Welcome back for week 4 of the From Broken to BADASS series, REBUILD! If you missed any of the previous steps, here's a recap with links:
In Step 1 we committed to honoring ourselves by RESTING (without guilt!) when we need to.
In Step 2 we REFOCUSED on what TRULY matters to us... our WHY.
And the goal of Step 3 was to RELEASE what/who is holding us back.
All of these steps are CRITICAL to building the foundation for our comeback. To rise from the rubble stronger and wiser.
I will say again, this isn’t a one and done process. Every step in this journey is ongoing.
Progress not perfection.
We are working to embrace our power as we rebuild, not so that life doesn’t ever hurt, but so we have the tools in place and strength to handle it when it does.
This reminds me of the saying in the running world, “We don’t train so the race doesn’t hurt; we train so we can handle the pain.”
This is true in life as well!
Now that we’ve taken first the steps toward building our foundation, we're ready to REBUILD.
We’ve all had to rebuild ourselves back up from hard places in the past. But the process of rebuilding is different this time, because we’re rebuilding with a new appreciation for ourselves (Rest), what matters most to us (Refocus) and a clean slate from letting go of everything that was draining us (Release).
In the past, when we’ve tried to come back from a setback, most of us have tried to rebuild on the same old shaky foundation of self-doubt, lack of purpose, and people & habits that undermine our power.
This time we KNOW. We have a clear picture of what’s important to us, AND what’s NOT. And the energy and clarity this frees up, gives us the power to REBUILD stronger and wiser this time.
Rebuilding involves taking what we’ve learned in the first steps and incorporating that information into our comeback.
For instance, in step 2, we identified our WHY, which is our through line for every decision we make, every brick we put into place as we rebuild. The standard against which we can measure every thought, action, decision, and person we share our time with.
If the brick we’re trying to fit back into place doesn’t match our WHY, it might be time to consider whether this brick needs to be part of our comeback or not.
With all the experience and clarity gained in releasing what doesn’t serve us, we now have a much keener sense when something doesn’t jive.
Additionally, identifying people and habits that were undermining us is part of the process, but perhaps even more importantly, we now have a clear understanding of who and what DO support us in our journey.
The importance of surrounding ourselves with people who lift us up as we rebuild CANNOT be understated.
I don’t care who you are, the energy of the people around you influences you. Even if you aren’t aware of it. So choosing people who match the energy we’re trying to grow in our lives is critical. Even if this is just one other person, or even just you and your Source, it's better to be in a supportive group of one or two, than in a crowded room of naysayers.
The same is true with the habits or rituals we choose to incorporate into our lives. Dropping the habits that don’t serve our WHY, and replacing them with habits that do.
My morning ritual is the key to my day. Thirty quiet minutes dedicated to me each morning, to connect with my Source. Taking a quiet moment to see the potential in the day, before getting swept up in the current of life. To ground myself and re-commit to my WHY.
For me this involves journaling and sometimes a guided meditation, especially if I feel a little “off” that day. For you it might be journaling, yoga, stretching, meditation or even snuggling with the pup (another of my favs). What it IS doesn’t matter, so much as simply committing to something every morning that you do to honor yourself, your connection to your Source and your WHY.
The next step in rebuilding can be a little challenging, so the self-compassion piece is huge here.
Take it slow, don’t expect instant clarity, and most importantly, don’t use this as a chance to blame yourself or beat yourself up for mistakes.
We are REBUILDING toward the future. We have released the past. All that remains of it are the gifts it left in its wake. Now we uncover those gifts and begin to grow.
This step involves looking back at the pain and discovering the lessons.
How can you use the painful situation you’ve gone through to help you grow as you rebuild?
Perhaps, as I did, you recently lost someone you loved. The pain of grief is crippling, and the self-blame of not having done more or said more is real. But it is imperative that we allow ourselves to feel it, to honor it, and to heal. It is a pain that never truly goes away, but if we look closely, we will see gifts in the pain. The most obvious are a new appreciation for the people in our lives, a newfound commitment to the time we have on this planet, and perhaps a fearlessness upon the realization of the fleeting nature of life.
Maybe you were betrayed by someone you cared deeply for. In this case, can you look back and see red flags you may have missed? It’s so important that we don’t let the cruelty of others harden our hearts, but we can use the experience to allow us to notice the red flags in the future. It's such a balance, but self care comes first. Another gift is that we can now use our experience to help others who might be going through something similar, to comfort them and give witness to the fact that there are still loving people in the world.
My knee injury was tough, not because the injury was serious, but because running was how I was coping with losing so many loved ones in such a short time. So when I couldn’t run, I sank. But in hindsight, being forced to slow down and stop running from my pain was exactly what I needed. It was a gift.
Life will find a way to slow us down, forcing us to pay attention to the lessons we need to learn.
Painful experiences take so many forms, and these are just a few. But there are always lessons if we look.
And these lessons are priceless as we rebuild.
In addition to the lessons, taking your time to mindfully work through the process of resting, refocusing and releasing, you will likely have become aware of some innate gifts inside YOU.
Maybe you realized you’re good at expressing your feelings, or creating as an outlet for your pain. Maybe you found, as I did, a profound desire to help other people who are hurting. Or perhaps you came out the other side with a new found understanding of just how strong you truly are.
Take out your notebook and list the gifts you’ve discovered about yourself in going through the dark times. They're there. I promise. Look at yourself through the “brag” lens; don’t be ashamed to be proud!
All our lives we're taught that it's bad to be proud of ourselves. I CALL B.S.!!!
Do it! List your gifts as if you were bragging about your child or your niece or nephew. Remember, everything we write in our notebooks can be shredded, so BE FEARLESS in listing your gifts.
Once you’ve completed that list, make another list. (Can you tell how much I believe in the power of lists?) This time, list the gifts you’ve always known you had:
The things people say you’re good at.
The things people come to you for advice on.
The things that come naturally to you, so much so that you might even lose track of time while you’re doing them.
The things you’ve always been afraid to feel proud of, for fear of seeming self-absorbed. Let yourself be proud!
Compare these two lists and see if you notice a trend. Bring your WHY into the mix. What pattern do you see?
This is such valuable information. Write it on a notecard and keep it in your handbag or next to your computer. And when you feel yourself being pulled back into the dark place, as we all do, look at these lists, your gifts and your WHY, and know that you CAN do this.
You already are.
In addition to discovering and remembering our gifts, rebuilding involves staying strong physically.
Healthy habits allow us to stay strong and focused on what matters most to us. Strength of body translates into strength of mind and spirit, which translates into strength in LIFE.
This will look different for everyone, but it’s critical that we move our bodies. A walk, a run, a swim, yoga, a bike ride, even slow deep breathing while stretching… whatever brings you joy.
Movement not only builds strength, which is vital to our comeback, but it also clears energy that otherwise stagnates within us. And stagnant energy acts like a magnet for negativity and doubt. And of course the endorphins, “nature’s Prozac,” are so easily accessible through exercise. (Please talk with your doctor if you have concerns.)
Food is a touchy subject, but also a key in rebuilding ourselves. Since I'm not a nutritionist or dietician, I won't give specific advice here. (And as with exercise, please talk with your doctor if you have concerns.)
But the overriding theme is this:
Eat what your body responds best to.
This takes some trial and error, and I will go into it more below, but for me, I ditch all the rules and trends and just pay attention to how certain foods make me FEEL.
I try to find a balance between eating healthy, but not restricting myself to the point where I’m miserable. I lean heavily on protein because I feel better on fewer carbohydrates (the carb coma is real for me), and of course lots of fruits and veggies. But I also LOVE ice cream. I’ve found balance by using a small prep bowl instead of a regular bowl for my ice cream. (But sometimes I still go back for seconds ;))
Whatever nutrition plan you follow, make sure it’s contributing to high levels of energy.
Energy is critical to rebuilding.
Pay attention to how you feel after you eat certain things. For instance, I can only have sugar in the evenings, because if I have it during the day, I will need a nap about 20 minutes later. Also, caffeine turns me into a spaz, and then I crash hard, so I’ve learned to avoid that as well.
One helpful exercise is to keep a food journal for a week as you go about your day. Write down what you eat and how it makes you feel within the hour or so after you eat it. See if you can find a connection between your moods and energy after eating certain foods. Sugar and caffeine are big ones, as are dairy, gluten and carbs. Some people are completely unaffected by these, while others find they drain them or upset their system.
Figure out what works for YOU, not what works for your friend or sister or people you follow on social media. We are all unique, and only you can know what makes you feel best.
The key is to try our best to put into our bodies the things that HELP us feel good. Because feeling good is the cornerstone of our comeback.
As we take the steps to REBUILD ourselves back up stronger, wiser and completely focused on what matters to us, surrounded by people who lift us up, and armed with the knowledge of our gifts, we give ourselves permission to RISE into the greatness that has always been inside... waiting patiently for us to remember.
Be proud of your glory, my friend. Treat yourself well, and get ready to RISE.
And as always, if you know someone who’s been struggling and you think she could benefit from these steps, please share this with her. xx