The single biggest lie that we tell ourselves…is that I AM the way I am because I want to be that way!
Let me tell you about my love for loose clothes.
In neutral, subdued shades of white, black, grey and blue!
I’ve worn them as long as I can remember. From when I was a skinny 48 kilos to when I was an uncomfortable 75 kilos after my pregnancy – which incidentally was the inspiration for my venture-funded health-tech startup Obino, but more on that later – and I can remember how my fashion sense has always been a cause of loud lamentation for my family and close friends.
I always assured them that it was deliberate.
I really didn’t care how I looked (except that I did!)
That what I wore wasn’t as important as who I was as a person (except that it was).
That as long as I was a smart, intelligent & kind person, it really didn’t matter whether other people thought that I was attractive (except that it did!)
So why did I lie?
Like most young girls, I had major body image issues.
And loose, baggy clothes of neutral shades essentially hid what I was most conscious about – my physical self! My flawed, imperfect, physical self! And more importantly, they allowed me to position it as my choice instead of a defence mechanism.
Offence instead of defence!
And as I chose not to address the real issue, that style of dressing just became a facet of who I was. I grew so comfortable with not addressing the difference between what my body was and what I wanted it to be, that I vociferously defended my affection for loose clothes instead of digging a little deeper as to the reasons for that affection.
I convinced myself that this was who I was.
And I was that way BECAUSE I wanted to be that way.
So what changed?
I gained a crazy amount of weight after my pregnancy and my journey to losing that weight, not only sparked the creation of my startup, Obino, but it also finally made me internalise the concept of loving yourself, as you really are.
It gave me the ability to accept my body while also accepting what was not ideal about it. It allowed me to articulate what I didn’t like about my body and finding healthy ways to deal with it – a healthy diet, better sleep patterns, regular exercise – without hiding behind the facade of not caring and saying that it was a deliberate choice, when it so clearly wasn’t!
And as my body started transforming, I started wearing better fitting clothes that flattered me and allowed to move, run, jump and workout. And in those clothes, I came face to face with what I had hidden away for so long. Myself, with all my flaws. And I discovered that I wasn’t quite so bad.
In fact, I was pretty darn cool.
And my body was a strong, dynamic partner that could do things that I didn’t think it could. And look kick-ass doing it!
It was a revelation! An empowering one that changed my mindset & my life! I felt re-born. I felt like I could face any challenge and overcome it. That I could reinvent myself at any time…be anything, do anything!
And it all came from calling out that single biggest lie that I had been telling myself for so many years!
So, what lie are you telling yourself?
It’s pretty easy to figure this one out.
The next time you see someone do something that you can’t and feel a tingle of admiration, that’s the moment to ask yourself, “Do I wish I could do that?”. And then listen to the answer!
Chances are that your mind will automatically respond, “I could if I wanted to, but I don’t want to!”. And that’s the giveaway. That’s the defence mechanism we’ve built for ourselves – that we could if we wanted to, but we don’t because we don’t want to. That we have better things to do. Because then it’s a choice – something we control – versus a vulnerability that we don’t want to expose to the world.
So is being vulnerability a liability?
No one likes being vulnerable. Vulnerabilities make us look weak and in today’s cut-throat world, vulnerabilities are to be avoided at all cost.
Or are they?
Vulnerabilities make us human. Everyone has them. Even Superman (remember the Kryptonite?) And they are critical because they highlight areas of improvement. Your chance for growth! Your chance to be stronger, better, faster, kinder, more confident, more skilled, more everything…
But the starting point for any kind of growth is the admission of vulnerability! And the next step is that of mustering up the courage to admit that weakness, that vulnerability and of shoring up the strength to work on it!
So when are you taking that first step?