Belief: Your lifeline.

By Monica C. Voskamp

He stared at my photos of the past obese me and then locked eyes on the current present me, shook his head in awe and said to me: “Monica, if you can lose 100 pounds…you can do anything.

That phrase has stuck in my mind. So many times I’ve undermined my ability. Scratch that. I haven’t even believed I have ability. It’s weird. It just never was a card in my hands–to believe I was able.

I wrote on my white board this week: You are capable.  I need this visual reminder of the belief I want my heart to live loud. This is a very emotional realization: You are capable.  Part of me feels guilt for not realizing this sooner. Another part of me is excited and incredulous upon discovering: I can. I can. I can.

For so long I’ve lived in my truth being: I can’t. And it seemed the universe always gave me one more experience to concrete that belief. But thank God, the universe has also given me experiences, people, situations that just spelled out blaring obvious: You can. You can. You can.

I have lived in the ‘I can’t’ mentality for so long whenever someone told me “I can”, the words kinda ricocheted.  But, somewhere along the line a shift in my thinking began.

“I can do anything.” This statement is so bold. The more I examine what I do and get honest with myself I think: Wow, if I’d apply serious effort and time into this…I could make something good. I could be successful…really successful.

I’m lost in shock and wonder at this possibility.

Believing you can is more than half the battle. Your belief is your lifeline. It is written on every second of your timeline. Know your belief. Hold it close for this is your good. And never let the world tell you differently. This is your core fundamental truth.

You, you, you (!) get to decide upon which truth you live. And when you live in that truth, your mind, your days, your relationships, your projects, your situations—good or bad—will all line up very differently, simply because you believe you can, instead of you can’t.

Your mindset matters. That voice inside your head is your power. Grab it. Train it. Wrestle it. Feed it. Nurture it.

Your voice is your choice. “I can…I can do anything.”

And you can.

 © 2020 MONICA C. VOSKAMP
Always hope. Always believe. Always love. ❤

*Photo Credit: Photo by Roan Lavery on Unsplash

The real issue isn’t the issue..

By Monica C. Voskamp

Why do we (continually) do things we regret? Why do we submit ourselves to a cycle of abuse when we abhor it so much?

In short, the moment of pleasure and immediate comfort is cherished more than the repercussions of pain and the work of resolution.

There are many reasons we do what we do,  why we *continue* to do it…but I think there comes a point to realize the glaring issue isn’t the real issue to deal with anymore.

The first time I was called fat, I was a little girl. It re-labeled me. It changed how I saw myself, how I acted and reacted in life.

These words hurt me. People failed me one too many times. I soon found something that gave me immediate pleasure: Food.  The problem was it never was enough.  Whenever I was conflicted, dejected, rejected, disappointed, I sought out this instant relief. However, this ‘relief’ brought me more misery…my body suffered physically and emotionally I never experienced healing from the hurt. Instead I self-soothed the way I first knew how.  I “protected” the hurt from any other “healing”. I think this is natural response. You’re scared. You were hurt. Its frightening to do something different with an area so vulnerable, so locked deep in yourself.

Still, food wasn’t the solution, but in my little mind it did the trick. However, it turned on me. Addictions do that; they turn on you. 

Yes there was a beginning point, a hurt, an injustice…something went wrong, but the things is it never got dealt with rightly.

We naturally look for fixes-whether in food, sex, alcohol, achievements, cheap thrills…you know your fix. You also know it’s not really a fix. It’s a “jimmy-fix”…what you do on old cars when you want them to last just a little longer.  That’s what we’re doing with addictions, just trying to make it through another day. To fix the problem feels too overwhelming.

If “jimmy-fixes” (quick reliefs) are ALL you are ever giving yourself, don’t expect success. Except survival, disappointment, more hurt. Don’t expect an improved relationship, the debt to be gone, the arguments to dissipate, the hurting inside to stop.  Don’t expect things to just get better.

We all know covering the surface scratch doesn’t repair the deep inner damage.

For years, I did ‘minor repairs’ for my emotional complex, my broken sense of identity.

I self-soothed through the quick fix of food. As I aged, I tried to approach my food addiction various times…. dieting, counseling, renewed resolutions blah blah blah. I saw some temporary results, but nothing lasting. I never had the guts to expose the real issue: the issue inside of me. I hated me. I didn’t realize this, till later. Truth is, I was way too scared to confront the hurt.

Who isn’t afraid of facing the overwhelming, of what caused the addiction and the addiction itself?

It’s more comfortable to ignore, to hide from the awful reality, than confront.

Long ago I pegged myself incompetent, unable, a misfit. These messages were reinforced with circumstances, with people in my childhood. The thing is I was also tuned into this channel defeat. I didn’t stand back and see the good input that was happening. Kids are pretty smart but they are also kids. They are ever absorbing, ever reinforcing and building their viewpoints of how life, how people should operate.

I think as adults, we have to revisit those pillars. What if we stood back and,

1. Acknowledge the initial hurt. (Sometimes going backwards allows us to go forward)

2. Create new life giving messages. (The way we think, greatly impacts our behavior)

3. Allow change in our life. (Addictive behaviors don’t promote healing, find something that does.)

This was me when I was 29 years old, 248 pounds. I was freaking out over my chaotic cycles of bingeing, looking for relief, but never getting any. I finally faced myself, the hurt, the real issue. I had come to hate myself…and that’s what needed healing. I had rejected myself based on other’s opinions and reviews of me. New messages in my thinking were needed, not more food.

The day I saw 248 pounds I told myself I needed to do something radically different.  I vowed I would do whatever it took.  I didn’t understand or have a complete grasp on the details right away, but I had a distinct turn in my mind.

This healing message dawned on me: Mon, you hold power in your hands. You CAN do something about this life-long battle.

I admitted the TRUTH of the situation: It was an enormous mountain.  It would take a lot of work.

I took responsibility: (The addiction) was MY mess. At the end of the day, only I could create lasting change.  I was now in pursuit of resolving. I was going forward, with fear no longer stopping me. See how much that revolves with me…”I” statements?  (Not to say, I didn’t ask for help along the way! And a phrase from the book of Psalms gave me a new motto….being a woman of “strong courage”)

The thing is I stopped making excuses for my addictive behavior and started with what what I could do.  I took my wobbly unsteady 248 pound insecure self and began short daily walks of 10 minutes, outside.

Previously, I had been used to exercising inside, hiding, I was too ashamed of my body, of my condition. I didn’t want people to see me.

Hiding never promotes healing. It breeds fear, shame, guilt and reinforces the same behaviors. You need to be found, unhidden in order to heal. 

 

The turning point of resolution, for healing is:

-admitting I WANT to deal with my situation.

-moving ahead, instead of spinning circles.

-seeing myself capable, instead of incapable.

-believing in success, instead of doomed to failure.

-aiming for progress not perfection

It may be debt. It may be the unspoken secrets destroying your marriage. It may be hidden addictions. Whatever issues are overwhelming you will best be healed when you look deeper within.

However, when it comes down to it,  many prefer to stay stuck. Many of us will suffer the abuse, the pain, the debt, the hurt of addictions INSTEAD of seeking resolution. Why?  Resolution requires a cost.

Resolution takes:  honesty. work. courage. new paths. letting go.

We can get comfortable in our struggles. We can become more SCARED of good changes than we are the pain, the problem. It’s rightly so.

You are going into a new territory. You are dealing with something sensitive. But a war was never won with a leader who was too scared of the risks, too scared to lose the comfort of what he had, too scared he would fail. He was already losing. He saw what he could gain, he admitted it would take more than his own power and resources. That leader saw a cause worth pursuing, and he pursued.

The thing to fear isn’t the issues or addictions, the thing to fear is your  own complacency.

As soon as you believe a cause is worth pursuing, you WILL do whatever it takes to win that battle. Even if you die still halfway in the process, you will have made successes. You will have covered new ground. You will have inspired others and gained new appreciation for yourself.

Courageous steps are never a loss, they are always celebratory.

My boss once told me this: you can always learn from your mistake and recover that ground.  But if you do nothing, it gives a bad impression, like you don’t care or aren’t willing to even try. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.  Wise words. That leader taught me this:

Don’t expect to execute immediate perfection in a new situation. Simply do something..do progression.

Facing the big mountains in our life isn’t easy. I’ve experienced it. It’s still hard…to be brave, to put in effort and forge my fears, but it’s also still rewarding, empowering,  life-changing, soul healing.

That is a good price to pay. When you believe in your investment, you WILL see revenue.

Stop overthinking the fears, spit out your pride and step into the progression, not perfection.

The real issue is more about you, and less about the overwhelming situation.  Are you willing? Do you want this bad enough? There are resources! There are other people on this planet to help you. But the thing is, it’s starts with you.

You are capable. You are intelligent. You are powerful. And your life matters.

Believe it. You will not regret it. 🙂

Always believe. Always hope. Always love. ❤

*Photo Credits: Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

 

 

Seeing Differently: 5 years in

By Monica C. Voskamp

Please don’t see me. That’s how I felt. I didn’t want to see me and I didn’t want others too. I wanted to somehow hide the entirety of 248 pound me. Try imagine adding 100 pounds to your size..(keep breathing!).. and think you can be invisible. It’s like being 2 people…seriously. Try fitting in a cafe booth!! That struggle was real.

Please don’t see me.” It was a lot of self thinking. I gave too much energy and anxiety over fear of people judging me and trying to reduce that fear. Yet I also had a message beating in my heart: Someone, anyone see me, hear me? But I couldn’t voice this well. I really couldn’t. It was a scary thought to be vulnerable, to express the true needs of myself. Here I was, adult age & body…yet struggling with the past 28 some years. I was carrying a childhood complex and past insecurities. Stuck.

Surrendering and taking ownership for myself ( the physical fatness) actually became the gateway to opening my whole self to health. You see, the more you confront and expose fears, lies, unhealthy mindsets and behaviors, the more you are opening yourself to freedom.

 

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Me in 2013

It’s 5 years since that “Me in 2013.”  Yes, I still have issues to work through…but this past 1/2 of decade has held so much growth in becoming my individual self, and being okay with me as me…me as a person, as a woman.

I am a woman. I know…it sounds like a gender statement haha.  Yes, I AM a female. 🙂 But I mean it in the way, that I’ve discovered, I am no longer a little girl; I am a woman. It’s been a journey of empowerment to discover I am MORE.  More than a helpless little girl.

This is me claiming who I am, not the little girl I knew, not the childhood fears, not the ghosts of the past. I am a woman. It is liberating to realize who I was then,  who I am now, and who I am becoming.

I am a woman. I’m capable of making my own choices, independent to make my own decisions, and responsible for the life I lead.  That’s a very simple and seemingly obvious statement for adulthood, but it’s something I’d never realized was mine.

 

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Me in 2018

There are many things I haven’t been taught I wish I had been. I can’t change that. My doctor was the first person to verbalize belief in me. I was stunned. She really believed I could do or become anything I wanted! My brother was the second person that spoke the same confidence. Then, I was the third. I suddenly realized I could make excuses for a million years of the things not in my favor and only see the odds…childhood trauma, messed up religious teachings, life impacting illnesses, 100 pounds extra… blah blah blah. 😛 Or I could flip the coin and embrace my coin.

As an adult, as a woman, it is now up to me to decide, learn, grow and be.  I have that choice, that’s quite the opportunity!

I do believe one should acknowledge the messiness. Sometimes that takes a LONG time.  (Example: me) But there’s more than acknowledging.  Action is the tough but also the best part. Plodding through and not letting any of the “messiness” hold you back leads to..is..healing.

5 years later I’m in a very different place.

The bonuses of embarking on loving me are many. I see:

…I no longer hate or despise myself!

-Seeing me.  I don’t wish to be invisible 🙂

-Enjoying me for me.

-Believing I am cut out to be a leader. Belief in myself!

-Wanting to take on challenges and opening to new approaches.

-Realizing it’s not all about me! I’m not alone in struggles, pain. This was an eye-opener. It’s an obvious fact of life…but something that finally hit me more.

And, remember that desperate inner “Someone, anyone hear me??”

-Finding a voice. I can speak up for myself, and for others.  Ironically, (lol), it does take *speaking* to be heard. 😉

My brother’s been my huge coach in encouraging me to express my thoughts freely and say what’s on my mind, instead of being fearful of people’s reaction or speaking to please them.  It’s called learning to be my own person, me. 🙂

In all those growths, there are still glitches! But as I heard recently, life is about “progress not perfection.” 🙂

5 years later..I see differently and I’m glad. I see a woman who is in the becoming.

I see love is action. It’s been a lot of brave, courage, fight, discomfort, joys…and commitment. Love doesn’t give up. Five years ago, it was a resolute heart decision: I’m committed to healthy living for the rest of my life. I knew I had to take action; it was enough of me praying for God to fix things, when He’s made me capable.  I’m on a wildly imperfect journey, but one of love.  And I’ve decided, love is the best vow you can ever make. For yourself…your whole self.., for your friends, family and for this life. ❤