After you lose weight, there’s always someone who comes up to ask, “How’d you do it?” and to be honest, there’s always someone out there with an opinion about this. There’s always someone out there with a better way, which for them, maybe theirs was the only way. And I don’t doubt that it was. I don’t doubt the different pathways to recovery.
However, I have noticed that in the midst of any transformational changes, there is always someone out there with an idea or an opinion. There is always someone with some kind of advice—and that’s fine, but wait . . .
why must there only be one way?
Think about this for a second.
Ever talk to someone about a doctor?
You need to use my doctor because my doctor is the best.
Or wait, how about someone in auto repair?
Hey, I heard you need a car guy. You should use my guy.
My guy is the best!
Perhaps I have mentioned this to you before but this is something that I have to mention again, which is I have been on one side or the other of the mental health table for a very long time. I have undergone personal changes, transformational changes, unfortunate ones, and fortunately, I have seen my life undergo miraculous changes. All of this has become my way, which is as unique to me as the fingerprints on my fingers. There is something I have witnessed in the wellness world, which is when people argue methods or pathways towards health. I have seen people disagree with treatment and wellness plans. And to what avail? Meanwhile, there’s someone who is out there, marching up the hill of an uphill battle and yet, there’s someone out there who is quick to say, “You’re doing it wrong.”
To be clear, I am not sure when my changes began. I am not sure if this was because of some kind of divine intervention or if suddenly, one day, my eyes opened up differently from the day before. I don’t know when my intentions changed nor can I pinpoint when my sense of urgency changed. Maybe this happened when I came to my own realization.
Or perhaps I had “Enough” as they say.
My changes could be that I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Or maybe I just wanted to live my life differently—and to be clear, none of my changes happened until my will and intent outweighed my doubts and my fears. But change is what I wanted and change is what I did. Sure, there were people out there with opinions. There were people out there who told me, “You’re doing it wrong.” But I did not listen.
I am not sure what my catalyst was or if perhaps my change was automatically inspired by someone. I think that perhaps it would be best to say that somehow, out of nowhere, I saw myself and asked, “Is this really me?”
I know someone who was in mid-cigarette. He shook his head after exhaling the smoke. Then he tossed the butt down on the ground. He stomped the cigarette under his boot and then he exclaimed, “That’s it!” He took out his cigarette pack, crushed it in his fist and then tossed it in the nearby garbage can. He never smoked again.
I have met with people who went through the unthinkable cure to detox themselves from both substances and alcohol—and they wanted to die; they truly did, but with all of their symptoms, which could have been alleviated with the so-called “Hair of the dog,” no matter how terrible they felt—they avoided the cravings and found themselves clean.
I have seen people who resigned to the fact that there life would only go so far and yet, something happened. I don’t know what it was. Maybe a light went on. Maybe they saw a glimmer of possibility. Maybe there was a moment of awareness and rather than keep with the sad dreariness of common life, something clicked. Something triggered a new idea and led them towards a new reward system.
There is a lie that we tell ourselves. The lie is you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. This is absolutely untrue. There are new pathways of change. There are people of all ages making changes and new choices. People can learn at all ages. The ideas of change however are strange and sometimes uncomfortable and intimidating. By the way, this is why people fear change. This is why people stall or stay the same because first, there is a moment of acknowledgment. Secondly, there is a moment of awareness. Then there is a moment of understanding, which follows by a moment of action. This means work. This means accountability. And sometimes, this means we fall, we relapse, or we go back to old, default settings. I can say that I have witnessed people in this pattern who quit before they started because the anticipation of the work was worse than the actual work it takes to make changes.
I don’t know if my moment was so grand or so bright that I could point this out. I’m not sure if my ideas were so attractive to me that I decided to abandon my doubts. But I can say that at some point, my will and my intent to feel better was enough to outweigh my fears, doubts or my life which was in a state of discontent.
I had to learn. I had to act. I couldn’t sit back anymore. It was time to move.
Otherwise, I would have nothing left but more of the same.
And for me, that wasn’t enough.
So what did I do?
I stopped worrying about what works for other people. I stopped wondering about if I was doing things right or wrong and instead, I started doing things that worked for me. I kept my circle of influence small. My support team was familiar with my plans and most of all, I stopped listening to people who claimed to have “The best” doctors or “The best” diet plans or “The best” car guy.
If you ask me, there are a lot of “Bests” out there, which is fine.
This is great but to be honest, I just want to be the best me.
Most often, a decision like this has nothing to do with anybody else.