6 Degrees of Separation

If you’ve been following me for a while you may have noticed I focus more on worthiness, self love, authenticity, and accountability than I do about food, calories, macros, exercises, motivation, etc. My education is in these practical things, but I know that telling people about calories, macros, exercises, etc. doesn’t do a damn thing unless a person is ready to change. What I have learned over the years as I’ve worked with clients is I can talk until I’m blue in the face about a healthy diet and lifestyle, but if someone doesn’t believe they are worthy of the work that it takes to change their body and their health… my energy is wasted. Because let’s face it – change is hard… even good change. So, instead of focusing on “eat this, not that” (which is important, and I definitely want to share that knowledge), I focus a lot on the “why” behind all of our decisions… because believe it or not, there is a reason for every decision we make – conscious or not.

Disordered eating ranging from binge eating to starvation and everything in between, addictions, unhealthy and self-sabotaging behaviors are never about the food, substance, or behavior… instead they are about filling a void in our lives… and that void is not a lack of cheesecake. 😉 I believe that void is connection. We’re missing connection with others, connection with our Creator, connection with ourselves. We’ve learned to put up a facade of who we think others want us to be, we’ve learned suppress feelings of loneliness, we’ve learned to take on the weight of the world ourselves instead of letting God carry our burdens for us, we’ve learned to ignore the signals our body is telling us when something is “off” in ourselves or in our environment. Instead of fixing the thing that is the actual cause for our uneasiness, our pain, or our dissatisfaction, we focus our attention on exterior things such as making our bodies look a certain way, or eating X amount of Calories, or working out X times per week, or having drinks with friends to feel some sort of social connection, or having drinks by ourselves to take the edge off, or purchasing a new X to make us feel good, or we work too much or create busyness in our lives to leave little to no time to do the things that actually make us healthy and feel good….  the list could go on and on… by taking to focus off of what’s really missing in our lives, we redirect it to things we can control or things we can indulge in, and we avoid doing the work that it takes to truly satisfy us in our souls and will ultimately bring us joy. It’s much easier to focus our attention on others or the outside world, than it is to sit in our feelings and emotions… because often times we just don’t know what to do with them. Even feelings of happiness can cause us discomfort, because there may be an underlying fear that it will all go away… so, we don’t even let ourselves experience true joy. Instead we go through life finding temporary pleasures and chasing after “someday”… I know this, because I lived this life for many years, so I can say it from first-hand knowledge.

My latest blog post has stemmed a lot of reactions… I’ve had a lot of public, and private, messages from people thanking me for being honest about some of my struggles. (If you haven’t read the original post, you can read it here) The overwhelming response has been “I wish I would’ve known, so I could’ve been there for you” and “thank you for being so bold… it has helped me with {blank}”. I had no idea these would be the responses I would get when I posted it. To be honest, I was scared to post it at all, and I almost didn’t… I was afraid of being judged, I was afraid of people talking about me behind my back, I was afraid of people thinking less of me if they knew where I came from. I’ve built a good life for myself, and honestly I could’ve gone the rest of my life without anyone really knowing my story. I could keep up the facade that I’ve got it all together all the time, but that is exhausting and isolating. Most people only see the “polished” side of me… which I think is normal, especially in the age of social media. I know I don’t like to post the ugly selfies (you know what I’m talking about) 😉 lol… and I don’t post every little thing that goes wrong in my life either. Which is okay… I don’t think it’s necessary to air all of our dirty laundry for everyone to see, but the problem with only exposing the cleaned up parts of our lives is… it makes us feel alone in our “mess”. We feel like others will judge us for not having our shit together all of the time. We feel inadequate because we’re comparing our real lives with the edited version of everyone else. I know that’s how I’ve felt most of my life. I believe this feeling of inadequacy and shame is the root cause for a lot of the troubles we have with our health today… which is why it’s important to me that I share this perspective…

When we feel alone in our struggles, no matter what they may be… it makes us feel as though no one could possibly understand what we’re going through. That the thoughts we have are somehow abnormal. That there is something wrong with us. We are broken. These feelings of isolation and inadequacy causes us to seek comfort in other things such as food, booze, sex, exercise, shopping, etc… we try to find something that will take us out of our struggle, and give us some pleasure. The problem is, that pleasure is temporary… and afterwards we are left with our original struggle, and possibly shame or guilt for consequences from our actions. For example, if we turn to food for pleasure, we beat ourselves up for overeating… causing more shame… more self-loathing… which leads to more self-sabotage. It’s a vicious cycle.

So, how do we fix this? There is a theory that everybody and everything in the world is linked together in 6 or fewer connections… “a friend of a friend” can draw a line between any 2 people on earth in 6 or fewer steps. This theory may seem unreal considering there are over 7.6 billion people that occupy this planet, but today, especially, with social media… I’d say this theory is more likely to be true than ever…. but, we all know that the number of Facebook friends we have is not a representation of truly having people in our lives, but it is evidence that we are not alone. So, we have to do the work to make connection. We do this by removing the facade that we’ve got it all together all of the time, and admitting that we’re not okay sometimes… we need to find our people. The people that will lift us up when we fall, that will listen when we speak, that will sit with us in our struggle, and that will celebrate us in our successes… and even let them help us at times. (Gasp!) These people can come from unexpected places, so we have to be intentional about finding them. We need to connect with our Creator by letting Him carry the load for us, and fighting our battles for us. We need to connect with ourselves by quieting the “noise” of the world, moving our body, and listening to it when it tells us what is good for us or bad for us… instead of listening to marketing or what society says is “normal”. By having a TRUE connection with others, with God, and with ourselves we are less likely to do the things that cause us to feel shame and alone… instead we find peace, and feel joy.

This week has been eye opening for me… what I’ve learned from this experience of being vulnerable is… I am not alone in my struggles. Not everyone has had the exact same struggles as me, but struggle is struggle. So often we look at others and think they have it so easy, that they don’t have to work as hard as we do to be successful at something. That we are somehow inadequate and broken, and that these “perfect” people won’t support us in our trials… but that simply isn’t true. I believe people inherently want to do good in the world, they want to help others because it makes them feel good themselves… When we bottle everything up inside we rob them of the opportunity to do something that feeds their soul, and to make them feel connected with us… because they know deep down that they are not perfect either. By being honest and saying “Hey, this is hard for me” we allow others to show us grace, and to give us the support that we need, and that makes them feel connected to us… a win-win. By creating connection we hold ourselves accountable for our actions, and we begin to make better choices, inherently… we are only as sick as our secrets.

So, if living a healthy, happy, and thriving life is your ultimate goal… be bold. Be authentically you…. and connect – with others, with God, with yourself. Instead of looking for something or someone that will bring you temporary pleasure… learn to accept yourself exactly where you are, speak your truth, and realize that you are not alone… in any way. By doing this you will learn to love the person you are, because you will see you are not any more “broken” than anyone else… You will learn to give yourself the compassion that you give others in their struggles. You will begin to believe that you are just as worthy of a joy-filled life as anyone else. Your life will transform… trust me, I know first-hand. 😉 We are all connected… possibly within 6 degrees of separation or less. 😉

Let me know your thoughts!

-Stacie

https://www.facebook.com/mountain.stacie/

https://www.instagram.com/stacie.mountain/

https://www.fit911chickpersonaltraining.com/

 

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