Today, I walked my favorite trail. It looked like it was going to rain all day, so no one was there and I was a little hesitant about putting my earbuds in. I ended up walking without music, trying to be as present as possible. I realized the last time I was there was January 1st, when I did my New Years sunrise hike. How could that be almost nine months ago? That was such a special day for me. It was that day I told myself that I didn’t have to keep holding on to the grief and sadness that encompassed me last year, and I gave myself permission to be happy again.
For the last week, I’ve been trying to decide what I want my “I am” mantra to be. The assignment transpired the other day when I reached out to someone I follow on Instagram for support after having a specially difficult day. It’s actually not uncommon for me to console in people I haven’t met before (the first time I “came out” about my ED was to someone on tumblr, and “My Recent Breakup” is the most public I’ve ever been about it.) We talked a little about recovery and acceptance and she directed me to a lesson she experienced in a yoga class. “Repetition leads to belief. Belief leads to deep conviction. Deep conviction leads to change.”
I could already see the lesson in this unfolding. How many times have I felt totally accomplished and motivated after having a good day, only to feel like giving up the next time a bad day came around? I know about the beneficial impact of mantras and mindfulness, but how often do I actually practice it? Maris describes the power of repetition herself in one of her articles. “When we take on a mantra or a new habit, we must repeat it over and over in order for it to work its magic. Being kind and loving to yourself every once and awhile will do nothing if it is overwhelmed by years of sadness and self-hatred. Saying a mantra once or twice one day of the week will hold no power. The more we repeat it, the action or the words, the more we are able to believe that we are worthy and capable of it. And the longer we believe this, the more it becomes a part of who we are- it becomes a deep conviction within us that is an unshakeable foundation of ourselves. And this is where the change lies.” (Check out her article here)
So what will my “I am” statement be? It took me a few days to pick a word. The perfectionist inside me wanted it to be perfect (even though I could literally change it tomorrow if I wanted). The first words that raced through my head were “happy,” “at peace,” and “beautiful”. But I wanted my word to be something that was a little bit more of a stretch for me to believe. When I think “I am beautiful”, it sounds nice to the ears. But then I thought, sure, there are some days when I catch myself opening up Snapchat and I scare myself with the front facing camera, but for the most part, I know I am beautiful. Deep down, I believe it. So I wanted a word that is more of a challenge for me to grasp; a word that will better describe my journey toward acceptance. “I am accepting of myself.” How can I put that into a single word?
“I am enough.” It didn’t feel right at first. I thought it sounded too much like I am settling. Why be “enough” when you can be more than enough? But after a few days, I started to wonder if that thought was coming from a place of love or fear. That’s exactly what fear would want, wouldn’t it? Because in a state of complete acceptance and self love, there is no room for fear. “I am enough” eradicates any doubt of self worth. I don’t need to be worried about whether or not that phrase will stunt any future growth. I am constantly growing and I am constantly moving forward.
So I decided to go with my gut and picked my word. As I walked through the woods today, remembering my goals nine months ago, I genuinely felt like nature and the universe was nodding in approval. My mantra still feels a little hard for me to believe, but I think that’s exactly what I need. Back in January, the idea of letting go and being happy made me feel guilty and ashamed; it was just as much a stretch then as this new mantra is to me now. I intend to make it through this the same way I made it through that, and every other obstacle I face from here on out!