I really love the positive energy that there is all around the wellness world but it’s important to learn how to set your own boundaries because even positivity can sometimes start to be overwhelming. You need to learn to face all the negative sides of things as well, be able to live them and consciously move on – you can’t simply sweep things under the carpet, because at some stage they will come up anyway.
This is basically what happened to me recently and I thought that sharing this brief story may be helpful for some of you.
I am the kind of person that usually pretends a lot from herself – while I tend to be more realistic towards other people, I often have high expectations regarding myself. Year after year, I have slowly learned to let go a little, to allow myself to do (or not do) things at my own pace, and to introduce a certain degree of “acceptance” – not easy, but worth it.
Last year, I had to go through a breast surgery (the second one in a few years time – scary, but nothing to be worried about now) and it took me one whole year to truly “live” the experience. Everything went really smooth, I didn’t have any post-op issue like I had after the first one, and I was delighted with the idea of feeling so good that I didn’t even miss days of work (perks of working from home!). I was expecting a call for the surgery so I had time to organise everything: cook and freeze meals, stock up the kitchen with all the foods that could come in useful, plan social media posts to keep my business running, a schedule with no clients’ appointments for the days right after the surgery, and plenty of recommendations for my boyfriend to keep eating well, just in case something goes wrong. In addition, my body did an amazing job and recovered well and quickly.
“Let’s look at the positive side, I have been so lucky!” – this has been my mantra for the past year. Nothing wrong with all this positivity, right? I would agree with you, but the truth is… I have basically decided to sweep under the carpet all the fear, anxiety, worries, tears, and any other negative thought. They had to come out at some stage…
A few weeks ago, reading things here and there (mainly about women and mindset, and stuff related to the yoga practice outside of the mat – most of them coming from Nicky Clinch and Kino MacGregor Instagram feeds) I have finally realised that sometimes you just need to stop looking for the positive side of things all the time, and simply give your body and mind time to heal. This was the missing point of my story.
Even my clients tell me all the time that they appreciate my positive approach and how I inspire them with it, but you also need to set some realistic boundaries. Yes, I have been lucky, I just had to feel scared and then relieved ’cause everything was fine, I only had another scar – but I needed to honor my journey. During the last year, both a recurrent annoying pain that has been with me for a lot of time and some sort of emotional blockages, didn’t allow me to do my yoga practice as I wanted – at some stage there was always something that stopped me, like a fear of each small “opening” that could occur during the practice (especially anything related to the heart openers – if you are familiar with yoga, you understand what I mean by “openings”, that are not something physical but emotional).. so I have been avoiding specific poses for a while, and sometimes even the entire practice.
I know that this will sound like a bunch of excuses to some of you, because it has been the same for me as well – at some stage, I though that I was simply being lazy and coming up with any sort of excuses… here comes again the self-judgement that doesn’t allow mistakes or weaknesses! But then, I have tried to:
* simply be kind to myself
* think about what I would have said to somebody else in the same situation
* accept the situation and give myself some time
* understand that these were not excuses, but a defensive barrier
Months full of patience and kindness, until I have realised that it was finally time to change something. During the last years, I have done a lot of work to be more aware around food and regarding each area of my life, but when you try to avoid or hide part of your feelings you can’t be fully aware of what’s actually going on – this doesn’t mean that you can’t be grateful or have a positive mindset, but that you have learned to honor both positive and negative feelings for what they are: part of you.
Realising that I needed to honor my journey for what it is, my body for being strong, and myself for being brave, allowed me to finally face the fears of “openings” during my yoga practice and to accept that “yes, I have been lucky and things could have been worse, but this is my journey, and if has some negative sides, it’s perfectly fine to tell (and live) them out loud”.