Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘weight’

How to Stop Letting Numbers Define You

Numbers Lie some shape or form, every one of us lets numbers define us, and the image is always a false one. Think you’re immune? Let’s find out.

Do you step on the scale regularly, allowing the numbers to raise or lower your spirits?

Do you refrain from certain activities or social events because you think you’re too old? Or too young?

Do you aspire to a certain pants size and feel disappointed when you’re not there yet?

What about test scores?

Or IQ?

Let’s not stop there. What about the numbers that command you? Clocks, speed limits, “now serving…”, telephone numbers, street addresses, even the invisible stall number in the bathroom at the gym where you always head without even thinking about it.

And if you sit at a computer or use a smart phone at any time during the day—you guessed it! Numbers are behind the programming that allows you to execute a program or launch an app.

The truth is, we couldn’t get away from numbers in our lives if we tried. But we don’t have to allow them to define us either.

The Shape You’re in is the Right Shape for You are not whatever number appeared on the scale this morning. We are more than just the inches in height people use to decide whether we’re short, tall, or average. Our life path isn’t determined by either of those numbers unless maybe you’re a super model. They’re merely distinguishing characteristics, with no hidden meaning, any more than the color of our eyes or the texture of our hair.

Sure we can’t change our actual height, but anyone who has dieted knows, though at times, it might be tough, most of us can change our weight. Are we a different person as a result? Maybe in our own minds, but really? Has the beautiful soul who lives inside our skin changed because we gained or lost a few pounds? Of course not!

Yet every day people allow themselves to be defined by those numbers, those arbitrary measurements of attractiveness which don’t tell a thing about the heart and soul of the person defined either favorably or unfavorably by those figures.

Averages Are Not Real

I get on the scale every morning, and it tells me not only my weight but my BMI. What it doesn’t, and can’t take into account is that though I’m in the “obese” range for my height and weight, more and more of my weight (and most notably in my arms and legs) is muscle. It weighs more than fat, so it tilts the scale further to the right, but I’m willing to bet there’s a whole lot less fat on my body than many who are my height and weight.

Yet every day, women especially are negatively impacted by the numbers on their scales, or the years in their lives, or other facts and figures some “expert” has decided is outside the normal range. Screw normal! It’s nothing more than a setting on older washing machines. It’s not a desirable aspiration. We were all meant, not to be normal, but to be extraordinary. As soon as you realize and accept that, the numbers will matter less and less.

Y B Normal?

Case in point. I have a friend for whom many of us put the word “Tall” before her name to differentiate her from others with the same name. Recently, she told me that she doesn’t like being defined like that, and it brought me up short. Of course she doesn’t like it. It makes her sound like she’s abnormal, which she is not. She is a beautiful, statuesque, graceful woman with a brilliant mind and a dancer’s body. She takes good care of herself, has a multitude of interests, and scores of friends who love her for the person she is, not whether her numbers are within the normal, acceptable range that between you and me, is pure crap anyway.

Could you imagine a world where we were all within a couple of inches of the same height? Where our bodies were the same shape and weight? (it would put the scale manufacturers out of business since nobody would need a scale to know they were right there in the normal range). I love it when someone who would be deemed outside that range absolutely rocks their body, whether it’s someone I see out and about, or up on the screen. And clothing companies would no longer need to design for women seeking to hide or augment certain features. We’d truly be a one-size-fits-all world. If you ask me, that’s the very definition of boring.

Getting Motivation From Women Brave Women

I watched a movie recently which co-starred Rebel Wilson (Fat Amy of “Pitch Perfect” fame). She is as far the currently accepted version of body normal as possible, but she totally owns her size and shape. Not only does she own it, she makes it work for her by making her stand out from all of the cookie cutter, gorgeous, skinny girls in Hollywood. Those may be a dime a dozen, but there is only one Rebel Wilson, and boy, is she an inspiration to us all. We need to pay attention to women like her instead of those who got in with their looks first.

I’m not saying that those gorgeous women are any less talented or hard-working. I admire the hell out of Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Keira Knightly, and quite a few others. We just need to realize those who are admired for their looks not only work damn hard at what they do, but also to keep those perfect figures.

In the article about Ms. Wilson I linked above, she says something quite profound that I’ve said myself on many occasions. Like me, she’s healthier than many of the “twigs”. She exercises regularly and eats healthy most of the time so she has the energy to keep up with the life and lifestyle she’s chosen.

In my case, it’s dancing. I need to keep myself healthy and my joints well oiled so I don’t have to sit on the sidelines while everyone else dances. (and so I can dance with those crazy younger men who put me through every pace I have and a few I didn’t think I did in the space of a two-step song or two!)

Skinny Isn’t Always Healthy see young women who would blow over in a mild So Cal breeze nibbling on plates of cucumbers, little realizing they’re depriving their bodies of important nutrients, and asking for health issues as they age. When they dance, they tend to conserve energy, and only last a dance or two before they’re back at their table nibbling those cucumbers. Meanwhile, the 50-, 60-, 70-, and 80-somethings are out there dancing every line dance, most of the couples dances, and a fair share of two-steps for three or four hours at a time, several times a week.

Sure, we all watch our weight, but not fanatically. We eat healthy meals most of the time, allow ourselves to deviate at now and then, and get off our butts regularly to play sports, lift weights, walk, and of course, dance. Some like me wish they’d known then what we know now, but it’s never too late to appreciate what you have, stop living by the numbers, and take care of the slightly battered version of what’s left. There’s still plenty of mileage in a body that’s taken several decades of turns around the Sun, and the first step in preserving what’s left is to appreciate it as it is. After all, we take better care of the things we appreciate don’t we?

Treating ourselves like trash starts with believing that the numbers matter; height, weight, age, clothes size. When we stop letting those numbers hold any weight, we learn to love and appreciate our meat suit and all it allows us to do. It’s up to you. Are you gemstones or trash? Choose wisely.

Finding Something To Be Grateful For, Not Just Every Day, But Every Minute

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for people like Rebel Wilson who show women that “perfect” ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
  2. I’m grateful I learned to appreciate my body with all its imperfections before it was too late to undo the damage I did as a feckless youth.
  3. I’m grateful for all I’m able to do because I nurture myself.
  4. I’m grateful for a life where stress is, if not non-existent, at least manageable through diet, exercise, and most of all, connection.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, health, energy, acceptance, joy, dancing, inspiration, motivation, support, connection, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Dreams Plus Morning Pages Equals Inspiration

Inspired By My Dreams

I’ve often paid attention to my dreams. As vivid as they can be, it’s often hard to ignore them. I learned early on they contain messages if I take the time to look beneath the surface. Since initiating the practice of writing morning pages (a kind of three-page, longhand journal) first thing in the morning. I’ve become much better at figuring out those messages.

The latest episode contained messages that weren’t obvious from the context, but instead, made my mind wander back to my childhood while recounting the dreams. What I discovered was one of those “aha moments” when something finally becomes clear.

Blocks Inside Blocks’ve talked a lot about searching for my money blocks, and was convinced they had a lot to do with all my parents fights about money. But as I wrote about a dream which took place in the house where I lived between the ages of 12 and 18, I discovered something more. I remembered digging through my mom’s purse to find loose change that had fallen out of her wallet, usually so I could go to Thriftymart and indulge my unhealthy passion for nickle candy bars. (Yes, kids, there was a time when you could buy a full-size chocolate bar for a nickel!)

I realized my feeling of lack, both for money and food (which by the way, was never a problem in our household) stems from my own behavior as a child. If I dig a little deeper, I’m pretty sure I used food as a substitute for the love I wasn’t getting, though I never connected the two at the time. I guess I believed my parents loved me. They just had a funny way of showing it. Or not so funny, really, as it’s given me some rather skewed ideas which I’ve unwittingly incorporated into my own life…until now.

Stop Justifying Self-Sabotaging Behavior

Suddenly, I have both a major money block and a reason for my self-sabotaging behavior with food all rolled up into one neat little package. But of course, life isn’t that simple, and rarely comes to us neatly. More often than not, it’s a convoluted mess of intertwining events, much like my dreams. Yet I know I’ve finally cracked the seal on some deep-seated memories and blocks. Like the feelings I unearth as I open the Pandora’s Box I so ignorantly and innocently packed them away in, unlocking the source of my money and weight blocks is a HUGE accomplishment.

I can’t wait to see what comes next, or how it arrives. I’ve learned sometimes the road to self discovery is agonizingly slow, like molasses in winter. Others, it’s a mad rush as I scramble to escape the deluge of a winter storm after the hills have been denuded of growth by the annual California wild fires.

Disentangling the Money-Food-Love Connection

Yet the idea of money equals food equals excess weight equals love keeps bouncing around in my head I go through my week, socializing, going to the gym, embarking on a program paid for by my insurance company designed to help me manage my weight. I know that until I get the issue of money-food-love resolved in my head, no matter how healthy my eating habits (and lately, with the return of a herniated disc, it’s never been so healthy! Pain is almost as strong a motivator as our need for love.) I’ll find a way to, albeit unintentionally, sabotage my progress.

Even now, I go to the gym regularly, dance often, and because I’ve improved my eating habits, I have more energy, yet, I’ve bounced in the same 3 pound range for weeks now.  I know now the heart of the matter is my unresolved issues with love. Not with giving it, but with receiving it; with believing deep in the cockles of my heart I deserve to receive love.

Recognizing Our Progress, No Matter How Small

Though I’ve yet to successfully scale that mountain, I’m seeing progress in seemingly unrelated ways. My dreams and meditations are more intense, but also yield some helpful insights. I’m connecting more with people on many levels. Not only have I become part of a small group of dancers who are getting out and doing other things like movies and museums together, I’m connecting with people on a much deeper level, both online and face-to-face. I’m listening to other peoples’ hopes and dreams, successes and challenges, and allowing myself to feel both their elation and their discouragement without intellectualization or judgement.

I don’t mean I’m opening up all of my protections and allowing those feelings to overwhelm me. Yet I am allowing connections, especially with other Empaths and HSP’s to form naturally and unfettered by my own preconceived notions.

Purpose, Like Social Mores is a Moving Target

In the process, I’m seeing the purpose I searched so hard to find, and only found when I stopped and allowed it to arrive in its own way, is expanding. Initially, I saw it as opening the doors of communication between society in general and people who experience depression, suicidal thoughts, and mental health issues. I need to help people understand that all too often, help isn’t sought because of the stigma attached to admitting you need help in the first place. Far too many of us have grown up feeling we’re on the outside looking in because we couldn’t make our insides match the outsides people expected of us.

We live in a society that preaches “suck it up, buttercup” whenever we dare express feelings that aren’t aligned with some arbitrary norm which is, at best, a moving target. We believe we’re alone in finding it difficult to cope; to be strong and happy all the time; to be able to shove those nasty feelings out of the way and be responsible humans. The truth is, we all wear masks, and those of us who struggle the most are the ones who often, unbeknownst to us, are feeling not only our own inability to match the outside with the inside, but everyone else’s too.

Like Attracts Like

I told someone recently that at least 95% of my social circle are Empaths, HSP’s or both. In some ways, I that estimate is low. And I’m adding more people, and consequently, Empaths and HSP’s to my circle of friends and acquaintances almost daily now.

When I first started talking about my parents’ suicides, people began opening up about their own experiences; often people I’d known for years, and even decades.

Even before that, my home, though frequented by a select few, and not always  because of my own selection process, were typically people who unknowingly discovered that while inside, they were shielded from a lot of the emotional and energetic “noise”; people who were unrecognized Empaths and HSP’s. Even now, there are some who know they can come here when they need a time out from the world and even their own families. The truth is, I learned how to filter out a lot of the painful and difficult emotions people can’t help exuding.

Advocating, But Being Flexible About Who and What

I’ve discovered my advocacy, if you will, isn’t limited to those who’ve been affected, be it first-, second-, or third-hand by depression, suicide, or mental illness. It extends to the Empaths, the HSP’s; the Lightworkers as a whole because all too often, their sensitivity is at the root of depression and suicidal thoughts and actions.

Some self-medicate, others, the rare few, seek professional help. Some of them find medication helps them live “normal” lives. I learned the hard way many would benefit from simply knowing how to filter out the noise that’s causing them so much pain. Even more, they need to be able to differentiate between the their own emotions and conflicts, and those of the people around them.

All Empaths Are Not Created Equal

Even there, the circumstances and abilities differ. Some feel only those in their immediate vicinity. Others are so connected to family and loved ones, distance isn’t a factor. Then there the ones like me. We have, for better or worse, a direct connection to the Universal Energy Field. It means that unless we’ve learned to create our own personal filter, we are bombarded by emotions from anywhere on the globe, regardless of whether we’ve ever had contact with someone.

If you don’t think that’s enough to drive you down a rabbit hole, try to imagine yourself standing in the middle of one of the detention centers, surrounded by frantic women who’ve been denied even the basic creature comforts, but who are more concerned about finding their children than anything else, even their own personal welfare. Now imagine you feel the pain, the fear, the confusion, the desperation of each and every person in that facility. If you can even conceive of how that would bombard your nervous system, you might have a thousandth of a percent view of what Empaths who are connected to the UEF feel every day if they haven’t learned to filter; to shield. Is it any wonder they retreat deep inside themselves, convinced there is something very wrong with them, and that they are completely alone?

Separating the Symptoms from the Causes

The more I talk to people, and the more research I do into suicide and depression, the more I realize these issues are the symptoms and in order to make a difference, I need to dig deeper and recognize the causes. I, no WE must acknowledge that the voices in their heads, the pain in their hearts, the demons they can’t escape are all too often not even theirs to control because they belong to someone else, and most of the time, a LOT of someone elses.

I’m not naive enough to believe this is the only solution. I do know in the last few years, I’ve encountered a large number of people who fit this pattern. The single common factor though is feeling like they don’t belong, that they don’t fit in no matter where they go or who they’re with. The reality is, rather than being a case of being disconnected, it’s a case of being too tightly entwined in the very being of people around them, and sometimes, humanity in general.

The Ultimate Double-Edged Sword

Yes, being an Empath is a blessing and a curse. Too many are diving for cover and closing themselves off because they can’t find the mute button. To sum it up, I can’t help change attitudes towards depression and suicide without finding a way to help Empaths learn how to navigate this slippery slope their minds insist on traversing. One purpose bleeds into another, and the almost ever-present tidal wave in my gut tells me the epiphanies and purposes have only begun to make themselves known to me. It’s a darn good thing I’ve always loved roller coasters because the road I’m now on promises to be one helluva ride!

When All Else Fails, Choose Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the Laws of Attraction which are bringing more and more of the people who spent years believing they were misfits before realizing they didn’t need to fit at all.
  2. I am grateful for the amazing people who are coming into my life, and those who were already here, and who I’m coming to appreciate more and more with every epiphany.
  3. I am grateful for people who are willing to talk to me about deeply personal experiences, enabling me to learn and grow, and be better able to help turn the tide of stigma attached to mental health, suicide, and depression.
  4. I am grateful I’m an Empath. It’s not always an easy road, but the blessings and what it allows me to do and be for others is worth the pain I’ve already endured as well as whatever might be ahead.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, joy, friendship, compassion, kindness, connection, Lightworkers, fearlessness, intentions, inspiration, motivation, roadblocks that make me get creative, sorrows, lessons, challenges, and even frustrations. And for peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have Sheri write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

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