I have been using the #EmpoweringLife hashtag in many of my social media posts for about a year now. I began using after I spent some time reflecting on my past, the way my life was going at that time and what I wanted my future to feel like. Yes, feel like. Not look like.
So, what does having an Empowering Life mean? I am sure it means something different to everyone, but to me, empowering life means that I am able to move through life filled with strength, confidence and the knowledge that I am the only person in this world that has any control whatsoever in how happy or unhappy my life is. How I respond to other people and situations is directly related to my own happiness and success. No one can make me feel anything. By choosing to respond in either a positive or negative way, I create the outcome myself. I like to call this #OwnYourShit. Owning up to the good, the bad and the ugly and apologizing when it is needed.
Empowering Life is also learning how to accept things as they are right now at this very moment with no judgement while still wanting to create a change of some kind. I may not like the way something is in my life, but I accept it for what it is and know that if it is something I cannot change, that I am going to need to work on how I perceive it and how to turn it around into something workable or workaroundable. If it is something I can change, then I need to get my ass into gear and formulate a plan to change it without attaching to the actual outcome because it may look entirely different than I had planned.
For those of you who currently know me personally, you know that I tend to be a low maintenance kind of gal and am generally easy going. It does not take a lot to entertain me or to make me happy. I attempt to find some kind of good or a lesson in every moment or situation. I am also not super attached to most “things” or exact outcomes. What I do attach to are general concepts of how I want my life to feel. Abundant, loving, compassionate, accepting, strong, confident, joyful, energetic etc. You get the idea. I no longer wish to live a life of a victim where I always think things were done to me by someone else for who knows what reason. While I still have times where I get angry (we are all human and it happens) I no longer tend to put the blame on anyone else. I usually try to walk away calmly from whatever situation and get clear with myself on why I am angry to begin with instead of letting my temper get the best of me and screaming and yelling. It always ends up as something to do with me and not the other person. Hmmmmmm Food for thought there. What do I need to work on???
This is in direct contrast to how I used to be just a few short years ago. I was one very angry, scared and unhappy woman. I could not figure out who or what it was that could make me happy, so I was always looking and searching for something or someone who could do that for me. Nothing ever worked though. By the end of that time in my life I was so miserable that I weighed over 300lbs, was smoking over 2 packs of cigarettes a day, was in a moderately severe depression, and was barely on speaking terms with my husband, my children or anyone else for that matter. I kept myself locked away from everyone by staying at work or becoming involved in other activities so that I could numb myself.
So how in the world did I go from being absolutely miserable to being completely in love with my life?
Perspective! In other words, I had to have an attitude adjustment!
That attitude adjustment began when Eric and I had a lengthy discussion one night a couple of weeks before our youngest left for college. We were at a crossroad in our marriage and needed to decide if we were going to move forward together or each of take a turn in an opposite direction. Fortunately, we both agreed that we had would try to put our lives back together and move forward. We agreed to go to a marriage seminar to help us learn how to be a couple that builds a healthy relationship together instead of tearing each other apart. While we got some fabulous information and tools to help us bind our marriage back together and make it stronger, I believe that the most important thing I took away from that seminar was that in order to love my husband in the way that he needed from me, was that I needed to be able to love myself first. The way to learn to love myself was to work on the PIES of my health P= Physical Health I= Intellectual Health E= Emotional Health S= Spiritual Health.
I had already begun the Physical part when I quit smoking a few weeks before we went to the Seminar. Along with quitting smoking I had also began walking daily, doing some body weight exercises at home and eating a healthier diet consisting of a lot less convenience food. I am not going to lie, a lot of that was due to not being out at some sort of event 4-5 nights a week like a ball game or horse show or soccer game etc. where we ate concession stand food for supper. I began cooking at home and prepared meals that were mostly fresh or frozen whole foods with very little of the food being processed. I was very fortunate that I had already began losing a good bit of weight without really trying hard due to the fact that I was cooking healthier…oh, I also quit drinking diet sodas at the same time I quit smoking because for some reason the soda triggered my instinct to light up a cigarette.
For the Intellectual part of my health I decided to learn more about Nutrition and Health and Wellness. I had always enjoyed learning about cooking and foods and had been very active when I was younger and had loved going to the gym and working out, but I let other things get in the way of it. I missed that and wanted to get back into it so I spent a ton of time learning about something that interested ME, not something for the kids or anyone else…ME!
For the Emotional and Spiritual healing, I started out with a gratitude journal after reading about it from someone I followed on social media, I also began reading some personal development books and listening to some podcasts that interested me. I read a bunch of blogs that intriguing and listening to podcasts. I also began meditating and began practicing more of a yogic lifestyle.
Slowly, over time everything began coming together and how I perceived the world and the people in it began to shift. It is a never ending practice that continues to help me grow and expand in more ways than I can count. While I think I have a damn fine life right now, it just keeps continuing to get better and better each and every day. I used to have regrets about how long it took me to get my shit together and begin the process of having an abundant mindset instead of having a victim mindset. Now I understand that I had to go through each and every one of the experiences I had over the last 48 years in order to get to this point in my life where I am able to help others find their kind of Empowering Life!