On Monday of this week, a colleague of mine said, “You have to surround yourself with positivity”. A few hours later, a client of mine said the exact same thing in reference to herself. Normally I would say, “yeah yeah, of course” and just move on with my day. But hearing it twice in one day gave me pause. Do I currently surround myself with positive people? Do I feel lifted up by those around me? Do I stop myself from worrying and dwelling on the negative? Do I even recognize the positive that exists around me all the time? When I thought about these questions, the answer was, “For the most part, yes”.
I’m in a much more positive place now than I was during the height of my disordered eating. Back then, I surrounded myself with people who were obsessed with their weight and shape. I gossiped more. I judged others (and myself) more. I worried about anything and everything and assumed the worst about most situations. I was blind to the myriad blessings that were right in front of me. My inner critic worked overtime and I felt miserable. So, how did I make a change? How did I get to this place of inner peace? I surrounded myself with positivity.
Leaving the negative behind wasn’t easy to do. I had to take risks. I had to trust people. I had to recognize that my happiness was “an inside job”. By that I mean that I had to start by finding and associating with helpful, strong, confident people — but then I had to quiet my inner critic, practice listening to the gentle, loving voice inside me (it’s inside each of us) and open my eyes to the world of beauty around me. It required something akin to brain surgery — disconnecting old, well-worn circuits and establishing new pathways in my brain until I regularly saw things from a positive point of view and not a negative one.
This morning after my workout at the gym, as I was changing back into my clothes, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. For a brief moment, my old circuitry came back online: “Look at you! You’ve gained weight! You’re more flabby around the stomach than you used to be. You’re 35 now. You’re only gonna start sagging more and more.” It didn’t take long, however, for me to look myself in the eye and whisper my mantra: “I’m healthy, beautiful, and strong. I listen to my body’s needs.” And I believe it. Believing it makes me feel at peace. And that peace then impacts the students I counsel. Then they take a small amount of that peace with them back to their dorms and pass it on to their friends. Positivity becomes part of a cycle of blessings.
So, surround yourself with positivity today — not just for yourself but for all those who will be impacted by you.
Peace, joy, and health,