felt insecure, judgmental and ungrateful for starters. I wanted to be a positive, loving person, but I had to start from the inside in order for it reflect on the outside.
Coming to terms with the fact that I needed to relearn how to love myself and reshape the conversations of my inner monologue was not easy. It has taken me many hours of meditation, journaling, writing, and therapy. At first I thought there was no way that I would be able to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself that I deserve to be happy. Let alone believe it.
Those practices became habit, and habit turned into truth. I can tell you right now that today I am confident that I deserve to be happy, and I am happy. This happiness has stemmed from being grateful for the things that I have right now in this moment, and being mindful of my feelings.
Mindfulness is a great practice that everyone should focus on. When I became aware of the positive and negative emotions, it helped me get into touch with my inner most strengths and insecurities. When I recognized my strengths, I was able to grow those and build confidence. When I recognized my insecurities, I was able to self-soothe and face them head on to sort them out in a healthy way.
I have begun to be able to identify situations that induce anxiety, fear, stress, anger, etc. As soon as I feel any of those emotions coming along, I ask myself “what is causing this and what can I do to put this feeling at ease?” It can happen in a split second, so it is important to begin identifying trigger points and begin self-soothing right away.
It is just as important to identify situations that bring joy. I know how hard it can be to take a situation for granted and not luxuriate in that moment. Getting into the practice of taking a moment to breathe in the air, listen to the sounds around you, taste the entirety of your food or drink will ensure that you are living in the moment. There is nothing more important than having gratitude for the things that you are doing in the NOW.
Life is now because tomorrow is not promised. Embracing the joy and the sorrow, the love and the pain, the luxuries and the struggles is to truly be alive. Let yourself feel. If you are afraid, recognize that, but move on. Do not let yourself stop yourself from experiencing life’s riches.