Sitting by a river.

Recently I have felt the need to talk about those three big words above: shame, insecurity, and judgment.

Slowly but surely I feel as if I am shaking the chains of those very feelings off of me and I wanted to empower you to start doing the same thing.

It is hard. Especially in a world where we are consistently measuring ourselves up against others or simply societal standards. How am I supposed to let go of all of that? It takes a lot of work, self-love, and positivity.

See, just over a year ago, I had a pretty big wake-up call in my life. I failed out of college. This is such an utterly dramatic thing to say, especially when there is a huge story behind it, but it is the short and sweet version of what happened. I felt incredibly lost and did not have a clue of what was next in my life. At that time I was spending an incredible summer in Michigan with Jonathan and we were having SO much fun. But of course, there were always these nagging thoughts at the back of my head; “What is next?”, “I am not good enough”, “I am not worthy”, “People are judging me”, “I suck!”… etc.

Here I am a year later and I can proudly say that I have accomplished a lot. I am officially done with my first semester at my new university, I started a new job last week, I am pursuing my passion for health and fitness coaching, I risked starting a blog and sharing my life, I am discovering passions and hobbies I never expected were “for me” and throughout this all I have had my parents and Jonathan support me, no questions asked, along with many others giving me words of encouragement along the way.

Throughout the past year, the feelings of shame, insecurity, and judgment were at an all time high. So much so that they made me doubt who I was and what I was meant to do with my life. I thought I knew all about these feelings from the various experiences I had throughout high school. Being looked at like I was a piece of meat just because I had the “best butt” in school. Thinking something must be wrong with me when I figured out through social media that I had yet again, not been invited to a sleepover or party. Believing I was inferior for not being the best athlete on the team. Feeling hurt for not having my morals and beliefs respected.

But then I felt these feelings…

I was ashamed for failing out of college. 😭

I felt insecure about not knowing what my next steps were. 😩

I felt judged for being a “failure” and having to start all over again. 😔

You can tell me that none of these things are true, but in those moments, that is how it felt. And it felt terrible.

Since this time a year ago, I have grown and changed a lot. As someone continuously focusing on the negatives, I learned how to find something positive in any situation. People-pleasing was my specialty, and also why it hurt so much that I had to admit my flaws. I have learned to put my foot down and stand up for what I believe. And I found my dreams. I took charge through goal setting, gratitude, and affirmations. I will make my dreams reality.

This all sounds so heavy and dramatic, which it was at the time, but my point is that you alone decide whether to feel ashamed, insecure or judged.

Take social media for example. As a health and fitness coach, I see hundreds of nutrition or body image related posts a day. Recently I saw an image in which the caption was talking about hip dimples. I thought to myself, what the heck are hip dimples?! Apparently, they are the little dimples that some of us have on our hips (including me I learned). And apparently, there is a large number of women trying to “get rid” of said hip dimples. Well, you can’t because there is no muscle to build up in that spot.

Now upon learning about hip dimples, I could have felt insecure, but I didn’t. The same goes for when I observed that my body will never sport a thigh gap. Or that I have some hardcore stretch marks. You can choose whether to be insecure or not. But please, tell me how being insecure gives you an advantage?

Take my college experience for example. I let the shame, insecurity, and judgment take a hold of me. For months, I did not experience any feelings of success. I hit a plateau. The moment I decided to start peeling away these layers of ugly feelings, accomplishments and opportunities started falling into my lap. Looking back, this experience taught me strength, resilience, and hope. 😌

Moving forward, I know that I have the choice of whether to feel these feelings. I know how to overcome them and how to move on. You think my posts about being a health and fitness coach are dumb and annoying? Ok, but I love coaching. You think my photos in a sports bra and bikini are provocative or that I am not in “good enough shape” to be posting something like that? Ok, but I love the body that God gave me and I am treating it how it is supposed to be treated. You think my blog is stupid? Fine, but I love writing. You think I am incapable of being successful because I had a bad college experience. Great, watch me be successful. 💁🏼

All of these feelings, whether shame, insecurity, judgment, among many other inferior feelings, are just chains holding you back from greatness. As I quoted in my Motivation Monday post yesterday, “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t take a step forward, you’re always in the same place.” 💪🏼

I challenge you to take those steps forward and loosen the shackles of inferiority. You are destined for your own personal greatness, but you also need to take the steps to get there. Letting shame, insecurity, and judgment rule your life will not get you there, take it from someone who experienced it first hand.

I believe in you, but do you believe in yourself?

With love,

Lena Marie 💕

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