Friday, March 4, 2016

You are GORGEOUS!

It’s no secret that I am a fan of thrift store shopping. I purchased a new pair of pants a few months ago but just got around to wearing them yesterday. To my surprise, the slacks had a message written on the inside waist band that reads, “You are gorgeous.”  Every time I used the bathroom (which is at least a dozen times a day because I drink about a gallon-and-a-half of water daily) I was greeted with that message. What a wonderful thing!  Those three little words set the tone for the entire day and every time I saw them, I felt empowered and encouraged.

So many times when we begin a journey, try something new, or even face a struggle of some kind, we ‘think” we can do it; handle it; and/or get through it, but deep down, we don’t really ‘believe’ we can. Perhaps we have tried and failed before. Perhaps we have just set too lofty a goal or are attempting something that is nearly impossible. Perhaps we just physically, mentally, or emotionally are not capable of doing what we want……right now. More often than not, however, we simply don’t believe it, and don’t succeed simply because we received the message (or told ourselves) that, “we can’t….we won’t…we don’t deserve, and so forth”.  We’ve been told, either by others or our own thoughts, that, “You’re not good enough; you’re so stupid, you’ll never be able to do college work; you’re ugly…..fat…..unworthy….too old”…..the list is endless. Regardless of whether we received those messages from abusive or thoughtless people, mean kids or bullies, past teachers, or whether we’ve told ourselves these things because of our thoughts or past experiences, WORDS, spoken out loud or internalized, can empower us or hold us in bondage.

As a child/teenager, I had my share of ‘mean kids’ insulting me due to my size. I’ve been called names, excluded from things at school, and made fun of, but I didn’t grow up in a situation where I was verbally told that was worthless, stupid, or undeserving. And yet, somewhere along the way, I convinced myself that those things were true; that bad things that happened in my life (namely, losing my dad as a child) was because I was ‘bad”. In those difficult years after I lost my job and a couple of loved ones, I told myself those things and somehow convinced myself that I didn’t deserve to be happy or healthy. The words my mother often said “You’ve got to play the hand you were dealt, babe”, meant to empower me to be strong and handle whatever trials come my way, got twisted around in my subconscious and for a time became, “You’re fat; poor; alone; and can’t walk…that’s just the way it is, accept it and deal with it.” And so I thought that my reality at that time (400+ pounds, unable to walk, living in fear, depression, and despair) was my destiny, and there was no hope of a different way of life. I was so wrong! By the incredible grace of God, I learned that I didn’t have to play THAT hand. I had the power to “throw those cards back in’ and get new ones! God replaced the negative words in my mind to, “YES, you can….and YES, you will….and YES, you deserve to healthy and happy and free….and YES….I WILL HELP YOU!”  What a miracle!

Changing the “tape” that you play over and over in your head is not an easy task, but it can be done. In the beginning of my journey, I had to reprogram my thinking so that I could actually envision myself thinner, healthier, and able to walk. I did this by telling myself (both out loud and in my mind) that I COULD do this; that I WOULD show them; that God IS bigger than all that worries me; that I AM worthy. I did this in a variety of ways. I put sticky notes on my mirror that said, “I can and I will.” I changed my passwords to words that empowered me so that every time I logged into something I was reminded that God is great. I listened to music that was uplifting and motivating; Alicia Keyes, “This girl is on fire” is one of my favorites. I played that song over and over (still do). I embraced the words of encouragement that other people surrounded me with. I made up little chants/poems that I recited over and over as I walked. I think I shared one of my favorites: Thank you, Lord; Thank you Lord, You have set me free. Thank you, Lord; Thank you, Lord, for this Victory!  Another is: God, you are so wonderful. God, you are so great. God, you are so marvelous… I am losing weight!  Over and over throughout the day I say these in my thoughts and out loud.  Little-by-little, I began to believe that not only COULD I do whatever it is I set out to do, but with God’s help, I WOULD. 

In recent months, the ‘tape” in my head wasn’t nearly as empowering, and part of that was my own fault. I have caught myself more than once saying/thinking phrases like “I am just SO INCREDIBLY EXHAUSTED”; “I just can’t take on anymore”; “Theresa, you look OLD, and TIRED, and FAT”, and so forth. Definitely not words/thoughts of a winner. Fatigue, physical ailments, stress, worries, and emotional ‘stuff” sometimes causes us to fall into the trap of negative self-talk.  Fortunately, I recognized it and have been very careful in recent weeks about the messages I have giving myself.

While recognizing that I am still very weary, I started thanking God for giving me all the energy, stamina, and strength to get through each day. I thank God throughout the day for the food that I have to eat, instead of proclaiming, “I am SO hungry.”  I thank God for the all the weight that I ALREADY lost, instead of saying, “Theresa, your pants are tight and you are still so fat.”  Changing what we tell ourselves plays in big role in changing what we believe about ourselves, and changing what we believe is a big part of changing what we do.

Every time I saw those words, “you are gorgeous” on my waistband yesterday, I smiled and I walked out of the bathroom a little taller and with a bit more confidence. Saying/reading/seeing those words didn’t change my looks any, but it did change my THOUGHTS and put a smile on my face, and we all know that we look a lot better with a smile!  So, my friends…. I encourage you to start right now…..telling yourself THESE words, “YOU…..wherever you are…..whatever your situation…..whatever your size…..whatever your need….  YOU…..are wonderful; YOU….are worthy; YOU…..are made in God’s image; and YOU….CAN….and you WILL…..change your LIFE!

Have a great day!