So, how many of us have a battle going on in our heads all. the. time? Like, "I shouldn't have eaten that!" "Why did I eat that?" "My trunk has wayyyy too much junk lately" " Eww, I can't show these legs in public" "I need to start a diet" "That other mom has had 3+ kids and probably wears a size zero. I hate her." "I need to starve myself and hit the gym for hours tomorrow" "I'm not allowed to eat that"I could go on...but you know already. You've heard those b*tchy little voices inside your own heads I'm sure.
Do you ever say these things out loud to yourself? Think them often? Well, your child is picking up on all of your self hatred. He/she can sense that you're not taking pride in yourself. They can tell if you are unhappy with yourself or if you are constantly having negative self-talk. It's teaching them to feel like they too will never be enough and let's be honest, since NOBODY is perfect, they certainly never will be (except in your eyes of course). So it's time to become more mindful of what you're saying AND thinking. Plus, how can you be happy if you have the negative committee meeting in your mind non-stop? Time for the negative committee to get fired stat.
Remember, you are enough just as you are, but if you want to improve upon yourself, you have to start by loving the body you are currently in. I know, you might be thinking, impossible! But maybe you can work on changing your own perspective.
About 2 months ago, I started having hand pain. It was the craziest thing, my hands just started aching one day. They felt...broken almost. I had trouble opening a can of soda and even folding laundry and it seemed to be getting worse by the day. I had no idea what was going on and went to a hand specialist. He was pretty much dumbfounded as well, but had some concern that I might be getting rhuematoid arthritis. Not what I wanted to hear.
My hips started aching next and that ache turned into excruciating pain. I could hardly walk at all. Sitting for long periods was torture, and walking was almost as bad. I was panicking now. Full blown panic mode freak out mania. My general practitioner gave me steroid injections and they helped immensely, but I was nowhere near normal. He referred me to a rhuematologist who did a lot of blood work. He said that I either have RA, or I have a viral arthritis.Only time would tell because RA is persistent and a flare should return if it was RA.
Meanwhile, I had trouble with every.single. daily activity. I could hardly change my daughter's diaper or get her meals ready because my hands felt broken. She had to go to daycare full time temporarily. My anxiety was in-tense to say the least. Every day without my daughter was torture and I was so scared about my future. I wondered if I'd ever get better or be normal again. It felt like a cruel joke was being played on me.
Over those 2-3 weeks of pain and anxiety, I found a glimpse of this incredible strength and hope and willpower inside of me that I never knew I had. I went to talk therapy and we discussed my fears and I faced them head on. It helped me to remind myself that I was spending most of my time worrying about what might happen if I never recovered, but the truth is, I had no idea what the future held and I was wearing myself out worrying about it. I decided to start taking one day at a time and I put myself first. I decided that if I ever wanted to be the wife, mommy, and person that I had previously been, I had to start taking care of myself.
I meditated and said lots of prayers. I took warm baths and iced my joints. I forced myself to stay off Web MD and I fell in love with this song that brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard it. As cheesy as it sounds, it WAS my fight song. It helped me decide that I was not going to be this victim. I was going to be a fighter and a survivor.
I started to get better and was finally able to walk to the mailbox, and then a whole block. I attended exercise classes for seniors, and I stretched religiously. I would look in the mirror and tell myself I could do this and that I was going to take back my life.
And after about 6 weeks, I did. Completely. I got better. I feel normal again. My rhuematologist believes it was viral, but said he could not promise me it wouldn't return and that if it did, perhaps it is in fact RA.
I have been "back to normal" for about 6 weeks now and I could sit around and worry about whether it will return. I could be afraid to get back to my normal gym classes. I could be afraid of what my future holds. But, I'm not. I feel grateful for every single thing that my body can do. I'm even grateful for those really tough days when my toddler throws tantrums and hits and bites me because I'm just so glad to be able to care for her again.
My point of telling this entire story is to remind us that sometimes in life, the things we can't change end up changing us. In this case, I realized that it's so important to be grateful for your body's abilities. So important to love and care for your body and your mind. You can overcome huge obstacles with willpower and positive thoughts. I don't pretend to believe that I "cured" my illness with willpower and positive thinking. I just survived my ordeal because of my willpower and positive thoughts.
So I challenge you today to write down (or list in your head) five things that your amazing body can do. If you are working towards improving your body, be realistic with yourself and don't demand perfection. Set the example for your children. Love your body, love yourself. Change your thoughts, change your life.