Around eight years ago on a chilly December night, around 9 pm I could no longer sit in my warm room. I felt restless and panic struck. I wanted to be out in the open and so I darted to our terrace.
At first, the thought of stepping out in the cold breeze made me shudder but the very next moment I found myself standing outside in the open, gazing at the cold, dark, star-studded sky.
There was a sense of relief on that cold night. Something in me felt comforted after what felt like forever. My over-worked, tired body forgot its aches and pains and my mind for once felt at ease.
I was no longer worried about catching a cold.
I felt freer than I had felt in a long time.
I was glad that (at least in those moments) I was doing what I truly wanted instead of what I believed I should be doing.
I felt a strong longing for a different life. Nothing dramatic but something that would make me feel alive.
In my heart of hearts, I knew my life then, in no way resembled the life I wanted for myself.
But I was unable to grasp whether I knew of a way to break free.
I felt stuck.
To ease my discomfort, I started walking along the periphery of the terrace. At first, for the first few rounds, I was walking looking at my feet, shivering in cold.
As time passed and I felt comfortable in my own company, I noticed my body loosen up. I felt the desire to straighten up, look straight and watch my pace.
The next thing I knew, I was walking briskly almost to the beat of my racing heart.
For the most part, I felt too numb to notice anything.
I could for the first time in that hour (or longer) hear my thoughts again.
Gradually, when I started feeling calmer and relaxed, my mind started registering the hurt, the pain I had been hiding within.
I could see the many ways I was running from taking care of myself.
I could see how I resisted asking for help simply because I didn’t want to be an inconvenience to anyone.
I could hear a murmur rise in my system that I wanted to break free from the cage I had built around myself.
The prison I had trapped myself in to feel safe was now forcing me to shrink in ways my spirit wasn’t ready for.
I could feel it in my bones that I could not go at my current pace any longer.
Not a day, not an hour, not a moment longer.
I had to do something.
I didn’t quite know what that would be, but I was willing to figure it out.
Later that night when I returned to my room, my daughter was fast asleep and the whole house was silent.
With the gentle humming of the refrigerator in the background and my heart pounding loudly in my ears, I made the decision, that I will break free.
I will figure out a way to create a life where I would no longer feel like I didn’t recognise the person whose life I was leading.
I felt willing to take whatever help I needed to make that happen. It was a big shift for me because asking or taking were things I had grown up learning were the things I was not meant to do.
I was raised to believe that it was only in giving and sacrificing ourselves lay our best selves.
But that day was different.
For many nights in a row, I walked the terrace the same way.
Circling along the periphery made me feel like a caged tigress.
I didn’t know if I could have in any way influenced the way my past had turned out but I was certain I was born with the capability of making my future better than my past.
I was certain that I had to start working right then to bring about that change.
My life was in a rut.
I was working crazy hours, was negligent of my health, had no clue about what I ate or how much I rested. My relationship with my little daughter was rough because of my habit of yelling and my finances were nowhere near secure.
I knew I had a lot of fires to put out, a lot of learning and unlearning to do to get at ground zero.
In my mind, the baseline was set at a point where I would transform myself and my life to a point where I felt my daughter was in a place where she was being raised in a healthy, safe and nurturing environment.
Seeing her mother (who is her only parent) struggle, be sick, overworked, cranky and inept at managing her emotions was no way close to the life I wanted for my daughter.
I had a vast variety of options and directions I could go in.
In hindsight, I can see how I acted was living proof of what my true priorities were and have always been.
Unlike most people who work on the most obvious issues on the surface like getting their finances straightened first then working on their health and the last if there is time, energy and willingness on their relationships, I started with what troubled me the most.
My relationship with my daughter and myself.
Irrespective of what area of your life you decide to tackle first, it is like holding one of the four corners of a carpet. The minute you lift it and give it a blow you’ll notice a disturbance in the air and something similar happened in my life too.
My lifting the carpet moment was taking a closer look at my perennially angry self. I was curious what was the source of my anger.
I wanted to know what was feeding it. And that day marked the start of a revolution in my life that is still very much part of my current existence.
The many lessons I learned along the way of transforming myself, my health, my relationships and more, laid the foundation of the coaching business I started last year.
In my online coaching program for women, I coach women on how to get untamed, unlearn the conditioning to Be Healthy Be You in their body, mind and spirit to become the leaner, healthier and calmer version of themselves.
Learn to take what you need
I know, I know, it can get uncomfortable, itchy and even unsettling to even consider the notion of taking – especially if our identity is all rolled-up in being a giver and being helpful.
But taking what we need isn’t about robbing someone of something.
It’s not asking ourselves to suddenly only care about ourselves.
It’s not saying that we’ll become a ‘taker’.
But it does require us to stop making ourselves so accessible when we have unmet needs.
Those needs of ours?
They deserve space.
We are important and we deserve space too.
Brushing needs under the carpet doesn’t make them go away. It might quieten them for a spell but eventually, they’ll scream so loudly that we won’t have a choice but to heed them.
Whether that be a niggly ache that turns into a full-blown need for urgent medical care.
That daily stress builds and builds until we can’t get out of bed.
The healthy-for-us changes that we put on hold until things quiet down, eroding our sense of life-satisfaction causing irritability and resentment.
All of the stuff that we internalise that one day bubbles up like a volcano causing us to let rip with the biggest rant-vomit we’ve ever seen or heard.
All of the ways, in all of the days, that we don’t choose ourselves.
Ignoring those unmet needs is akin to ignoring a warning light in our car which tells us it’s running low on fuel or taking no notice of a one-way road sign in the road and hoping for the best.
Taking what you need means you always have more to give.
Whatever you give yourself multiplies exponentially.
When your needs are met, you smile more easily and more authentically. When your needs are heeded, you have better bouncebackability.
When your needs are given space, life looks and feels better, all around.
It’s like a precious, valuable, self-gift that’s just sat there ready and waiting for you to pick it up and be present with it.
Inspiring all of those around you to do the same.
Take what you need!
Are you ready to create next-level results in becoming your leaner, healthier and calmer self?
I want to invite you to join my Be Healthy Be You program where you’re going to lose weight, be done with the struggle and know exactly how to maintain and enjoy those results with unapologetic confidence. It’s time to stop dreaming about the results you want and start enjoying them.
If you’re at the start of your weight loss journey, begin with the strategies that have helped lose 60 pounds and that I teach my coaching clients to achieve sustainable results. Take the FREE Weight Loss Ownership Course.