Get Into Shape for Change
We all receive messages throughout our lives telling us that the goal is to be somebody. We get it from all sides: the media, family, peers and even our own internal desires. I grew up thinking that if I could find the right track to get on I would be somebody, go somewhere and definitely be immune from trouble, despair and vulnerability. Right.
I want to stress: there is nothing wrong with goals or plans, in fact these are awesome! It is the tricky ways in which we often find ourselves buried under our aspirations rather than becoming them that it gets out of control. How many of you thought you needed to grow up and become someone like I said above? Weren’t you already someone? It took me many many years to realize I didn’t actually need to become anyone - I was already a pretty good one - I just needed the confidence to show the world the person I really was.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are”
For years I tried to out run, out study, out dress, and out verbalize my ownself. Yet, all these years later, after it all, I am still ME. Maybe this doesn’t shock you? But for me it was a major realization! I hear so many people say if they were thin, pretty, enlightened, funny, smart, had a significant other or a better job, were less anxious, richer, less fearful, had more gumption, blah blah blah they would THEN be happy. I hate it to break it you, but that ain’t the truth.
If we COULD magically change all the things about yourselves why wouldn’t we be happy? Because that would have to mean that we were damaged, or less than good enough to begin with. And hear this: you already are good enough!
Read this out loud to yourself when someone online, Instagram, IRL - at work, in your peer group etc. starts to make you question yourself:
“Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself until i first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself.” - Thomas Merton
WOAH. Right?!? I want to always love all of my mistakes (but dang when their consequences come knocking amirite!?!), all of my blemishes, perceived flaws, and most especially all of my fears and worries of inadequacy. They are the things that propel me forward, that keep it interesting and most importantly will connect us one to another. They are integral aspects of who I am.
I guess what I can truly wish is that I had learned younger, that I always remember now, and that I remind others whenever possible is that I long for integrity, meaning wholeness and authenticity and that I can only achieve that by reading my whole story, not skipping to the epilogue. I hope you read this today and feel your own fullness of who you already are. No matter what your life looks like, or what more you wish it could be. I would be remiss posting about outfits and style when I understand and myself have felt the theft of joy that comparison can be - can’t social media be so fun and also such a downer?
As much as I encourage you to embrace where you are have you ever wondered what was next? Loving ourselves wholly in the here and now doesn’t mean I don’t have goals, or things I want to better about myself - or that I am always prepared for what is right around the corner in my life. Just when I think everything in my life is semi under control, suddenly it’s not. Everything changes, that is the only constant.
It takes courage to stay interested - to be interesting - and to live an interesting life. You have to reinvent yourself over and over.” -Robin Fisher Roffer
Transformation doesn’t always come easily. Sometimes that is because like I touched upon above, the idea that we need change can be paralyzing in its realization that we are not yet where we want to be. Sometimes change is hard because it is within our nature as humans to resist change. Sometimes we don’t know where or how to start.
Because I have so often had to make changes (hey, I am cool about admitting it - loving ourselves blemishes and all right?!?) I have honed some skills I can share. There is no how-to manual, no one-size-fits-all solution, because each of our transitions are as unique as we are. But change will bring us closer to who we are already as we embrace and expand upon our own humanity.
Re-invention is not a re-do because we were inadequate the first time. It is an opportunity to redesign a part of our life we aren’t satisfied with yet. Isn’t that freeing?!?! Everyday I choose what to wear, what to do, and also have the opportunity to build on what I have already accomplished and the lessons I have already learned to chart a new journey.
“Don’t start your day with the broken pieces of yesterday. Every day is a fresh start. Each day is a new beginning. EVery morning we wake up is the first day of the rest of our life.”
Or, as Pitbull sings: “Everyday above ground is a great day, remember that.”
Ok, so where are we? Sometimes I ramble and have to refocus… let’s do that here…
you are great just as you are
buuuuuut that doesn’t mean we can’t want or need to make changes
you can hold both of those thoughts about yourself at once as complex and conflicting as they are
change is natural and so is the fear or trepidation that comes with making a change
Pitbull is basically a rap soothsayer
… and now we are ready to talk about implementing changes
When I look back on hard or pivotal changes I have made I realized the journeys often involved the same steps. Taking this process one step at a time is important. Especially if you are wearing the kind of heels I like to!
Here are my tips to taking a leap, and making it as energizing and exciting of an adventure/new beginning as it can be:
Knowing what outcome I want makes the process of change easier. But sometimes we don’t know - yet, or we learn more throughout the journey… So, here I suggest just looking for answers. Clear your mind. Allow that space in your mind to be used to harass and focus on the path you want to take. Remember to look at the big things in life, and reflect on what really matters to you. The day to day haze can make you look sight of the goals on the horizon. Much like Veruca Salt I am not patient…. I want it and I want it now (daddy) are words I have to hold back often! But here patience is your friend. Thinking about where we are going is more important that doing and getting there initially.
Making commitments is the next step. Why do most people make New Year’s, birthday or school year goals? I love the natural opportunity those time markers present to set up promises to myself - but newsflash!! you can decide on your dream at any time! Dreams, unlike shoes or anything else you wear, should be too big - that way you can grow into them! Once you have renewed idea of your goals and destination, you can begin making decisions that encourage happiness and help you get where you want to go! At this point passion and excitement should begin taking over to fuel you toward what you want in life, and enabling you to let go of what isn’t right for you anymore.
Frankie says it and I agree. Change will always take longer than expected. Accept now that you may have to change course en route to your final goal, or that you may have to stop and rethink as you progress. Explore and embrace new opportunities and challenges as they present themselves. Be gentle with yourself (hand wash and lay flat to dry). Do not give into perfection paralysis here! Transformation is a choice I make every day, moment by moment. Happiness is not a final end goal (although those DO feel great and may I suggest rewarding yourself with a new bag when you hit one?!?!) but the many places along the way where we experience our experiences and feel our feelings. Sometimes change is awesome. So awesome. There is a Dr. Seuss quote here from ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ I should add…
“Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest. Except when you don’t. Because sometimes you won’t.”
And that’s cool too, because a lot of the time change is messy and painful. And either way, all you can choose is how to react, and how to push through, and how to let those experiences serve to inspire you.
I have so much more to learn, and much of the above came from good therapists, and reading great books, and lots of talking to smarter/wiser/more deeply well rounded people than moi and lots of research but I hope each day I become a more courageous and graceful self and that I live the full length and width of my life.
The more I sink into myself, and dress like myself (see other pages on this website for help with thaaaaat) the more amazing things will get. How can you make your life more awesome? Can you discover new passions or possibilities? Can you let go of insecurities or comparing yourself to others? Can you use your uniqueness in a new way? Get out of your comfort zone and feel a future full of possibility? You don’t have to dress as zany and bright as me, but come walk on this bold side of life, it is up to you to put new life into the life you’ve already been living.
I remind myself all the time that the responsibility is mine to take a chance if I want anything in my life to change. Every chapter of your life will demand and present places for a different you. I try to embrace these changes, will still finding a way to love all the Bronwyns along the way. And much like Lady Gaga I am trying to…