The ONE Thing That Will Set You Free

Earlier this morning, I spoke to a group of businesswomen about the freedom that comes from living authentically and how doing so changes the way we live and the way we do business.

While I tailored my talk to relate to business, I wanted to share the more personal side of my journey here.

As you know by now, I shared my story publicly last year when I started my blog. Later, I decided to go on TV to talk about it as well.

I believe our secrets keep us sick, and there is so much freedom that comes from sharing our deep, dark, shameful stories.

I have received countless messages from people letting me know that in me sharing my story, they felt less alone, and in some cases, they were able to share their own as well.

I love that and it makes my work extremely rewarding.

But living authentically is more than just sharing a dark, shameful story.

Living authentically is about removing the mask that we use to protect ourselves and says “here I am world! If you like me, great. And if not, that’s ok, too.”

We are spending our money trying to keep up with others; buying the designer bags, the shoes, the clothes, the cars and the houses we can’t really afford, all in an effort to “keep up”.

All in an effort to be GOOD ENOUGH.

Authenticity Relies On Vulnerability

It takes just about everything we’ve got to be vulnerable; to put ourselves out there for all to see. To show up in our lives in a way that people can judge or criticize.

But it is the most freeing thing we can do, to share who we really are and show the world that although YOU may not be ok with me, I am ok with me.

And there is no vulnerability without courage.

It takes guts to be who we really are and it might even go against what everyone else thinks is the “right way” of being.

But there is no courage without fear.

Fear is what holds us back from living authentically. We are afraid of showing up as we really are because we never feel….GOOD ENOUGH.

In Brené Brown’s Ted Talk called The Power of Vulnerability, she shared the ONE variable that separated those who have a strong sense of love and belonging from those who struggle for it.

Ready?

The people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they are worthy of love and belonging.

That’s it.

And you know what else?

Those same people had the courage to be imperfect. They fully embraced vulnerability.

They believed that what made them vulnerable was what made them beautiful.

They talked about it being necessary.

Who are YOU?

There is a name for this feeling of not-being-good-enough.

It is Atelophobia.

And I believe a lot of us go through life with this phobia.

I can still hear that voice in my head that tells me “Who are YOU?!”

“Who are YOU to teach people about food or sugar addiction? You’re not a dietitian! You’re not a nutritionist!”

Who are YOU to write a book or have a blog or talk to people about authenticity?

“You’re not an expert!”

For many, many years, I listened to that voice in my head.

I believed it and I played small in my life.

I felt like I wasn’t allowed to share what I’d learned if I hadn’t earned the degrees or hadn’t spent decades in the field.

But when I started sharing my personal story with people, what I found is that they would ask for my help. I was excited to offer suggestions and share what I’d learned.

And they would tell me that I had helped them; that I was changing their lives.

And so, I started to ignore that little voice.

I started paying MORE attention to the people who were asking for my help and LESS attention to that voice that told me I had no business helping.

So, while that voice is still inside of me, it now plays a much smaller role. And now when I hear it, I respond with “who am I NOT to?”

It Is Better To Look Good Than To Feel Good

Not feeling good enough is rooted in shame.

I know a lot about shame; and I know a lot about living my life as a fraud.

For most of my life, I pretended to be someone I wasn’t.

I grew up in a home where outward appearances were valued tenfold over us being healthy as a family.

Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of great times and there was a lot of love in our home, but we were taught early on to push down negative feelings; sharing hurt or anger or frustration wasn’t welcome.

I believe this focus on the outside contributed greatly to my father’s depression, his alcoholism and my own behaviours growing up.

I don’t blame my parents for the way they raised us; they were raised in a similar way and as Maya Angelou taught Oprah, “when you know better, you do better.”

They were simply doing the best they could.

But teaching me that it was more important to LOOK good than to really BE good taught me how to live inauthentically.

It taught me to lie.

It taught me to cheat.

And it had me looking to escape.

As a teenager, I rebelled. 

At 15 years old, I took my first drink. It felt like FREEDOM.

All of a sudden I could say or do all the things I would NEVER say or do when I was sober.

I loved the way alcohol made me feel and I continued my drinking life until I woke up at the age of 29 and I got sober.

Waking Up

I knew I had two roads. One road would kill be and the other was unknown.

I chose the latter and I enrolled in Business School.

I worked hard and graduated at the top of my class. At the same time, I began a journey towards health and fitness that began to ignite a passion in me and I wanted to share what I’d learned with anyone who would listen.

I read voraciously on the subject of health and I tried and tested various programs.

After graduation I moved to Ottawa; I wanted a fresh start and after working in the corporate world, I finally followed my heart and started at a health studio.

There, I became connected with clients who were struggling with weight, and I was able to share my alcoholism with them as way to relate to their struggle.

I may not have been overweight, but I understood addiction.

I understood shame.

And I knew a lot about food.

It was scary but so freeing to be able to share my story, even if I was just dipping my toe in the water.

But in order for me to feel truly authentic, I knew I had to share my story in a more public way.

Finally, after many years of hiding my story, of being mired in shame and the fear of “what will they think?”, I decided to start my blog and share my truth with the world.

I am a work in progress, but I am so grateful for waking up and being able to embrace my vulnerability; I am grateful for my past.

Being Thankful

I see my alcoholism as the greatest gift and teacher of my life.

Because without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I wouldn’t be WHO I am today.

And I wouldn’t be able to share my story and help others know that they are not alone.

I am grateful every day for my life; all of it, the good, the bad, the joys the hurt, the pain, the successes. ALL of it.

It took years of hating myself before I got to this place where I no longer feel shame about my past; I have learned to love it and  be proud of what I’ve done with my life.

It could have gone another way.

You Are Worthy Because You Were Born

I realize that it is only when we learn from our experiences and then share what we’ve learned with others that we can walk out of the darkness and into the light.

So, if you have a story that is keeping you mired, I hope you can be vulnerable enough to share it.

Let go of the shame that has been holding you back.

Doing so may just free others to do the same.

And if you are trying to “keep up” in an effort to be “good enough”, know that you don’t have to live this way any more.

Living authentically will change everything.

So remove the mask.

Remove the shame.

And watch your life change for the better.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

 

P.S. I would love to hear if this served you. Feel free to send me a message if you have a story you are afraid to share. Telling even one person will dramatically change your life. Sarah@SarahTalksFood.com

P.P.S. To sign up for the next round of the Kick The Sugar Challenge, click here and join the Wait List! The next round starts in a few weeks. 

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