Tuesday, August 18, 2009


"If we knew each other's secrets, what comforts we should find."
--John Churton Collins

Yesterday, at my Weight Watchers meeting, we were talking about times when you're stuck, when you're cruising, and when you're moving forward. At one point, a man in our group said something like, "I think that I'm finding out - and this sounds silly that I'm just now figuring it out - just how much my feelings impact my journey."

To which, a lady said something like, "Really? I wish I could just stop feeling so much."

So I brought up the time when I was challenged about my struggle with just feeling my feelings. I thought, for a moment about not saying anything. Usually in the group, I'm the smart-ass. The public Anne, like the one represented on my other blog, the one that makes light of many situations. I didn't. I shared. Because I think I'm realizing that there is power in releasing secrets.

At one point, someone jokingly said to me "Yeah, but how do you FEEL?" as a way to make light of what I had shared. I know she meant it good naturedly - as a way to tease back the person that constantly is making jokes, but for a split second, I felt shame. Shame seems to be my go-to emotion these days. And then, a split-second later, I found myself opening up my mouth and defending my statement, my progress, and my journey. I am proud for attacking the "big" issues with WHY I am overweight. The issues? They're deeper than me not tracking, deeper than me not eating 5 fruits and veggies a day, and they're deeper than me making poor choices.

I mentioned that I lost 40 pounds pretty quickly - from mid July of last year until January 1st. And in the past 8 months, I've only lost 13. My leader asked the group, "So, is Anne stuck, cruising, or moving forward?" And at that point, I realized that it did not matter at all what the response was. I KNEW that I was making progress...stuff for the rest of my life. I KNEW that I was moving forward. That even in this meeting where I feel pretty supported, I wasn't really looking for my worth in others.

There were a couple of people who spoke up and congratulated me on the mental work that I was doing, on the progress that I was making. And you know what? It wasn't just people being nice. They were being genuine. And what I felt was a feeling I haven't felt in a LOOONG time. I felt pure pride. When I've been praised publicly for things before I've always felt a bit of shame deep down - as if I didn't really deserve the praise. Last night, I knew that their genuine comments were true. I was working hard and worthy of congratulations. And let me tell you, it felt SO GOOD.

There is freedom in being honest.

I love the quote that I opened this post with. Because there IS comfort in hearing someone else's secrets - especially when you feel that you're not all that alone. But in my mind, it doesn't compare to being able to share your own secrets and realizing that the world doesn't stop. There is comfort that when you show vulnerability, you find there are people to catch you and build you up.

I've found that when I have the courage to be 100% honest - with myself and others - that what I'm really doing is lightening my emotional baggage.

And I gotta' say...lighter feels SO much better.


POD said...

Yes, it's great when you hear something that comes from someone else's 'center' or heart or whatever you want to call it. Especially when you know in your heart, you are doing all this good work on your own.

Then there is that connection with others where everything comes together and people can identify with your struggle and you can identify with theirs and everyone is empathetic with your schtuff.

Makes life so much easier.

Kris said...

Last night may have been a turning point. Not just for you, but maybe the small group who are on a journey that is similar, but not the same as just the 'food thing'. I think that is is not just sharing secrets, but also being vulnerable. You were that last night like you are in this blog...and you had a face last night, not hiding (not that you are hiding) behind a computer. A turning point. I am glad you did not let anyone in the group shut you down and you continued speaking. Thank you for sharing this journey with me...in more ways then one!