Thanks so much for everyone's patience, as it has been a few months since I last posted. No excuses. I got busy and put it on the back burner. But, I am back...so here we go!
You know...this one is tough for me to put down, as it requires me to be very vulnerable, and that hasn't always been an easy thing for me. Breaking through my past fears of being liked and my addiction to pleasing others made it very difficult for me to put anything but my best foot forward, for fear others would see the "rest of the story."
I see all of these women on social media who talk about breaking free from feeling like they were never good enough, and being judged for being too fat, or too skinny, or too....something. Truth is, we guys deal with the same stuff, but are never afforded the freedom to talk about it. We fight feeling inadequate, or not making enough money, or not providing a suitable living for our family...mostly performance-related. We don't talk about it, fighting the inner war so that people who depend on us can feel our strength. We are encouraged to "suck it up" or "rub some dirt in it" but never encouraged to both voice and embrace the feelings that are involved. Rather, we are told to bury that stuff and never let it see the light of day...meanwhile, we are dying on the inside. If we have a woman in our lives, they say they want to know our deepest feelings, but by the time we do express them, it comes out very RAW, and bless their hearts...they don't know what to do with it. So, they retreat a little, because they don't know what to do with seeing us as weak or vulnerable, and we are left alone to fight our demons.
Honestly, vulnerability is strength. Whether you choose to be vulnerable with your spouse, or a trusted close friend or a coach, it is vital for your sanity, health, and success. I am learning this on a daily basis. I am also learning that if I am to be of any help to anyone around me, if I am going to make an impact on anyone else's life, I HAVE to be able to acknowledge and embrace how I feel, in order to process it and then move on. In that, I am truly loving myself, which is as crucial for a man's mental and emotional health as it is for the ladies. Now, when I say embrace and acknowledge my feelings, I am not talking about wallowing in self-pity or going on some unhealthy food binge to accompany feeling sad or upset. Noooo! I am talking about owning my own shit. If I am angry, then I am going to be angry, own it, and then move on...no, not destroying things or punching walls. But it is important to acknowledge that if I am angry, yes...be angry! If I am happy, then I will own that. If I am sad, I will own that. I will not blame anyone else for my emotions or behaviors, and I will not try to cover them up or rationalize them away. They are there, and they are real. Do they run my life? Absolutely not--but they sure as hell are a part of who I am.
Now that I have cleared that up, I want to move on to my point...struggling with being good enough. I have fought this on many levels throughout my life. When I was a kid, I struggled with being good enough because my parents weren't wealthy, and many of my friends' parents were well to do. As a teen, I didn't think I was good enough because my parents were divorced, and I wasn't exactly the coolest kid. I was pretty geeky. Choosing to play football helped with that, but I was still a nerd, when being a nerd wasn't cool. I covered up those feelings by making sure I was the smartest kid in school, graduating valedictorian of my class. I knew every senior but 3. As I look back, I am sure everyone thought I was a nice guy and smart and friendly. But unfortunately, I wasn't convinced I was good enough.
I carried this to college, struggling to feel good enough because of one reason or the other. Ironically, I was a theology major, and I KNEW that I was enough because of what Jesus did for me, but I never BELIEVED it. I never embraced it, or felt it. This made for a miserable time, because as a trained minister, I wanted to help people see a better way and a better view of life, but I couldn't wrap my life around what I was preaching. I honestly didn't walk what I was talking. I struggled with self-esteem and being confident enough in who I was to actually believe the message myself.
After stepping away from active ministry, I went back to food service, working my way up to management very quickly, because I am good at working with food and with people. I developed a great staff and team (alongside some other great managers), and I felt like I belonged...but I still didn't feel good enough. Now it was because I was a bachelor and in my 30s. I watched all of my friends through college and grad school get married, and it had an effect on me.
When I did meet the love of my life, all of this feeling "not good enough" still continued to overwhelm me, to the point of exhausting my lovely wife, who ran out of ideas to convince me I was good enough. Because I was not convinced I was good enough, I couldn't truly love myself as I was, and I slowly pushed her away. I am definitely regretful of that mistake.
Fast-forward to moving to Kansas City in 2015. I came with high expectations of things being different, and of opportunity. Instead, I ran into the same things--being overwhelmed with not being good enough. I managed multi-million-dollar restaurants--successfully, I might add--but I was perceived as not being good enough to manage people in the new company I was with. Even if there had been doubt of it in my mind, it was clearly communicated as such. So, I worked hard to be accepted at what I was given, because at the time, I just wanted to please everyone. I was overweight from all the stress I was carrying because I never felt good enough, and so someone that I highly regarded took pity on me (or disgust...some days, I am not too sure) and sent me to a personal trainer here in Kansas City.
I loved it! I found one of my passions for life again--being in the gym. I embraced it and ran with it (and continue to work hard on this every single day). It so affected me, I ran with the idea of becoming a trainer myself, so I could help people feel as good as I do now when I am in the gym. The gym is my muse and my escape, because I don't have to prove myself to anyone but the person I see in the mirror--me. More on that...
I successfully completed my CPT course and passed my test, and so now I am a NASM certified personal trainer. I was on top of the world! I approached my previous trainer, as I was excited to potentially be in the atmosphere that helped me and be able to help others--but was tripped up again with not quite being good enough. See, I dropped 35 pounds when I worked with that trainer, and I was excited about it, but it wasn't as drastic as some of the clients that were up on the walls of that gym. I still have a belly at this point in my journey...but it covers a lot more that is rock solid that meets the eye. I am still working on this so that the world can see all the fruits of my labor. But...I am not there...yet. And so again, I took a hard emotional hit because I am not a shredded size small.
I am a big guy. I am stronger today and breaking personal records that I have not approached since I was in my 20s (some of my PRs are better now than they were then). I am 47. I improve on something every single day when I am in the guy--and I am there every single day. I bust my butt, and I am proud of where I have come. I have made great strides in taking better care of myself on every level--including mental and emotional health. When 2019 came around, I made up my mind I was going to embrace who I am, and if others cannot handle it, they are not meant to be in my circle. This has been soooo therapeutic, as I finally feel like I am coming into my own again, where I am happy and actually feel I can positively impact others.
So, for all of those who made me feel like I wasn't good enough...I forgive you. I release you to do you, because I am gonna do me. I forgive myself for letting you make me feel that way, because this will not happen again. As of this day, I AM GOOD ENOUGH. I am good enough to train other people to better themselves in the gym. I am good enough to make a positive impact on the world...RIGHT NOW...not when I am a millionaire or some kind of shredded skinny. I have something to offer, and I have a voice--and dammit, I am going to use it going forward. There is so much value I have to offer, from life experiences and perspective, that can help people now! Do I have it all together? Nope. Some days, I am still a hot mess, to be quite honest. But here is the key: I work on myself every day. I get better at something every day. I improve just a little every day. And guess what? I love the freakin' journey! This is my time, this is my groove, and I am going to help change the world to be a better place, because it is my destiny.
So, with every fiber of my being--I embrace all of me, and I shout: I AM GOOD ENOUGH!!!!!!
For those of you reading this that have struggled with the same feelings, I want you to know...you are good enough, just as you are. You have something to offer, you can make an impact. If you struggle with these types of feelings, please, please, please...contact me and I would love to talk to you. There is more for you--WAY more.
Thanks for reading. I love you all.