As I was checking messages on-line this morning, I realized I had not heard from a friend for more than a week.
She’d been part of a Challenge that I had issued a couple weeks ago, about looking yourself in the eye each morning in the bathroom mirror...and proclaiming something you actually
like about yourself.
It’s harder than many people think.
Some believe it is silly fluff-talk, hearkening back to the character of Stuart Smalley (created by Al Franken) on Saturday Night Live, whose “Daily Affirmations” made us laugh week after week...as he basically skewered the self-help field.
I’m in that field...and I laughed!
She had actually begin the Challenged quite well...but then faded away.
Within moments of reaching out to this person earlier today, I received a response.
“I’ve been letting the negative take over. Ugh.”
Having been there myself, and wanting to help, I made a suggestion:
“If you really want to take it a little extra step, take a selfie in front of the bathroom mirror, with a GREAT BIG SMILE...
and your middle finger.
Keep it in your phone and, at those moments of the day when you feel that negativity creeping up...look at it.
This is just a little thing I've done in the past which has helped me.”
Am I a trained or licensed therapist?
No I am not.
Am I authorized to diagnose or treat medical situations?
What I am qualified to do is share what has helped me over the years as I’ve made the journey from peak to valley (to the depths of some really dark caverns) and back.
In those dark days, when it seemed like the negative things (and people) around me were singing louder than my own voice, when I was feeling ‘stuck’ and destined for a lifetime of ‘just squeaking through’, one day I remembered what I used to do as I was leaving the gym...which shared a parking lot with a local fast-food restaurant.
I gave it the finger.
At a time in my life when I was 20 pounds overweight, had a cholesterol level that looked like a perfect bowling score, and was unhappily wheezing as a soggy former athlete, my doctor gave me 3 months to shape up or he was going to put me on medications.
I chose to go to the gym, every day...giving that restaurant the “McFinger” every time I left the parking lot.
And it made me smile as I said: “Hey. you can’t have me today!”
Within 3 months: I had lost 19 pounds, my cholesterol numbers plummeted to a safer range and I was really enjoying my workouts and progress.
I discovered that my ‘Middle-Finger Workout’ applied to other parts of my life as well.
While I didn’t walk around waving it in public, I metaphorically used it to remove other things (and people) in my life which were not serving me.
This morning, just minutes after sharing this with my friend, my phone buzzed...indicating that I had a private message.
It was from her.
There was an attachment.
There she was, in her bathroom mirror, smiling with her middle finger riding high.
Her comment: “I did it. And you know what? That felt good...lol.”
I am so proud of her.
Does this mean her life is forever changed? That this is the part in the movie when the clouds part, the orchestral music swells and all is right with the world as our hero/heroine summits the mountain and slays all dragons?
This is a hand-hold on a cliff called life.
A safe place to step and gain your footing.
A rest stop for those weary of being dragged down.
It is a moment, in a mirror, that can give you strength.
It can help to put you back in the driver’s seat in your own mind and heart.
It can send you out the front door to tackle your day, waving that finger (metaphorically, at least) toward those negative forces and saying: “Nope...you can’t have me today!”
It’s a start.
What are you seeing in your mirror each day?
Are you building yourself up by smiling about at least one part of your life that you appreciate or are grateful for?
Or do you begin each day knocking yourself down, allowing the voices of others to define you and your worth?
As I challenged my friend recently, I now challenge you: Every day, when you’re standing in that mirror getting ready, please identify and say (out loud to yourself), something that you really dig (or at least moderately appreciate) about yourself.
Then, for the rest of that week, acknowledge that one again...and add one more.
What are we doing?
We’re building muscles.
We’re strengthening that middle finger so that it can take on anything, or anyone, that we perceive as being in our way, blocking our happiness and self-worth.
It can help with self-preservation, even on a small scale.
And if you’re not sure where to start, go to SteveChats.com, pick a date and time that fit your schedule, and let’s have a cool conversation.
Integrity Health is a franchise company residing in New Hampshire. We specialize in health coaching centers combining fitness with weight loss to optimize and promote optimal health. We are also the national purveyors of the EZCOACH Fitness Prescription System licensed by fitness professionals.