“How can you be on top of the world, and still feel like you are under it?”
That line was stated by the member of the group who ultimately took his own life. The pressure of life caught up to him. The weight of life was more than he could bear. He couldn’t get away from his thoughts, his experiences and demons. The story that was told about many members of The Temptations hit a nerve, reminding me that life is far from simple and showcasing how everyone is different in how they deal with and respond to what is thrown at them.
As I thought about this particular line, visions of my past demons came front and center. Here I was, living a large life with great friends and family, a very successful career, ability to go and do a lot of things that others could not and I still wasn’t happy. I appeared happy. Those close to me knew there was something there, usually thinking it was about being alone, no partnership, no companion, no family of my own. It still hurts my heart at times when people talk about “their family,” knowing I’m not a part of anyone’s family. I’m part of a lot of extended families, but I don’t have my own. Of course, at times that is one of the reasons that I was unhappy, but that’s not where it starts.
It starts, for me, with the weight. Not physical weight, although that was a ramification of not being happy, I ate to console my soul. The weight of many other demons. The weight of self doubt. The weight of comparing myself and my inside life with everyone else’s outside life. The weight of other’s opinions or my perception of opinions. The weight of unrealistic expectations, or any expectations for that matter; of myself and others. My perception of their expectations of me as well. The weight of believing I would never measure up, never be good enough, never be lovable. All of this weight bore down on me like the weight of the world. And I truly did feel as if I was under all of that.
I was free and easy, earning a great living, traveling when I wanted, doing what I wanted and yet, I was being crushed by all of this weight. I needed to find a way to shed all of this weight and finally be happy. Be happy with me, not because of anyone else. Not because of anything other than knowing who I am at my core and loving that person truly.
Shedding this weight was no easier than shedding the weight I had put on as a result of eating my way through emotions and bullshit. Shedding physical weight took a plan, discipline and balance as well as changes. I had to make changes to what I ate, when I ate, what I had in the house, etc. I had to make changes in terms of exercise and doing more, building muscle to burn calories. I had to change my mindset from “I can’t have” to “I choose to have or not have.” I changed my mindset from weight loss to becoming strong and fit.
That discipline, balance and mindset change was what was needed for the other weight loss, the shedding of not being good enough, of not being enough. I allowed every situation to be about me not being good enough. I became a victim to my circumstances. Changing that mindset, no longer judging anything or anyone, focusing on gratitude and mirror work were the steps necessary for me to shed this weight.
The linchpin for me was judgment. Once I was able to shed the weight of comparisons and judgments, I saw a complete change in my mindset. I moved to a more grateful and positive approach to life, and to myself. My judgement journal was a key step in ridding myself of comparisons. For 2 weeks I wrote in my journal about judgment. Each day I would write down what judgments I made that day; why did I think that was ok; what was it about me that fostered that judgment. After a while, I would flip the judgment in my head and not only not say it or write but I wouldn’t think it. I would make an observation versus a judgment. That allowed me to begin the mirror work because I was proud of myself. I could look into my eyes and tell myself how proud I was.
Now, I very rarely compare and I very rarely feel the weight of the world crashing in on me. I now love the person in the mirror, her heart, her mindset, her balance.
I am on top of the world, and I no longer feel as if I am under it! Those weights have all been crushed.