Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 31st, 2016 I Took The Poison

January 31st, 2016 I Took The Poison

I've made today tough because I violated the 2nd agreement. I know better, but still--I took the poison and allowed it to course through me. It awakened all kinds of things; memories, emotional and psychological dynamics, all relating to my transformation, my relationship history and right down to the heart of what I'm all about.

I spent a lot of time today in bed, under the covers. When I wasn't sleeping, I spent time in communication with several support friends. I'll explain the specific poison I ingested, after this...

In case you're not familiar with the 2nd Agreement:

The 2nd Agreement:
Don’t take anything personally.

Dr. Don Miguel Ruiz’s book “The Four Agreements-A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom” is a powerful read. You can order it from Amazon here.

Agreement #1: Be Impeccable With Your Word
Agreement #2: Don't Take Anything Personally
Agreement #3: Don't Make Assumptions
Agreement #4: Always Do Your Best

About the 2nd Agreement, Dr. Ruiz writes:
Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.

Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds…Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators, the black magicians. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up….

But if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell. Immunity in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement.

Since its release in November, 1997, Dr. Ruiz's book has sold over five million copies in the US alone. It's powerful and applicable to anyone and in my opinion, should be required reading for anyone choosing to share large parts of their life in a public way, in an effort to help themselves and others, for instance, on a blog--like this one.

I don't look for anything people say about me, good or bad. I just don't. Until today, I didn't realize how many people think so horribly of me--largely based on a couple of relationships I was in over five years ago. 

I was simply starting my day by stopping by some blogs to offer support. One blogger, who has quite a large following, mentioned how part of the plan in her turnaround from relapse/regain was being a member of the comprehensive teleconference support group I co-facilitate with Life Coach Gerri Helms. It was a very powerful, honest and open post from start to finish--and this mention of the group was a small point near the end.

I scrolled down through the comments to add my encouragement when I discovered this comment from someone else:

"Please watch out for Sean. He has had multiple failed relationships with a few women, all of whom I believe he met online. Please be careful and good luck on your weight loss journey."  

Seven years along this road, writing straight from my heart-- doing my best to do my best and sharing things that have helped transform my life, and as many have told me--things that have helped them, too--and that is all this person took from it?

In that moment, I forgot all about the 2nd Agreement. I eagerly grabbed the poison and it was bottoms up.

I went straight back to bed and slept until noon, hoping I could somehow cleanse this garbage from my brain. It didn't work. The poison created a mixture of anger and hurt. And mostly hurt.

I spoke with one support friend who shared with me how they once ran across an online forum where they love to bash weight loss bloggers--and yep, several in there also had horrible things to say about me. I also spoke with the author of the blog where this comment appeared and she shared with me how she deleted two two other similar type comments on that same blog post, but accidentally missed this one.

"Let it go." "Let it roll off your back like water on a duck." "You're ingesting poison, stop it." "You know the truth, you know what's in your heart, you know how passionate you are in what you do--that's all that matters." ----just some of the things I was reminded of today.

And they're right. And still, it hurts and bothers me. I'm trying to let it go. I really am. I need to write this post and get it out of my system. Forgive me while I purge this nonsense. You're so kind to still be reading this post, thank you.

Can we talk, here? Look...

Going through a divorce after twenty-one years of marriage, right in the middle of the last year or so of my initial 275 pound weight loss, was difficult. Facing the prospect of dating--something I hadn't experienced since my teen years, was also difficult. Now add this...

I was completely transformed physically and receiving attention in ways I never expected. My brain still thought of me in 500 pound terms and whenever someone would compliment to the contrary, I wanted to believe it, but still couldn't. But even still, I was attracted to it, because maybe if I heard positive things enough, I'd start believing it myself. This led to many poor decisions. Many poor decisions were made much easier because of an almost non-existent set of boundaries.

I'm not going to get into specifics of each one, but there were two relationships (one lasted only 4 days) with women whom I met online, who were also weight loss bloggers and readers of my blog. Both of those relationships ended horribly in ways many wouldn't believe. Both of these happened over five years ago.

Since then, I've had a few relationships with people whom I met in person, only one was a blogger--and I didn't meet her online, I met her at a speaking event of mine. And I've dated, even recently, and who knows where that might lead. One thing's for sure, the next serious relationship I enter, will be the healthiest by far, because of the personal growth I've experienced.

I share quite a bit, but I don't share every detail of my private life, anymore. I've learned some tough lessons along the way.

The powerful impact May 15th and May 19th, 2014 made on me (I refer to those as my epiphany days) has changed my life forever. Those days are in the archives if you care to read those.

Those were the days I finally discovered how to be okay with me. I discovered how to love me. I discovered a path to my personal happiness regardless of circumstances. I discovered things that would forever free me from looking for validation or adoration from others, in an effort to somehow prop up how I felt about myself.

Don't get me wrong, I still appreciate compliments--but they're no longer put to work against my deep seeded insecurities...because I'm okay with me, regardless. I've traded in several insecurities for guaranteed security come what may.

And that's what I needed most along this road. I needed to learn how to accept and love me. I needed to learn how to find happiness from within. I needed a spiritual cleansing. And these things I needed--things I'm eternally grateful for today, was never and will never be anything I could possibly find from an external provider. These things--the lock boxes within my heart, mind and soul--needed the keys of perspective, ones I truly believe were divinely dropped on me on the above mentioned dates.

I take what I do in helping others very seriously and very professionally. When someone tries to turn an online correspondence to an inappropriate/off topic place, I remind them once to keep it weight loss related. If they push, I simply withdraw from the conversation and I don't respond again. If they still persist, I block them from whatever social media I can.

The fantastic successes happening in the support groups I co-facilitate are incredible blessings to me. I'm lucky to be a very small part of our group member's success. I'm passionate about what I do each day. I'm passionate about maintaining my food sobriety, including my abstinence from refined sugar and I'm passionate about sharing my experiences on this long and winding road that can lead many different places. I know, through experience, it ultimately can lead to a freedom that's constantly evolving, growing and defining itself.

It's all about learning and growing. And in that, there are no failures, only opportunities to learn and grow.

This isn't exactly the post I set out to write. But it says enough. And I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read it all.

Oh--by the funky day set me way off balance in my food schedule, as you'll clearly see in the Live-Tweet times on each food tweet below. But, I made it through. I feel better now.

And most importantly, I must remember to refrain from ingesting the poison offered by anyone, especially those who know little to none about who I really am and what I'm really about.

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,


  1. I've heard it takes 100 compliments to balance one insult, so I know its hard to shake off things like this. I think you are lovely! Kind, and smart, and funny (and also handsome, not that that matters). No one needs to "watch out" for you! Hasn't everyone had failed relationships? Anyone who isn't married to their childhood sweetheart - or never been on a date. And what has the fact that they started online got to do with anything? That comment really is poison. But the 2nd agreement is so true. It is not about you, it is about them. I feel sad for them that their life has led them to that mindset.

    I spent a bit of time online and now whenever I see an unbelievably ugly comment about women I assume the author is a lonely teenage boy squatting in the twilight of his bedroom, wishing he actually had a girlfriend of any shape or size but too scared to meet anyone. (And with a very small penis, of course.)

  2. Natalie - you are hilarious! And I agree totally! This reflects much more on the person that said it than it does you! Integrity is the most attractive quality any man can possess and you ooze it my friend xoxo

  3. I suck at not taking ANYTHING personally :(

    LOL Natalie I will certainly imagine this when someone I KNOW takes a dig at me. (she / he probaby squatted and well..)

  4. Oh, good grief.

    First, lots of things can be true about a person. A person CAN make a poor relationship choice AND also be all of the wonderful things that you are.

    Both things are true. The relationship error (I refuse to make that plural. A 4 day fling into "Uh-oh!" land is not a relationship.) can be easily explained--and you did an excellent job of that. The rest of your life choices, your way of being, is not in line with that poor choice from years ago.

    That makes it a mistake, not a character indicator. You identified--and have made tremendous progress in resolving--the faulty thinking that allowed you to make that faulty choice.

    Forgive yourself and move on.

    As far as the commentor you referenced, and your supporters bashed a bit in your defense, let me add a little note here.

    To me, all that comment tells me about that person is that she had heard the truth (You had unwise on-line initiated relationships) and she gave that info to someone who was about to become involved with you. It was a caution. The commenter only knew what she knew. She did not know that your past error in judgment was something long ago dealt with and now strictly guarded against. She was warning a friend who is in a vulnerable place right now,

    If someone had given you that warning 5 years ago--before you hooked up with those 2 women--it may have spared you some grief, guilt and pain. (By the way, I know both of those bloggers and you were not their first, or last,pigeon.)

    Alright. Enough of that. Recap, back to you.

    Although it's true that actions often reveal character, sometimes they reveal something else; one must be careful not to assume too quickly what is being revealed. Your post spelled it out quite well. The relationship action did not reveal your true character, it revealed some faulty beliefs you held.

    However, one's character cannot be hidden forever Once you got some accurate information, once you realized what had made you vulnerable, once you sorted it out, you rose to the challenge...and your actions came in line with who you really are.

    Well done. Your counselor would be proud. :} (I mean that.)

    Sending you a hug, Sean boy.


    1. I don't know anything about any of the circumstances past or present, and do not care to know, but I wanted to say what a GREAT comment this is. Very well put.

  5. I thought my comment might mean something to you, simply because I don't know you personally, nor do I know anyone who does. When I read the derogatory comment on the other blog, I immediately dismissed it as a breaktakingly inappropriate comment from someone with major hangups. I'm sure the great majority of your readers did the same. We may not know you directly, but we've experienced how your wonderful spirit shines through your blog everyday and how so many people have benefited from your support. We would never fall for such a misguided accusation. Sorry this incident caused you so much pain.

    1. Ditto to this comment. I think you're a kind, caring, thoughtful man and no one can tell me otherwise. I'm glad you have the great support group that you do. Walk tall Sean, walk tall!

  6. I too was married for over 25 years and divorced at the end of my weight loss. Tried several relationships after that but they didn't work, I made good choices not to continue them and sounds like you did too. You are amazing and so inspirational, never let anyone take that away from you.

  7. Unbelievable!

    First off I'm glad Blogging wasn't a big thing when I was divorced in 1998 because because boy oh boy would I have plenty for everyone to talk about... Married right out of high school, 2 kids with the same man, divorced 13 years later. Afraid to be by myself (not in a relationship as I had been in one all my adult life) caused me to make THE WORST decisions ever. People on here would have had a field day!

    Whatever.. those days are over and God has so graciously provided me new days to make what I want of them. Isn't that cool? We DO NOT have to be defined by our mistakes..learn from them and move on!

    On a different topic.... Sean that grand baby of yours is like a mini you!! Looks just like you.... and I totally agree that grand children are the greatest. My kids have blessed me with 3 little boys (all under 4 years old)and it's hard to explain the love....just no greater feeling!

    Keep your head up Sean... Your just fine....... :-)

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  9. Omg,four days and someone brings that up as a that's crazy shit and not worth your time....NEXT

  10. Mean people suck. End of story. You are an amazing friend and I am sorry you were hurt. Hugs, Linda

  11. Sean you didn't need to justify anything. Like lots of others, I find you a constant source of inspiration. Just because one bitter old moo feels like stirring the pot, doesn't mean anyone gives credence to her words. It takes all sorts, you know? Keep on keeping on, you're doing fine :)

  12. I think when it comes to social media/ blogging and so forth people get brave to say what they want. To hurt someone. The person darn well that you would see that comment. They knew it would set you off and it did. You are only human. What people say hurt and sometimes hurt deeper than you expect. No matter how much you work on your self you will think of that comment. But truth is. With all the writing and social media, we do not who or how you are as a person. And certainly after 4 days She had no clue who you are.
    We just are.
    Just be.
    Let Go ... and enjoy !
    Rosie :)

  13. Hmmmm. Not that you errored in any way, however lets just pretend for arguments sake you wronged someone.

    1. We are humans, and will offend or be offended from time to time. Little kids fall on their butts while learning to roller skate DOZENS of times a session, yet no one picks on them for it because they are LEARNING. Yet when we as adults try new things, well lets just say adults can be brutal. Going into uncharted territory emotionally is scary and fun, however expect to fall on your proverbial butt.

    2. You have the right to like or dislike anyone you want as long as your not mean. When a person has been told " This is not going to work out " they will feel rejected, which leads to them lashing out. You feeling bad because they lash out is just pointless.

    3. If you were to become quiet over a few who attempt to public shame you, then the negative few win. Your story has helped many. Then we lose, and so do the negative ladies... Their personal feelings got in the way and clouded their end goal, to help others understand and overcome poor relationships with food.

    Perfection is not possible, those who strive towards it in all areas of their life will be very hard on themselves... just throwing that at you. BTW, lost 20 lbs this month in a racquetball court because of stumbling on your video. 50 lb more to go, but you gave me that emotional push to try. Its led to yoga and weights. God everything hurts :)

    Keep it real and keep on going. After all whats your end goal?


  14. Ditto what everyone said!!! Folks love to cast stones...

    Now it's time to keep moving it along...

  15. A comment from a woman on a forum I enjoy attacked me several days ago over nothing but an imagined slight. I was unable to sleep that night. Many others on the forum defended me and the accuser stayed away from the forum until today; posting comments as if nothing had happened; posting as if anyone there wanted to read from her ever again.
    What happened to me was much less than what happened to you, and it really hurt. I could buy the book you recommend or adopt the "word to the wise is sufficient" approach. I know that I am loved by the people who know me well. So are you, Sean.

  16. Don't be mad at me, Sean, but you know what I was thinking the other day, after reading that H. will join your group? That you two would make a great couple! I think you are both wonderful people and I just thought how amazing would that be? :) Anyway. I understand that you felt hurt by that comment, we're never totally immune against those internet trolls because even if we know not to take it personally, it's just not nice behavior and it can still get to us. I am glad you shared this with us today and that you now feel ready to move on. Needless to say, her words do not reflect the super thoughtful, kind and supportive kind of person we know you to be. xo

  17. What rubbish. You're human, as we all are. I'd be interested to know of anyone who hasn't made a mistake, or two or three, or 20, when it comes to dating, relationships, etc. Personal attacks are never OK. And I find that commentor's statement inappropriate and a bit vile... Keep on keepin' on, as of course we all know you will. You are an inspiration, perfectly flawed as the rest of us humans, yet someone who always seeks improvement, which is more than I can say about many others. Cheers and thank you for your continued discipline and teachings through your wonderful example of courage, abstinence and accountability. Sincerely, Mandi.

  18. There is probably a million things I could say to be supportive but I just wish I could give you a great big hug.

  19. I get why stuff like this can stick in our craw, but honestly, people can act like idiots. It doesn't matter if you have had 2 or 22 relationships. And that someone has to "warn" others? Good grief. Apparently personal accountability doesn't come into play. Again, peeps is stoopid! Keep on. You're fine. :)

  20. I have been following you for a long time, and back while you were still married. I remember when you and Irene broke up and I felt sad for you both. I also was reading the other bloggers at the time you dated them. Honestly, and this is not to be derogatory toward anyone, but if anyone deserved a warning it was you. I am sorry this caused you pain. I know how it is to have people gossip unfairly toward you, believe me, it happened to me recently. And I had to talk myself out of it and say to myself that the person really must be miserable to have the need to spread gossip and talk about things they really know nothing about.

    1. And if you want to delete this I understand. I just wanted you to read it.


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