This past year and a half I have went through a complete overhaul of my life. I am completely changed, not just physically but emotionally as well. I’m the first to admit I’m not the same person I was at the start of this journey. I’ve had to work on my mental issues as well as my physical and shed parts of myself that I wasn’t proud of. I’ve sort of been like a snake leaving it’s skin behind. It’s flawed, cracked and ugly skin.
But from that shedding, I’m now truly happy. I’m centered. I’m calm(er). I’m confident. I’m strong. I’m comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life.
So I see this transformation as nothing but positive. And you would think everyone else would too right??!!
Yes today we’re going to talk about a dark side of the process of change… the “haters”.
It seems like a no brainer that as I found happiness and passion all the people in my life would find it for me as well. All my friends would be cheering me on, all my friends would be proud of me, Happy for me.
Unfortunately I was as wrong about that as I was about cauliflower crust pizza. One of the dark sides of this journey has been that as I have changed, some people haven’t appreciated the changes. I’ve lost friends, relationships have changed, “haters” emerged….Doubters appeared. People who had my back when I walked behind them suddenly began talking behind my back as I emerged ahead. People who I thought would want me to improve seemed to like me better when I was a lesser version of myself.
At first the changes in my relationships started small. The jokes of “don’t eat that around the low carb queen” were followed by friends that completely ignored my weight loss, grew tired of listening to me talk about it, saw my new confidence as ego, my passion as bragging.
Then the changes grew larger. I started to feel like an outsider in environments I used to thrive in. It was very unexpected and very lonely at times.
Although as you know from following this page I am encouraged and cheered on by absolutely amazing people, I want you to know that the opposite has also happened in my life. I’ve endured criticisms and been the topic of many behind my back conversations. I’ve had friends see me across a room and walk away. I’ve overheard or been told of plenty of behind the back conversations from “omg she posted another selfie” to “she suddenly thinks she is better than everyone else” to “she posted about her weight loss again!”
But if I’m truly honest most of the people I have lost in this process occurred because of my choice to walk away. When I was with some people I would see the bad version of myself that I had “shed”. I was reminded of the bad things I had done in the name of being accepted, liked, or popular. And these people liked me for the bad version of myself and I simply wasn’t willing to be like that anymore. That skin had shed and I wasn’t getting it back.
So just as I was lessening sugar I needed to lessen drama in my life and I started to do that. I think it was more of a survival mechanism than anything. I was going through a really tough process and I only had the energy to surround myself with people that were pushing me forward not holding me back.
I started to learn the power of women uplifting women and it began to get harder to be in any environment where that wasn’t happening. After all, my success was caused by people uplifting me. My friend who encouraged me to run even though that was impossible at the time. My friend who told me I was the strongest person she knew when I wanted to quit. My friend who reminded me not to call it “my old self” as the new me was always there… just hidden. These people were the reason I was doing what I was doing. I started to embrace the true power of confident women. Women confident enough in their own selves that they didn’t need to push others down to feel better.
So As I focused on these relationships, the reality was others drifted farther away when I simply wasn’t looking.
I drove with my daughter one day in the car and she was telling me yet another tween mean girl story. As she talked about girls demeaning others, snickering and laughing behind backs, forming cliques and excluding others, I smiled and told her that being a girl is so hard and the things she is dealing with are not limited to young girls. I told her I was going through similar things and she was so surprised to hear I had similar issues to battle even as an adult. Yes my love, adult women can be mean girls too.
I confessed to her that when I wasn’t confident in myself I had been mean to others in an attempt to make myself feel better. I wasn’t proud of it but I wanted her to never make the mistakes I did. I admitted to her I had true friendships I had sacrificed to “Keep up with the Jones” and I regretted that deeply.
So that night as I tucked her into bed I pulled out my phone and told her I wanted to read her something. I read her the great Eleanor Roosevelt quote “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. I smiled “Time for you and I to be Eleanors”, and that’s what we’ve been working on ever since.
Listen my friends here’s the deal… Any major change in your self is going to lead to changes in your life. Not everyone along your path are meant to come with you and not everyone has to be your cheerleaders. As you try to head up, some will try and keep you down. You are going to have to choose who comes along with you and who is holding you back. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. But it’s necessary.
And I know it sounds funny but be grateful for your haters and your critics. They fuel your inner Eleanor, they actually teach you about what true friendship is because they give you an illustration of what it is not. I’ve never been more grateful for the true friends in my life. I tell them this now, I never did before. I’m starting to work on being a good friend focusing more of my energy into the healthy relationships in my life. I am working on being a better friend to those I cherish and that right there is worth all the pain of losing and change.
Always remember to be grateful for the fact that every fake friend you uncover will be one true friend you previously took for granted that you will discover.
It’s hard enough to navigate the world of adulthood, friendship by no means should ever be difficult. This is what I tell my daughter all the time and what I now have to listen to too. If you have to work to be friends with someone, if you have a feeling like you are on a job interview when you are with them hoping they like you, then those aren’t friends. A true friend likes you and all of you… no matter how crazy or broken you are. A true friend inspires you, helps you.
Don’t ever forget that. (Yes Mandi, im talking to you!!).
So if you are dealing with haters… doubters… critics, choose to see them as blessings in your life. For every snicker behind your back will lead you to focus not so much on the fact they are talking about you but more on the fact that they are BEHIND you for a reason.
Start spring cleaning your life. I am on a mission to surround myself with those who inspire me and I’m going to continue to inspire others, pointless selfies and all. Life itself tries to put out our fires… time for us to all help others fan the flames. For as we are fanning other people’s flames ours in turn glows so much brighter.
I spent my first 40 years focusing on what people thought… I’m done doing that. I choose to focus on the great… not the hate.