Friday, May 9, 2014

Who do you say you are?

Who do you say YOU ARE? I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the scripture where Jesus was asking Peter, “Who do you say I am?” I couldn’t go back to sleep and now, it’s about 5 a.m., I’m showered and dressed, and still can’t stop thinking about that question; not in terms of who God is, but rather, who do I say I AM?  Such an important question.

We all struggle with days where self-esteem, both low and inflated, threatens to rob us of our peacefulness. I am no exception. Yesterday was one of those unfounded “low self-esteem” kind of days, likely triggered by my anxiety over the magazine debut on Tuesday and the big keynote address I’m presenting tomorrow in Lansing. I woke up feeling bloated and puffy. I tried on three different pair of pants before I found one that was comfortable to wear because everything felt tight and binding. I’ve been faithfully sticking to my eating plan all winter, but the lack of activity and exercise due to the physical issues going on with my body and the harsh winter is taking its toll. When I looked in the mirror yesterday, I had an unrealistic perception of the image staring back at me. I saw glimpses of “Old Theresa” even though it was unfounded and I am sticking to my plan and staying within my allotted 10 pound safe zone. At that moment, if asked, “Who do you say you are,” I would have answered, “Fat.”  BAD way to start the day, Theresa!!!!

I stopped and had coffee with a friend on the way to work. He greeted me with a “You look really nice today.” This, of course, helped, but I immediately blurted out, “Thanks, but I feel puffy and fat.”  There I go again, threatening to sabotage my day!  BAD idea, Theresa!

 The negative thinking lingered on and off all morning but came to a head when a student in his 60’s came into my office for an appointment and greeted me with a “Are you getting fat again, Theresa?” I wanted to smack him, but they frown upon that at work  (LOL)….so instead, I responded defensively, ‘Nope, I’m working really hard to maintain my weight loss, but perhaps my loose fitting blouse makes it look like it.” Still, even though his words are unfounded, they stung as much yesterday as the hurtful comments I’ve heard from “mean kids” my entire life, and the negative impact of that rude remark lingered the rest of the day. I attempted to shake that conversation out of my mind the rest of the day because that is exactly the type of encounter that could sabotage my journey. Focusing on that one experience would have been a BAD idea on any day, but even more so now as I gear myself up to deliver that keynote speech  on Friday. I need to be on my game… I need to be confident…. I need to feel successful and in control, so that I can inspire and give hope to others.  I need to reprogram my thinking to the question, ‘Who do you say you are?” to a positive one.

Many of us have….or are dealing with issues of unworthiness. Perhaps we have failed so often in our journey that we have convinced ourselves that we are just a big, hopeless, loser. Perhaps we have made poor choices in the past and have yet to forgive ourselves. Perhaps we’ve been told so many times that we are stupid, ugly, fat, worthless….(whatever)….that we’ve come to believe it.  I grew up surrounded by people who supported me and helped build up my self-esteem, but somewhere along the way, I convinced myself that I somehow I deserved  the life of pain, obesity, sadness, and disability that I had created for myself. What a lie! No one deserves that, even those who have lead horrific lives and have been simply rotten people. We all deserve to feel happy, whole, and good about ourselves.

SO…one of the keys to success is choosing a different answer to the question. When you stand in the mirror and say, “Who are you”, instead of using words like fat, ugly, stupid, weak, worthless, or a lost cause….try “successful, winner, beautiful, a work in progress, full of hope, an achiever.”  Trust me, it’s not easy, but we will never, ever succeed if we don’t believe we can. We will never meet our goals if we think of ourselves as a failure. We will never feel good about ourselves if we think we are fat and ugly.

 It’ not easy for us to say or believe those things about ourselves….me included….and so it’s incredibly important to surround ourselves with people who will answer that question for us and will reflect the truth back to us. I never would have made it to this point in my journey had it not been for those wonderful people in my life, those dear friends who continue to see goodness is me, who continually lift me up when I’m down on myself, who continually remind me that my value isn’t defined by the scale or my pants size, that I was beautiful at 400 pounds and I am beautiful now. Get rid of those in your life that make you feel anything less or drag you down, because, good or bad, we all tend to believe what others tell us about ourselves. We tend to accept their answers when they tell us ‘who we are.”  Make sure those messages coming from others are positive and uplifting, so that when you feel down on yourself or struggle with your self-esteem, you have people who will remind you otherwise, even on days when you don’t believe it.

I printed off the flyer for my event at the Soaring Eagle Casino next Friday and my name on the program says, “Theresa Borawski – motivational speaker.”  I was glad to see that because, even though I often just think of myself as a girl with a miracle to tell, instead of “motivational speaker,” SOMEONE ELSE SAID I am a motivational speaker….and therefore… I am going accept that and stand in the mirror this morning and say, “YES, Theresa…..you are a motivational speaker……You are a miracle…..You look great and God will use you to inspire the crowd in Lansing.” I likely won’t believe it right away; I’ll likely have to keep telling myself that throughout the day, but it certainly is a better message than the “you are fat and puffy” that I was telling myself over and over.

And so….this morning…. I am answering the question for you. Who does THERESA say you are?  Theresa says….. “You are beautiful, regardless of your size or physical image; You are a winner, regardless of how you did this week on your program; You are capable, regardless of how bleak your situation is or how far you have to go to succeed; You are WORTH The Effort, regardless of how busy, hopeless, bleak, or lost you might feel.  Mostly, you are NOT ALONE on this journey.  I believe in you and I will be here with you each step of the way. Finally, YOU CAN….and you WILL….change your Life!