Oh man, the emotions, thoughts and excitement that came bubbling up during my weekly mastermind group coaching recently. We were talking about mindset, something we cover a lot because it plays such a huge part in our businesses as well as personal lives. The conversation centered around what we liked as kids – what sparked joy, put smiles on our faces, etc. And it really got me thinking – a lot of the things that used to bring me joy, I don't allow myself time to do those things any longer. Or if I do, I don't do them very often.
Coloring, sitting and reading a book in a day, playing in the rain, taking pictures (my step dad said I was taking selfies before selfies were even a thing!), “teaching” (I used to spend hours on a Saturday with my stuffed animals lined up on my bed and I would sit on my desk & teach them), riding my bike, swimming, playing dress up, doing my hair & make-up, swinging, listening to music – and those are just the things that popped into my head! I'm sure there were more.
Each one of those things, as I recalled them, brought a smile to my face and a sense of joy!
I started to dive deeper and began questioning…
What happened to her…?
- … that little girl that used to do those things that brought her joy?
- … that little girl that used to wear shorts and cropped tops… jiggly thighs, chubby belly, and all?
- … that same little girl that would put on frilly dresses and prance around the house knowing she was beautiful just as she was?
- … that girl that went after what she wanted (the girl that wanted to be a cheerleader so bad but was bigger than all the other girls and picked on about her weight but tried out anyway because she loved it that much)? (And made the team a few years in a row!)
- … that girl that wasn't afraid to ask for what she wanted? (Borrow the car, borrow a friends shirt, make-up, cassette tape, etc.)
- … that girl that wouldn't take no for an answer?
- … that girl that was willing to take risks and try new things even if she ‘failed'?
What happened to her?!
I'll tell you what happened…
Society and people around her started telling her things and she started to believe them…
- “you're too old to color”
- “you need to put that book down, stop being lazy & go play outside”
- “chubby girls can't wear ____ (insert pretty much anything here – shorts, sleeveless shirts, dresses, bathing suits, etc.) things like that”
- “chubby girls can't ____ (insert activities here – dance, bike, swim, play basketball, etc.)”
- “you have to go to college”
- “be quiet, you're too loud”
- “you talk too much”
- “you need to lose weight”
You should this. You have to that. You need to this.
On and on it went until it all started to get to me and make me doubt everything about myself. I went from being fearless to fearful.
- I was no longer the girl that had a hard time taking no for an answer (and often wouldn't) and when someone said no, that was it… or better yet, why bother even asking anymore.
- I was no longer the girl that wore shorts, or sundresses or other cute clothes and instead covered my body because nobody wanted to see the jiggles or chub.
- I no longer believed I could do anything I wanted
- I no longer believed I could be anyone I wanted to be
I bought into the perceptions and stories OTHER people told me. I stopped living MY life and started people pleasing. I stopped showing up for myself. I didn't stand up or speak up for myself any longer.
But finally At 45, I've realized two important things:
- That little girl is NOT gone.
- That little girl is NOT forgotten!
A couple years ago I started bringing her back! I found my voice, my passion, my life. I started living for ME, not others.
Don't get me wrong, as much progress as I've made over the last couple years, there's still more work to be done. There's still more of that little stubborn headed, loud mouthed, spitfire of a girl to bring back. There's more of the little girl that believed she could do it all, be it all, loved herself, and marched to the beat of her own drum waiting to re-emerge 🙂