A few blogs back in Acorns to Oaks #6 – My Journey to Self Care Part 1, I let you in on my history and life experiences that led me to my doctor telling me a week before my 40th birthday that, if I carried on living and eating the way I was, there was no way I would see 50. These days however, I very much plan on being around until I’m at least 85!! And, if recent tests on my cholesterol, heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugars are anything to go by, I should get there! At the end of Part 1 I promised you that I would write a Part 2 about how I made such massive changes in my life that I lost 9 stone in weight, reversed a number of health conditions and prognoses, and became a much more relaxed and healthy person.
I’m 44 this coming Monday so I thought it would be a fitting time to write Part 2, 4 years to the week my doctor delivered the kick up the backside I needed. I think when I made you that promise, I was myself envisaging an almost ‘how to’ guide, listing my changes and how I did it all. And maybe that’s what you were/are expecting too. However, I then realised that my message is actually a lot simpler than that and to create a ‘how to’ would not serve any purpose at all really. Why? Well, simply put, my change is not your change, so my how to will not be your how to.
However, through my coaching and social work, I’ve come to learn that there is one very vital ingredient that MUST be present for change to happen, and I was again reminded of this yesterday when working with a client. It’s not a secret ingredient, but it does often take us a while to realise its importance, and include it in the mix. It’s so important in fact that I truly believe that without it being the focus of any change work, it’d be like making a BLT without the bacon…it just doesn’t work!
There is a saying, ‘be the change that you want to see in the World’. I’ve always thought this was powerful but I also think that a more useful perspective to start with is, ‘be the change you want to see in you’. And that’s it, that’s the missing ingredient in so many of people’s goals, plans and actions; ourselves. Or more to the point, INVESTMENT in ourselves.
I sit in my slimming club sometimes and I hear people saying that they want to fit in to this dress, or that coat, or to look good in those wedding photos. I hear clients saying that they want to stop smoking for a child or someone else’s health. I read that people want to change how they look or speak or what they do to fit other people’s views or desires. But what I rarely see or hear people saying, which is far more important and thus far more effective is, ‘I’m doing this for me. Because I’m worth taking a chance on. Because my health is at important. Because my happiness is a priority too’. All those other things can be instigators of change but rarely motivators of maintained change. But when I do hear those terms of self investment, when I said and felt them myself, that is when remarkable change happens, and did happen.
It took someone telling me I was going to die for me to actually decide that I wanted to live, and not only that I wanted to live but that I wanted to live in a way that wasn’t stressful and meant I thrived rather than just survived. It was ONLY when I invested in myself that things changed. And it’s only through this continued investment that I continue to maintain those changes. I haven’t done this all by myself; I’ve been to counselling to help me deal with some personal issues; I invest in Supervision at work; I went to a slimming club; I went to my Dr; and I took advice and support from friends and family. But they couldn’t make me love me for me, and invest in me. I had to learn to do that myself for myself.
Investing in myself has meant that I am now physically fit and healthy. It means I am prioritising and promoting self care. It means that I’ve taken massive leaps of faith in setting up SlimFit5k and Acorn Academy Coaching, through which I am successfully helping others make changes, and to achieve goals and results in their lives. It means that I am a better Mama, Wife and Social Worker because I am more relaxed, refreshed, energetic and motivated to suck absolutely every drop of marrow out of life. And it means that I am no longer willing to engage in narcissistic and abusive friendships or family relationships. I am currently in the very long process of handing someone back the pain and shame of their behaviour towards me in the past, and it is honestly one of the most freeing things I have done, despite the often difficult fallout.
And all of this was only possible because I decided that I was worth something. That I did not have to be the sum of my past, my genetics and my experiences. That I could, and would, be me; someone who is going to live to the ripe old age of at least 85 and will only hit the coffin after a long sideways slide and dazzling shimmy toward it!
Next time we’ll look at how our perspectives play a massive part in our change journeys, and how to harness that to further self investment and self care. For now though….Be the change you want to see in you. Start today. Start investing in you for you.
Rachel Baker – Acorn Academy Coaching for Growth & Wellbeing. www.acornacademycoaching.wordpress.com. firstname.lastname@example.org. 07523 830377 Please contact me for a free 30 minute chat if you’d like more information about life, growth & well being coaching and how to invest in yourself.
Thank you to Google Images for the pics in this blog.