This post is the fourth in my Self Awareness Sunday Series. In my last post, I shared how I came to have the courage to start this journey. Ironically, I mustered the courage I needed because I was afraid. My fear of being sick and of dying prematurely was stronger than my fear of honoring myself and becoming healthy. So I found the courage to put myself first and to become healthy. But how did I get there?
Finding the courage to put yourself first is hard sometimes. But, as hard as finding the courage is, there is something that you will also need every bit as much. You can’t do this alone – at least I couldn’t. You’ll need support. I mean real, honest to goodness, support. No matter what your journey, it necessarily leads to an improved version of yourself. Be forewarned: this will make some of your friends uncomfortable.
Let’s face it, whatever the catalyst was for your journey, you will be going through changes. Those who know you and love you are really happy with you the way you are! They probably don’t want you to change. What you will come to realize along your journey is why they are happy with you the way you are. Are they happy with the current you for all the right reasons? Or are they happy with the current you because you allow them to feel more self-confident for some reason? Those who are uncomfortable with your journey will try to sabotage you. It doesn’t mean they are bad people – it means they are uncomfortable and they’re afraid that you might leave them behind.
I didn’t immediately recognize my saboteurs. And, trust me, I’m not saying that your friends mean you any harm or even that they don’t want you to be successful. Since my journey began with my health and weight loss, my saboteurs constantly linked food to politeness or emotions. “Don’t you just want to try one tiny bite? So and so made this special for today – her feelings will be hurt if you don’t try it.” I also dealt with saboteurs who said “You’re eating that????” “What’s that taste like?” “How do you do that?” That’s the kind of sabotage I’m talking about. It’s well meaning, but sabotage none the less.
So how do you get through the hard days? They days when it doesn’t seem worth it? The days when you encounter more sabotage than you can handle? The days you messed up and think that maybe you ought to just give up? The days when you can’t remember why you’re doing this? The days when you feel like your current level of accomplishment is “good enough?” Who’s got your back on those days? You need a support system. It may come from any number of unlikely places. Your support system person or people will genuinely high five you to celebrate your efforts. They aren’t threatened by the prospect of you changing. And sometimes to find somebody who isn’t threatened by the prospect of you changing you may need to reach outside of your immediate circle of current friends.
For me, I was lucky to have a partner willing to take the journey to wellness with me. But also reaching outside of our immediate circle of friends – having our trainer who genuinely wanted us to succeed – was a great part of our support system. People we met at the gym were friendly and supportive and always there to share a kind word or their own story of struggle or success. These were the people that were our daily support system and who encouraged us genuinely. They reminded us why we were there and supported our dedication – even when we didn’t feel like being there. It was nice to hear that the lady who could have been a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model didn’t always feel like being at the gym either some days. But there she was.
So for me, support to find self awareness came from many places I didn’t expect and, many times, from people who weren’t my closest friends. They say that you are the average of the five people who you spend the most time with. So take a look around you – maybe one or more of those five people could benefit from the same journey you’re about to travel. Your best support is likely to come from somebody on the same journey at the same time, or from somebody who is ahead of you in their self awareness journey. If so, they might not immediately be the support system that will help you the most.