How I Changed from Outside In to Inside Out
It took nearly 40 years to get to a place where I could begin to show up for myself. Although, It wasn't without chaos and hurt and self doubt. I didn't just hurt myself, but I hurt people I cared about too. The need to try to make myself feel good took on a degree of making others feel worse. Not having confidence in myself helped convince me not to have confidence in others. I fucked up all kinds of things along the way. I fucked up things like marriage, relationships, opportunities, chances to make a difference and to be a light that shined. Some fuck ups were more subtle, but others were cases of getting out the gas can and using the fucking flame thrower to do the job right. By right I mean...wrong.
Three years ago, I thought I turned a corner and figured “it” out, or rather, figured myself out. But I must have missed the mark. I woke up and realized I was the problem. I didn't know enough to actively engage and practice to become who I believe I am. I never found the tools. Back then, I recall a conversation I had with my boss, which I often reflect on. Just in the midst of casual conversation and me ranting about all the dumb shit people did or negative situations I would encounter, my boss asked a simple question. She asked, “Do you think YOU are attracting these things?” We finished our talk, and her pointed question is the only lasting memory I have from that conversation. However, I've been trying to use those words and create a different type of attraction ever since. The answer to her question was “Yes,” by the way.
I was bringing on chaos without even trying. That's what my life had become. Chaos. What happened next was pivotal to where I am now. I had a breakthrough, which was really great. Only problem is, I thought I had hit a home run. Sure, I realized a key point in the journey called growth, but I still didn't know how to really show up for myself. I started making changes. Many of those changes were instrumental in me sitting here today as a more confident and focused individual. I began taking an inventory to make omissions as needed. The omissions included, stripping away toxic people who didn’t demand my best or challenge me to present it. Removing bad eating habits which limited the ability of my mind and body to flourish. Deleting situations that could only lead to poor decision making.
I always navigated life hating myself. I hated how I looked on the outside and how I felt on the inside. My childhood was spent confused and unsure how to fit in. Teen years were spent in a world of never feeling good enough, always the outsider. My twenties were molded by poor body image coupled with a mental state of inferiority others could never see. I dragged myself out of a hole labeled as my twenties and created what would appear to be a machine into my thirties. I took an injured 245 lb lazy, unconfident college student and turned it into an Ironman. After that, I built a person who can endure running 100 mile trail races and embrace the suck of every single second of those physical challenges. Inside though, I still struggled and held onto the notion that other things could bring me joy. Other people could bring me happiness. For all I gained, I was still losing. My mind was not any clearer. Feelings of doubt and insecurity still ran rampant. I was still looking outside in, rather than inside out.
At some point last year, after releasing an expired relationship once and for all, I caught a bolt of lightening and brought all of my lessons full circle. Stop looking outside. Set goals and chase them down just as I would for a physical challenge. I figured out how to really find joy. Stop gazing in the rearview mirror for clarity. I finally realized that joy depends on me. I'm responsible for it. I'm the only one who can ensure I never put that hurt on anyone else. I'm the only one who can make sure I'm not hurting myself. Taking care of me will allow the rest to take care of itself. Relationships will be better. Opportunities will be seized. I will be a difference maker and that will open doors for growth. I will shine brightly.
I made so many strides, but that key point of being responsible was still somehow lost on me. Living simple and small was helping my confidence and ability to stop comparing myself to others. I stopped worrying about things I didn’t have or what others did have. I was comfortable in my own skin for quite a while and proved to myself time and time again I could achieve anything I was willing to put the work into. Even after all of those things, I still didn’t understand that one more item was required to truly be happy.
I'm bringing all of this up after spending two days in a funk. I was stuck asking questions I've been really good at not asking. Letting some doubt creep in as to the work I've been putting in. Tripping on shit I know is out of my control right now. I woke up and took a walk. The words you’ve been reading flooded my mind and led to writing as soon as I got inside. The simple fact is, there will still be days. The difference is now I've found tools and a community where I can see my way through those days without making it about someone else.
With the help of a real bright spot here, I was able to recognize that some short term goals are needed. Some goals that aren't just about my mind and emotional well being. I need goals to strike a little balance. I’ve been pushing myself to grow and I’m not going to let up. This is one of those challenges I'm not going to stop putting the work into because there is no finish line. I also understand I’m going to attract and collect exactly what I put out. I need to keep putting the best version of myself possible out there for the world to see. More importantly, I need to put the best version of myself in the mirror so I can love him.
Want to learn tools and be with a community to help you see through tough days? Check out SHFT.