November 4th, 2018 The Thing About The Word Hope
Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.
Every now and then, I'll open my email and find a message from someone who is feeling completely lost and disconnected along this road. It happened again yesterday.
"You say "there's hope" but I don't see it or feel it at all. Just you saying there's hope isn't helping me. I lost over 45 kilos (100 pounds for you in the US) and now I've gained back all of that plus 11 (25 pounds). You don't have to respond. I'm sure you're a busy person. I read your blog every day and have for years. I just wanted to let you know that I think I'm beyond hope. I don't know what to do. Reading your blog once inspired me. I still read what you share but it doesn't impact me the same way as before. Any advice?" -B.C. in UK
First of all, BC, thank you for taking the time to sit down and share this with me. I strongly recommend finding a local in-person meeting of a well-established support group. Are you willing to do that?
Here's the thing about the word hope: It's not the word or the thought of it that makes a difference. If hope isn't believable for you, then what will make it so? Action on your part--that's what makes it believable.
The first action, in my opinion, is to forgive yourself. Love yourself just enough to embrace the fact that this isn't a moral failing on your part. Relapse/regain doesn't make you a bad person--and successfully losing weight doesn't make you a better person. Meditate on that--let it marinate--Can you give yourself a big loving embrace of forgiveness? That's an important question because if all of your energy every day is consumed with the most horrible negative thoughts about yourself, how much energy will you have left to move forward?
Step outside of yourself for a moment. Imagine someone you dearly love has come to you describing where they are, similar to where you are now. How would you encourage them? What kind of compassion would you extend? Would you level them by verbalizing the head chatter you use against yourself? Or would you do your best to lift them up? You deserve the same compassion you would freely extend to someone else. If that's a hard concept to grasp, maybe it'll become easier as you start doing the actions needed to change your perspective and trajectory.
At the height of my 164-pound relapse/regain, I was all out of hope. I get it. Hearing someone say "there's hope" didn't make a dent in the spiral that seemed determined to kill me. It wasn't until I stopped fighting-I stopped trying to figure out what to do--and started doing the actions bringing hope to people who had what I wanted. It started with a question from my long-time friend and mentor, Gerri Helms. What are you willing to do?
I was so preoccupied with self-loathing and brutal self-assaults in my thinking, I hadn't really thought about that. I believed hope in theory. I believed hope because I could see what others had been able to accomplish in their recovery. But I didn't believe hope for me. How can we start believing in hope?
The answer, in my opinion, is: By doing. If hearing the word hope isn't helping, if seeing the fruits of hope in others doesn't resonate--then our only hope is found in doing the actions that will lead us toward believing. If we don't believe it's possible--then it isn't. Our perception is our reality. If we can suspend that perception long enough to take action--then we might actually start believing. Once we start believing in hope, we're in a position to change.
What are you willing to do? I hope you'll find one of those in-person, well-established support and recovery group meetings. You might hear more stories of incredible hope. But more important than hearing the thinly layered and seemingly elusive word, "hope," you might discover the deeply profound and available list of actions they employed in order to discover and believe their hope. Hope has no power without action.
I slept-in beautifully today. I needed a good rest. I've finished my morning routine, prepared and enjoyed my breakfast and now I'm setting out for a good Sunday. I'll be picking up mom later this afternoon for our usual Sunday get-together.
The next session of the accountability and support group I facilitate via a secret Facebook group page and weekly mentoring group conference calls starts in just three days! I have a few spaces available. If you're interested in jumping aboard our lifeboat, don't wait! Email me with questions and/or to request a registration invoice for the 8-week fee. What you'll discover in this group is something very special. Everyone is at different places along this road. From just getting started to maintenance and everywhere in-between--and we all relate so beautifully to one another. The power of a group like ours can be a very helpful tool along your path. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or text: 580-491-2228. I'll get back with you quickly.
Thank you for reading and your continued support,