This Shit is Hard!

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My journey with fitness and self-care is a long one. It started almost as soon as I could walk. Because of this, I don’t have the typical “fitness transformation” story. I’ve always been athletic, but the stages of fitness and the mindset that accompanies them vary greatly throughout each time period in my life.  However, this past year has by far been my biggest challenge, and my highest weight.  ekkkkkkk

Usually, I enjoy living in my body.  I have always had the desire to be healthy, or healthier. I have always relied on my habit of fitness, due to the reality of my family genes, which is obesity and many other health issues which have always pushed me to be the best I could be health-wise.  I fell off the wagon as they say this past year.

Instead, of enjoying my body, I felt shame, sometimes embarrassment.  I have always carried around a body that was in shape, toned, and never afraid to expose my healthy side.  Like many, I do the research, learn different programs, have a great fitness tribe surrounding me, have my own fitness coaching business, and always do the best I can with meal planning.   

Life at times throws unexpected curveballs.  I allowed the curveball to completely knock me off my feet.  Instead of taking care of myself, I felt sorry for myself and put my energy into taking care of everyone around me.  I went through a situational depression and just the daily routine of waking up, going to work, getting my son to his hockey, and just trying to stay on top of my career exhausted me.   I was in a cloud and many things in my life were blurry.

Covid hit my house hard and for me, it lasted almost 11 months with long-haul Covid symptoms.

Death had hit my life with the loss of my Mom, who was my best friend, and recently my Dad and then our family dog. It is so hard to realize today, that both my parents are gone. The holidays were hard as for the first time in my life I was parentless. No matter what there is just an emptiness in my heart. Trust me, I have an amazing life, wonderful kids, and many friends that are family, but there is an emptiness I can’t explain.

During this time and feeling the shame about my body I learned so much.  My mindset knew what I needed to do.  My drive and desire were empty.

I have had to reset my growth mindset and stretch myself more than I ever had to in my life.  Our capacity for success is limited by who we believe ourselves to be, to the degree we allow.  I had to unlock my potential and change which is something that has not always been naturally within me.  I was having an identity gap with who I needed to become to reach my goals.  Our identity dictates our thoughts, behaviors, and actions that set us up for success or prime us for failure.

First, it is ok to take time off for yourself.    I personally needed to deal with a broken heart of so much loss in my life.  Then I worked out when I could after dealing with long-haul symptoms of Covid. I needed a reset in my life without the one person I talked to daily about everything.  I had to go through a year of the firsts, and then the second year, and now the third.    However, I am not sure getting through the firsts, the seconds or even the third makes it easier, but it does allow one to process and learn to find joy in events and memories.

I also learned that this shame, though experienced privately, is not an isolated event. Instead, it echoes a trend in our culture: women’s bodies are the subject of much speculation and subjugation, no matter the industry. Perhaps the issue simply arises in a more obvious way in the world of fitness, where bodies are so easily on display.  I got hooked on this trend as well and felt if I was not at a certain fitness level, I was gross.

This all hit me hard one day when I looked in the mirror and saw myself.  I was disgusted, sad, upset, and had a wave of shame hit me. For the first time ever, I truly hated my body.  I knew it was time to get my shit together and get myself back.

I call this my journey.  I started being routine again when I kicked off 645 in my fitness group. (A fitness program with Beachbody) I am doing portion control and completed 645. I then decided as a fitness coach, I needed a fitness coach as well. This at first hit me shared because I allowed myself to get in the mindset of, “I am a fitness coach, I motivate people and I help people”, but I had to be ok admitting that I needed some help myself. I needed a time out and I needed to work on ME. I am currently in a 3-month program with my fitness coach while running my programs. It has by far given me the most determination in a long time.

For the past 3 months, I have been routine and consistent again.  I am nowhere, where I want to be yet, but I am happy and I feel great.  I have learned in this process that this is my body, and today I am pushing it hard, feeding it well and I no longer look in the mirror and feel shame. 

It is about finding your tribe, those that will support your goals and accept you for where you are at.  Fitness has taught me life lessons on perseverance, setting goals, failing, achieving, mindset and so much more.   I run a motivational group that I absolutely love because it keeps me on track to know I am someone’s motivation that day.  However; it is ok to have that motivation for yourself.

Hit the link below and join my motivational fitness group.  We share ideas, workouts, recipes, and most importantly, friendships. I also have a fitness group starting where we will kick some butt with our workouts and revamp our nutrition to break some old habits. You can start at anytime. It all about you and your goals.

For a free 30-minute health assessment, email me at liveinconfidence@gmail.com and I will see if we fit and when we can get you started on your journey.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/movinginconfidence

{Becky Shaffer{  }Life Coach{  }Educator{  }Author}

liveinconfidence@gmail.com

Healing From the Inside, Out.

DFEE0CF7-255E-4027-8509-A59B64C730E5Part of the healing process is sharing with people who care. I have been so fortunate in my lifetime to meet some amazing people on my journey. It’s not selfish to work on you, it’s not selfish to talk about how you feel. It is selfish to not allow yourself to talk, share and heal.
Growing and healing beyond the emotional and physical scars of childhood or even adulthood can be a challenge for many, it can be one of the most vulnerable things you do. It is one of the hardest endeavors you will dive into. The emotions, memories and pain sometimes bring back some of the worst of memories and the feeling of shame which is fucking painful. Shame can lead us to feel as though our whole self is flawed, bad, or subject to exclusion, it motivates us to hide or to do something to save face. So it is no wonder that shame avoidance can lead to withdrawal or to addictions that attempt to mask its impact. Shame holds one back from healing.

If you were a victim of childhood abuse or neglect, you know about shame. You have likely been plagued by it all your life without identifying it as shame. You may feel shame because you blame yourself for the abuse itself (“My father wouldn’t have hit me if I had minded him”) or because you felt such humiliation at having been abused (“I feel like such a wimp for not defending myself”).Shame is contagious if you take on the lethal projections of shame from a partner–especially one who is abusive. In this same way, shame is especially difficult, if not toxic. I was in this type of relationship. I felt shame for every move I made. I didn’t text enough, I didn’t call enough, I was never enough. Yes, these are words that were said to me, but due to my deep rooted childhood abuse, I started to believe I was in the wrong ALL THE TIME. I allowed this verbal abuse into my life, because I believed it. It led to a very toxic relationship and it led me to behaviors I am forever not proud of. I reacted because I wasn’t healed inside. I reacted because the verbal cut downs were too much of an unhealed past that I didn’t realize I wasn’t healed from. I can say my partner wasn’t healed from her past either. Her words were of her upbringing and my reactions were of my upbringing. It ended in a very toxic relationship. It bought out much pain, and so much anger and sadness that I had no clue still lived inside of me. I had to face the demons of my past along with some unfinished healing. I became that “wounded child” with-in my adult self.

What is really fucking hard is knowing you are a professional adult, successful, helping many people daily, being a teacher, a life coach, the motivator, yet you are the one that fell down. That took me some time to digest. I have learned from this process. I am a leader, the motivator, but I am also a human who survived some shit. Without that shit, I wouldn’t have become a teacher, a life/fitness coach and I wouldn’t be sitting her vulnerable writing parts of my story to help you! I feel thankful for my past. I feel thankful that my gut was stronger than my mind at times. I feel thankful that for some reason I had a “I can do better than this” push with-in me. You have that push too. Sometimes it is just buried deep, but trust me, it is there.

Recognizing you are not healed and what you are in is toxic, is so important. Sometimes hitting rock bottom, as I call it “the deep black hole” is what it takes.

I AM A SURVIVOR.

It took me years to be able to say that. I felt if I used the word “survivor” then I had to fully admit I wasn’t fully healed and worst of all for me, I had to admit that I was a victim.   Each stage of my life has lead to a different kind of healing. IT is okay to heal in stages. There is no quick fix to years of abuse, no matter the type of abuse. There is no time limit, no set amount of counseling or life coaching. The time is with-in you, and you only. It’s your journey, your process and how you can grow with-in yourself with your experiences. How can you turn your shit into a positive?

I AM A SURVIVOR!

Those are not words I use lightly.

During my healing journey, I wrote a letter to my child self from my adult self of today. I will warn you, it is pretty damn deep of emotions, and it took me 2 months to write. I couldn’t understand the assignment I was given to write to my child self….but once I started to write I couldn’t stop. It was amazing. The weight that fell off of me when I signed my name was unbelievable.

My journey has been long. It will forever be a journey, but forever a journey in the right direction. Healing, understanding and knowing I will never fall into a deep black hole again is a feeling of accomplishment.   My journey has taught me much! Understanding triggers and walking away from toxic things has been a lesson. I feel empowered.

EMPOWERMENT is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights. Empowerment feels like, FREEDOM and INSPIRATION to me.

The number of people that suffer in silence, continues to grow. Healing from trauma may be uncomfortable and painstaking at times; no one said it was easy. But once you embark on your healing journey, you’ll realize how exciting and rewarding it can be to reconnect with the beautiful intricacies that make you, you.

KNOW THAT YOU ARE MEANT TO SURVIVE THROUGH YOUR TRAUMA AS WELL.

Becky Shaffer/ Author/ Educator /Life Coach-Adult/Adolescent/ Fitness Coach

What is Love?

“Love is not what you say, it is what you do”

The question of “What is love?”, has recently been a question circling around in my head. We have all most likely experienced the lose of a loved one and many of us have dated, been married, had a heart break, and even divorced, or hell maybe even all of the above.

Love is one of the most profound emotions we experience as humans. It’s bigger than us, we do not have the control over the how, when and where love starts to express itself and we can find ourselves loving people we don’t like at all. Love does not come with conditions, stipulations, agendas, or codes. We can choose to surrender to love or not, but in the end, love strikes like lightning: unpredictable and irrefutable.

Since love is inherently free, we spend nights tossing and turning in an attempt to understand what it is, and how to know if we have it. How do you define something so uncontrollable and versatile?

That’s the tricky thing about love, we can feel it in a variety of different states–when we’re happy, sad, angry, confused or excited–and our attitudes about love can range from affectionate love, to infatuation and pleasure. We even use love as an action, as a force to keep our relationships with partners, or friends and family, together.

As a daughter and Mom I have learned what unconditional love is. I love my children no matter their mistakes, successes or at times treatment towards me. I was shown this unconditional love from my own mom. There are no stipulations and no matter a mistake, a bad day, an argument, you know as a mom/parent or as a child your mom is still going to love you. Sadly for some, they don’t feel this unconditional love.

I still to this day watch my children sleep. The warm, fuzzy feelings I get in my heart is a love only felt when I stand at the doorway staring at them innocently sleeping. It is one of my favorite things to do. I hold these memories deep inside my heart. Sometimes this is the only time they are innocent in this world today.

So in my crazy thoughts beyond being a mom and a daughter, why is it so hard for many to find a partner that can love unconditionally. There seems to be this word of red flags, or if a mistake is made a step is taken backwards, there is little room for forgiveness or growth as people are all human and not one person is perfect. There is always room for the fun, the love and memories, but when something goes wrong, it is very easy for many to feel the grass is greener on the other side.

Love cannot be turned on as a reward. It cannot be turned off as a punishment. Only something else pretending to be love can be used as a lure, as a hook, for bait and switch, imitated, insinuated, but the real deal can never be delivered if it doesn’t spring freely from the heart.

I have loved and I have felt love. I have also questioned loved, and I have also had my heart broken and sadly I have broken hearts. I have had questionable love and I am pretty sure I have had those afraid to love in my life. I am not talking all dating relationships, this all falls under friendships and family as well.

“Am I Loved?” Vs. “Do I Love?”

The two scenarios that usually cause us to contemplate “What is love?” give meaning to the question. Either we wonder, “Am I loved?” or we ask, “Do I love?”

It is easier to first address the “What is love?” question in terms of the love we feel coming toward us. If we understand how to recognize when we are being loved, we can also learn to recognize our love for another. It is also important to feel this love by action as words are not always followed by action.

When we are loved, we tend to feel it intuitively in our guts. But how does it work? Is there an extrasensory perception in the heart that is able to read the feelings in another person’s heart?

In fact, it’s really not that ethereal or supernatural. On the contrary, it’s pretty practical and down-to-earth. Our hearts take cues from our senses. Everything we see, hear, taste, touch or smell teaches us about our universe. Take a second and think about that. It is pretty deep. We don’t need to contemplate or ask questions. Our sensory organs report to our brains, and our brains interpret the data and send the report to our hearts. So, if we see a loving smile, hear loving words, or feel a loving touch, the brain processes this information and concludes, “Hey, we are being loved right now!”

In short, when we are loved, there is tangible proof. It’s not an abstract thought or feeling, it’s concrete and evidenced. This means, when you are treated with love, your heart feels that love.

Love is an Action

Now we can address the second part of the “What is love” quandary—how to know if we love someone else? The answer is straightforward. When we behave lovingly towards someone, it means we love that person. Again, Action, not always words.

When we ask a question like “What is love?” we assume that we’re trying to define an abstract concept similar to “What is freedom?” or “What is good fortune?” But truthfully, love is not a concept. It’s an action.

To ask, “What is love?” is like asking, “What is running?” or “What is swimming?” If you’ve ever seen someone run or swim, you know exactly what running and swimming entail.

Feelings can be deceptive. Sometimes, what we perceive as love may in fact be another emotion. But actions cannot be mistaken. So, rather than ask, “What is love?” we must ask, “Do I perform acts of love for my beloved?” and “Does my beloved perform acts of love for me?” Am I apart of them and their family and are they apart of mine? It is blending together and making/building memories together.

Becky Shaffer/Life Coach/Educator/Author

Overcoming Regrets

Life was not built on a manual, but on experience and with that experience we build our own personal manual. This is how I have always viewed my life. My manual is forever being edited.

Even with this manual and learning experiences, many of us live in regret. Let me break it down: Shit happens. You react, you make a choice, you take an action. Then time passes. And you think about what happened. You analyze it, obsess over it and talk at nauseam about it with your friends. You continue to gather more information and knowledge. Then you take all this awareness and information that you have now, and beat yourself up because you did not know it then. It is totally unfair and unreasonable to take what you know now and use it to beat yourself up for what you didn’t know then. Trust me, I have run this cycle. I hate it, but it is how we learn.

I have lived in regret, but I have learned to appreciate my experiences as they can only lead me to a better version of me, which I always strive for. I have learned to look at regret in two ways: Productive regret in which one learns to change their behavior for the future and unproductive regret, where one completely blames themselves, which can create chronic stress which leads to a very unhealthy you. We have all replayed scenarios over and over in our heads, thinking of all the things we could have done or said. We allow ourselves to get trapped in a shoulda/coulda/woulda perspective, and it’s a miserable place to be, isn’t it?

I lived the Unproductive regret for too long. I felt deflated, hopeless and frankly like I wasn’t worth more than I had allowed in my life at the time. I lived daily wishing I made a different decision, wishing I would have thought things through and wanted nothing more than to change the current situation I was in. I beat myself up over trying to figure out why, trying to understand instead of spending time healing and moving forward and viewing this as a life lesson which would only build me to be productive.

Frankly, at times I am just fucking tired. My entire childhood consisted of me trying to numb myself, trying to not feel my dads abuse, and no matter how much I didn’t understand what was happening to me, I had to be in survival mode every single day. I can’t say none of this has NOT been carried to adulthood as this was all I knew. However, I have always tried to be aware of my emotions, healthy or not healthy, and I will certainly do anything to learn and heal.

I can’t change my past, but I can always change how this affects my today and my future moving forward. I am not the only person that lives with regretful decisions, but I know I am one that will work my ass off to not repeat or relive them. I will also not live being in a numb state any longer. I have worked too hard and life is too short to not live for enjoyment, memories and yes, love.

I am at the age where most become more adept at letting go of regrets. We may not have as much opportunity to undo the past — return to school for a degree, say, or undo a marriage or even understand why the hell it happened— but life experience has wised me up. The bottom line is, I have learned to accept things I can’t change and to move forward with lessons from those moments. I am worth so much more than I ever allowed myself to have. Experiences should have no regrets. Experiences allows us to add to that life manual so we are our best self moving forward.

I will never be mistake free, as no human is, but I can control how I allow someone to talk to me, treat me and I can control who I allow in my life. I am so worthy with an open heart, but I am so much stronger and smarter with each passing day.

Today, I move forward! There is NO LOOKING back, and I will not allow anyone to take me backwards ever again!

Never live in regret, just live with the experience and allow yourself to embrace and learn.

Becky Shaffer-Life Coach-Educator-Author

liveinconfidence@gmail.com

A New Normal, For Now.

BeingThankful“Life is chaotic right now.” ” I’m frustrated,”“It’s just not how I thought this last quarter of the 2019-2020 school year would go with my students.”  “It also is not how I thought my sons senior year would end.”  No prom, all spring sports seasons were cancelled and graduation will be virtual, something new for all of us.  However, as a teacher and a mom, I have to keep that positive mindset and just say, “here we go”, this is new and we are definitely living history.  My heart also breaks with those that have lost loved ones during this Pandemic.  I would say we are all grieving in our own way.  Many have not seen their families in months, and daily we do worry who will catch this virus next.  “Our new Norm?”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, these are my primary thoughts as I continually ask the question, “Are you doing OK?” or, I’m sorry, and I know it’s not fair. I feel like I should be doing something. Along those lines, perhaps I should also be asking a second question: “What do you think you’ll learn from this?” This is where the teacher comes out in me.  This fitness side of me asks, “What are you doing to take care of yourself?”

I’ve realized that my job as a teacher has little to do with teaching content, and a great deal more to do with facilitating opportunities for my students and my own kid’s growth. Because let’s be honest, most of the content—definitions, theories, models—can easily be retrieved in a whopping five seconds with a targeted Google search.

My thoughts and heart go to my students and all of those in the class of 2020.  For many, this will be the ONLY graduation they will every experience.  As for my 8th-grade students,  I have watched them grow, mature and I have watched forever friendships connect in a deep understanding of each other.  I have watched teachers put in tireless hours to make sure our students are ok.  I know because I am one of them.

My heart hurts to not hug my students good-bye on the last day of school.  You see my students will move on to high school next year.  I hope some of these lessons from room 7 follow my students and I hope those of you reading this can apply much of this to you as well.

Don’t be afraid to fail. I don’t mean your classes. I mean in life.  Take risks and try new things. Don’t be scared to try out for a sport you love, a club that excites you or even the school play.  You will build amazing friendships with those that surround you and support your interests.  Don’t be afraid to try new things.  Train for a run, go cycling, pick up a new hobby.

Ask questions. Question your friends if they are heading in the “wrong direction” in life; in fact, you might even question if you should stay friends with them. Every stage in life is a time for a change.  You will outgrow some of your friendships and build new amazing friendships with those you thought you would never be friends with.  Think outside the box.  Do not allow yourself to get stuck.   I have learned that people come and go at certain times of your life.  This isn’t a bad thing, but if you are growing and they are not, this could be toxic.  Ask yourself questions such as, “Is this what I want?”, “what is best for me”, “how do I live my most healthy life”?

Get to know your teachers. Yes, we actually like when students share their private lives with us. Most of us also like to share our lives with you. It is those people who come in to talk with me because they want to, not because they have to, whom I will stay close to. It is great to have that connection with our students.  We were your age once as well.  I know hard to believe.  We also love to come to your events.  It is great watching our students do their thing.  It is also great to help our students when facing hard times.  We are more than a teacher.  Parents, get to know the teachers instead of posting shit on social media.  They/We are human too.  We are all in this together.  AND we have kids as well.  We get it, most of the time.

Specifically for my students: Trust yourself. Trust your instincts.  You are all a great group of people. I trusted you to not steal things out of my room. I trusted you in my classroom with my purse sitting right there. my cell phone out in the open, all my supplies… I trusted you to walk around the school, as long as I knew where you were. I did all of this because my instincts told me that you are a great group of people. Yes, we had some rough patches along the way, but in the end, I trusted that you would make the correct decisions in the long run. And when you didn’t, I trusted you learned a lesson.

bloom-1600x1600Believe. This has been my theme for anyone connected in my life.     Believe you matter … all of you learned that even a 13- or 14-year-old can make a difference in the world.  Our High school kids are making a difference and we are all living this history together.  A little act of kindness can make someone’s day.  Personally, I believe that all kids can make a difference in the world—someone just has to guide them on how to start.  As an adult, I will always believe in those around me.  We all have good built within us.  Believe in YOU and believe in our younger generations to learn for our example.

So, to my students and all those graduating,  it is time. Time to let you go. Time to let you fly. Time to share you with the world.  You will all fly on your new journey, don’t let me down.  As much as many teachers and parents would like to have you return and redo this year,  we all know you must move on. As I always say to my students, “Once my kid, always my kid.” Know that I am always here for you.  To my parents.  Thank you for the teamwork and know I am always here for you as well.  To all parents out there.  WE DID IT!  

This has made our world come to a ‘slam on your breaks stop.’  This has made us appreciate time at home, binge-watching Netflix, cleaning out closets, garages and actually spending time with our families.  But it also occurs to me that this is when the world needs our eyes and ears and minds. This has never happened before here (at least not since 1918). Together we have to help make sense of this and recover afterwards.

Keep records of the e-mails and texts you’re getting, the thoughts you’re having, the way your hearts and minds are reacting to this strange new way of living? It’s all-important. Fifty years from now, people will be learning this in history class.  

Everyday things are changing and we are learning.   “We are in this together”

I have to pinch myself and remind myself that we are living our first pandemic.  I have to remind myself that patience will get us through this safely and put trust into our leaders, not the morons that are on the streets bashing our leaders.

I feel thankful that I can live through this as a mom and as a teacher.  I am thankful for the lessons that we are learning each and every day.  It has brought out ugly in people, but it has brought out love, communities helping each other, our own appreciation for our family and friends and most of all, it has SLOWED us all down to truly look at life.

Embrace this part of history and write your own story, take your own pictures and record this moment in time.  Show respect, own it, and be kind!

cropped-2320af572a6fc67ff5ae58874c4466d3.jpgBecky Shaffer/     Life Coach/     Author/     Educator

liveinconfidence@gmail.com

This Shit Is Hard!

workoutwpMy journey with fitness is a long one. It started almost as soon as I could walk. Because of this, I don’t have the typical “fitness transformation” story. I’ve always been athletic, but the stages of fitness and the mindset that accompanies them varies greatly throughout each time period in my life.  However, this past year has by far been my biggest challenge, and my highest weight.  ekkkkkkk

Usually, I enjoy living in my body.  I have always had the desire to be healthy, or healthier. I have always relied on my habit of fitness, and the reality of my family genes, which is obesity and many other health issues which have always pushed me to be the best I could be health wise.  I fell off the wagon as they say this past year.

Instead, of enjoying my body, I felt shame, sometimes embarrassment.  I have always carried around a body that was in shape, toned and never afraid to expose my healthy side.  Like many, I do the research, learn different programs, have a great fitness tribe surrounding me and always do the best I can with meal planning.  I felt great.  

Life at times throws unexpected curveballs.  I allowed the curveball to completely knock me off my feet.  Instead of taking care of myself, I felt sorry for myself and put my energy into taking care of everyone around me.  I went through a situational depression and just the daily routine of waking up, going to work and taking care of my kids exhausted me.   I was in a cloud and many things in my life were blurry.

Death had hit my life with the loss of my Mom, who was my best friend.  I was also in a toxic relationship, so my energy was to keep my nose above the water so I wouldn’t drown.  During this time and feeling the shame about my body I learned so much.  My mindset knew what I needed to do.  My drive and desire was on empty.

I had to reset my growthh mindset and stretch myself more than I ever had to in my life.  Our capacity for success is limited by who we believe ourselves to be, to the degree we allow.  I had to unlock my potential and change to be able to unlock this potential that has always been naturally within me.  I was having an idenity gap with who I needed to become to reach my goals.  Our identity dictates our thoughts, behaviours and actions that sets us up for success or primes us for failure.

I learned that our capacity for success is limited by who we believe ourselves to be.

First, it is ok to take time off for yourself.    I personally needed to deal with a broken heart of losing my mom.  I needed a reset in my life without the one person I talked to daily about everything.  I had to go through a year of the firsts, which just surpassed.    However, I am not sure getting through the firsts makes it easier, but it does allow one to process and learn to find joy in events and memories.

I also learned that this shame, though experienced privately, is not an isolated event. Instead, it echoes a trend in our culture: women’s bodies are the subject of much speculation and subjugation, no matter the industry. Perhaps the issue simply arises in a more obvious way in the world of fitness, where bodies are so easily on display.  I got hooked in this trend as well and felt if I was not at a certain fitness level, I was gross.

This all hit me hard one day when I looked in the mirror and saw myself.  I was disgusted, sad, upset, had a wave of shame hit  and  for the first time ever, truly hated my body.  I knew it was time to get my shit together and get myself back.

I call this my journey.  I started being routine again after the 1st of the year. (2020) Then I got sick.  I mean really sick for 10 weeks.  I was so depressed because I was so determined and I was hit with a setback.  Instead of allowing myself to get down, I worked on getting my old eating habits back on track as well as my mental health.

For the past 3 months, I have been routine and consistent again.  I am nowhere, where I want to be yet, but I am happy and I feel great.  I have learned in this process that this is my body, and today I am pushing it hard, feeding it well and I no longer look in the mirror and feel shame.  I know I am working hard.  If someone looks at me and thinks differently, fuck them.  They are not worthy of making me feel negative.

It is about finding your tribe, those that will support your goals and accept you for where you are at.  Fitness has been a huge focus in my life.  It has taught me life lessons on persererance, setting goals, failing, achieving, mindset and so much more.   I run a motivational group that I absolutely love because it keeps me on track to know I am someone’s motivation that day.  My goal this year is to get 2,020 miles in 2020.  I am almost at 560/2020 as I write this today.  This is my journey as your journey is yours.

Hit the link below and join my motivational fitness group.  We share ideas, workouts, recipes and most importantly, friendships.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/385477238891193/?ref=share

{Becky Shaffer{  }Life Coach{  }Educator{  }Author}

Bashaffer14@gmail.com

Healing from the Inside Out

E19DBFE7-C50F-4C7C-B5DC-FAE1D70D4A61Part of the healing process is sharing with people who care. I have been so fortunate in these last few years to meet some amazing people on my journey. It’s not selfish to work on you and it’s not selfish to talk about how you feel. It is selfish to not allow yourself to talk, share and heal.  I have learned this along the way.
Growing and healing beyond the emotional and physical scars of childhood or even adulthood can be a challenge for many. It is one of the hardest endeavours you will dive into. The emotions, memories and pain sometimes bring back some of the worst of memories and the feeling of shame which is fucking painful.

Shame can lead us to feel as though our whole self is flawed, bad, or subject to exclusion. It motivates us to hide or to do something to save face. So it is no wonder that shame avoidance can lead to withdrawal or to addictions that attempt to mask its impact. Shame holds one back from healing.  It also allows for unhealthy relationships to enter your life.

If you were a victim of childhood abuse or neglect, you know about shame. You have likely been plagued by it all your life without identifying it as shame. You may feel shame because you blame yourself for the abuse itself (“My father wouldn’t have hit me if I had minded him”) or because you felt such humiliation at having been abused (“I feel like such a wimp for not defending myself”).

Shame is contagious and many of us take on the lethal projections of shame from a partner–especially one who is abusive. We got used to this treatment, therefore we have allowed it to continue.  In this same way, shame is especially difficult, if not toxic. I was in this type of relationship. I felt shame for every move I made. I didn’t text enough, I didn’t call enough, I wasn’t “normal” and I was never enough. Yes, these are words that were said to me, but due to my deep-rooted childhood abuse, I started to believe I was in the wrong ALL THE TIME. I allowed this verbal abuse into my life because I believed it.

It led to a very toxic relationship and it led me to behaviours I am forever not proud of. I reacted because I wasn’t healed inside. I reacted because the verbal cut downs were too much of an unhealed past that I didn’t realize I wasn’t healed from.  I didn’t stand up for myself.

I can say my partner wasn’t healed from her past either. Her words were of her upbringing and my reactions were of my upbringing. It ended in a very toxic relationship. It bought out much pain, and so much anger and sadness that I had no clue still lived inside of me. I had to face the demons of my past along with some unfinished healing. I became that “wounded child” with-in my adult self. I owned that I needed to take some steps in my life to get healthy again.

What is really fucking hard is knowing you are a professional adult, successful, helping many people daily, being a teacher, a life coach, the motivator, yet you are the one that fell down. It took time to digest those feelings.

I have learned from this process. I am a leader, the motivator, but I am also a human who survived some shit. Without that shit, I wouldn’t have become a teacher, a life/fitness coach and I wouldn’t be sitting here vulnerable writing parts of my story to help you! I feel thankful for my past. I feel thankful that my gut was stronger than my mind at times. I feel thankful that for some reason I had a “I can do better than this” push with-in me. You have that push too. Sometimes it is just buried deep, but trust me, it is there.

Recognizing you are not healed and what you are in is toxic, is so important. Sometimes hitting rock bottom, as I call it “the deep black hole” is what it takes.

“I AM A SURVIVOR.”

It took me years to be able to say that. I felt if I used the word “survivor” then I had to fully admit I wasn’t fully healed. Each stage of my life has lead to a different kind of healing. IT is okay to heal in stages. There is no quick fix to years of abuse, no matter the type of abuse. There is no time limit, no set amount of counseling or life coaching. The time is with-in you, and you only. It’s your journey, your process and how you can grow with-in yourself with your experiences. How can you turn your shit into a positive?

“I AM A SURVIVOR!”

Those are not words I use lightly.

During my healing journey, I wrote a letter to my child self from my adult self of today.  It is pretty damn deep of emotions, and it took me 2 months to write. I couldn’t understand the assignment I was given to write to my child self….but once I started to write I couldn’t stop. It was amazing. The weight that fell off of me when I signed my name was unbelievable.  It was such a healing process for me and allowed me to forgive my abuser. Something I never felt was possible.

My journey has been LONG.  It will forever be a journey, but forever a journey in the right direction. Healing, understanding and knowing I will never fall into a deep black hole again is empowering. My journey has taught me to understand triggers and walking away from toxic situations. I feel empowered.

freedomEMPOWERMENT is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights. Empowerment feels like, FREEDOM and INSPIRATION to me.

If you have experienced a traumatic event or a difficult childhood it may help to:

  • Think about the personal strength that you showed to survive these events. Even if you made some mistakes or did some things you regret, you did what you had to do to survive and that is something to be proud of.
  • Think about the things that you have put in your life currently that make it meaningful, be it relationships, your work, your faith, or taking care of your family. Try to find everyday positives in the life you have now.
  • Think about what you have learned from going through these difficulties, and about how you might use this knowledge to help yourself and other people.
  • Know that growth and hope can coexist with grief and that there will be ups and downs. Learn to anticipate and manage these. Be gentle with yourself on days when it is just too difficult to see the positive.

As a trauma survivor, I’ve done everything possible to push aside my most painful memories. While I’ve always considered myself a no-nonsense, “face the truth” type of person, it took me, literally, decades to realize that I was living in denial about what happened to me so many years ago. I also allowed those experiences to connect me with people that frankly were not good enough/healthy for me.

The number of people that suffer in silence, continues to grow. Healing from trauma may be uncomfortable and painstaking at times; no one said it was easy. But once you embark on your healing journey, you’ll realize how exciting and rewarding it can be to reconnect with the beautiful intricacies that make you, you.

KNOW THAT YOU ARE MEANT TO SURVIVE THROUGH YOUR TRAUMA AS WELL. We can set up a FREE phone conference to discuss the healing journey you are ready to embark on.  Send me an email and lets schedule a time.  I look forward to helping you find peace with-in yourself and growing to be your best.

Becky Shaffer/ Author/ Educator /Life Coach-Adult/Adolescent/ Fitness Coach/  Bashaffer14@gmail.com

 

Parenting of a Kid with Depression.

dptBeing a mother is a gift that is unimaginable to any woman who does not have a child in their life. It’s a connection that is unmatched and insurmountable in any form or other relationship. It’s a love that grows continually, a love that always wants more and better. It’s being terrified that you can’t prevent pain, injustice, heartbreak and at times even death. It’s laughing at jokes that aren’t even funny, but the way they say it makes it’s hilarious. It’s listening to stories that go on and on without a point. It’s always being available for the “Mommy watch me!” yells and “Mommy I need you” pleas. It’s drowning out the word MOM repeated over and over in attempts to get your attention. Its songs sang out of tune and settling squabbles with siblings. It’s being mean, and teaching hard lessons, that hurt you inside so deep you want to cry, but you must stand strong with resolve. It’s being strong for them when you are weak. It’s smiling when you want to cry, and crying when you’re smiling with pride.

The day our kids come into this world, we see this perfect baby boy or girl.  We are overjoyed and see so much going forward.  We have our expectations, and ideas all formed in our head for this perfect childhood and motherhood.  We start to dream of our family vacations, of our kids future and so much more.

It’s difficult enough to know that your child is seriously suffering, but with mental illness, a parent has to deal with much more than the illness itself. There can be personal shame about having a family that is not “normal.” There is the wish to react in the “right way,” without having the vaguest idea what that “right way” is.

I don’t know the answers, but I am willing to reach out so that other parents know that they are not alone.

My son has had ADHD since he was born.  We started medication when he was just 7 years old.  He has a great sense of humor, a huge loving heart, so much empathy towards others and wears his feelings on his sleeve.  He will also say and do the stupidest shit that will get him consequences.  These consequences are what will often throw him into his black hole as I call it.  It is hard as a parent because I have to teach that there are consequences yet walk on a fine line with emotions that I don’t always understand of my son.

We had a bout with lying, stealing, trying to cover up his lies with lies.  It was bad.  We had a bout with him trying anything, as he is impulsive.  This I have to say is my worst nightmare.  Will he try drugs?   Will he jump off the cliff when others dear him? Will he drag race? Will he do stupid things when he gets his license? and so much more just goes through my head.

I have searched for the right doctor, the right diagnosis, the right treatment, the best everything. Often, I feel my search had no guideposts in this new, unfamiliar world.  The mental health world is pretty far and few between when trying to get help.

Putting my son on depression meds scared the shit out of me.  I did the research, I am in education so I have seen what these meds do to kids first hand.  Some I saw positive results and sadly in my teaching career I have lost many students to suicide.  It literally scared every once of me.

Accept your child’s diagnosis.

For many parents, accepting that your child has a mental illness is hard. There is a great wish to avoid and deny. On the good days, it is easy to believe your child has overcome the challenges and is okay.  For a few months, my son seemed ok.  Then one day it hit like a ton of bricks.  He didn’t know why, he couldn’t explain it, it just happened.  He was the saddest kid, yet so successful in his sports.  His grades dropped, he broke up with his girlfriend and he couldn’t get out of bed.  He wanted to hurt himself and was just awful to be around.  It was hurtful.

The problem is that shame, guilt and fear can get in the way of getting the right help. Unless acknowledged, these personal feelings can limit your ability to reach out and maximize the help you can get for your child and for yourself.

I finally gave in and knew that my son needed more than I could give and more than the therapist could give him.  He has started medication.  I can’t say I am ok, but I am watching him closely along with his teachers, coaches and friends.

 Weeks Later

We are not far in, but we are in the successful lane.  The other day, my son looked at me and said “I didn’t realize this was how good happiness felt”, it broke my heart to hear him say these words.  He is 15, and in my eyes, kids should just be happy souls.  I understand first hand that it is impossible to always be happy, but this made me truly realize that I had made the right decision.  We have and will have many bumps in the road along the way.

Grades are up, he is no longer in bed all night after school, he is more active in the house with chores, helps me with dinner, eats dinner at the table and overall has found his humor again.  I don’t know how long he will need meds or if this is temporary or forever, but today I have a happy kid. ( Most Days)

Being a parent is hard!  Having those around you at times judging you or telling you how to parent a kid like this is even harder at times. Follow your parent gut and just know at the end of the day, you are doing the best you know how to do.

Becky Shaffer|     Life Coach|     Educator|     Author|     Speaker|    liveincofidence@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

A Moms Love

ABD704D6-46DA-4184-85C7-CC287FDAE5F8Being a mom means more than having given birth to a child. It’s loving and knowing a soul before you even see it. It’s carrying and caring for a life completely dependent on you for survival.  I have had this privilege for 18 years being a mom myself, but prior to this, I had a mom like this for 45 years.

Our life was not peaches and roses, but with unconditional love and a mom who gave her all to better herself for the 4 of us, has taught me lessons that I still cherish and realize today.  We went through hell.  Abusive father, at times no food, no electric, washed our clothes in the bath tub and set them out to dry so we could re-wear the same outfit the next day.  At one point, we had to go live in the Children’s home and for a few years, I lived with a family off and on.  Yet, my mom busted her ass to get us all back home and in time she did.  Her unconditional love and determination to better herself so it could better our life taught me lessons that I had no clue I was learning as a child.  But as an adult and as a mom, I can now see all she did, was for us.

My mom died a year ago this month.  Somehow on January 28th, I will have made it 365 days without hearing her voice, (besides the voice mails I have on my phone)  or seeing her smiling face.  Grief can be an endless black hole.  At times I felt like I was being sucked dry of any emotional reserve I think I may have had.  This past year I have felt trapped alone, and helpless more times than I ever thought I would in my entire lifetime.  I was drowning in grief, unable to see a light.  I faked it, I plastered a smile on my face and I mentioned her in several memories.  At first, my mom was my daily waking thought.  But as time moves on she is maybe my third or fourth thought of the day.

Last winter into the Spring was a crazy time of transition for me. I found that I had lost all courage, conviction, and confidence. I was unsure about everything, unable to make any decision of importance. I didn’t know what to do in the next chapter of my life.   How do I make huge decisions about my life without hearing her advice and opinions first? How would I ever be sure that she is proud of me, that she approves of my decisions?  Yes, this all went through my head.  My heart hurt and I had no idea how to deal with it.  Well, as they say, therapy is a great source.  I had to reach out and talk to someone.  It took me months to grieve and it was a very lonely road, yet a road that built my soul to where I am today.

As months have moved on, the 28th is still the day of my moms’ death.  When my kids are doing their firsts or their things of excitement, I do think of my mom first thing.  I was fortunate enough to have a best friend in my mom.  She was the person I turned to for advice, talked to every morning on my way to work, and the one I could cry on no matter my age.  She was part of my soul and a huge part of my life.

As January 28th approaches, I can only think this anniversary means I have to leave my mom permanently behind.  I will never leave the memories or the lessons behind as those are forever embedded in me. 3B4976CC-81FD-4899-B837-3AB4A0736A9B

I don’t look at my mom’s passing as bad anymore because it’s what freed her from a life of pain and misery. I miss her, but I don’t wish she was still here for my own selfishness. I look at the last years of my mom’s life and think about all the tests and surgeries and fear she encountered on a daily basis. I think about her losing the ability to see, to drive, to walk. I think about her losing her independence – a very trait my mom couldn’t live without. I think about the sadness she felt inside her heart when she realized she couldn’t live life the way she wanted to anymore. She’ll still parent me and guide me because her words, her teachings live on through me. And those same words and lessons will live on through my children and so on and so on.  The memories we built will carry me on.  The memories of Notre Dame Football Games, our yearly vacations, the relationship she had with my boys are such blessings that today I can smile and say “I was lucky to have that.”

Happy Anniversary Mom.  I am so happy you are pain-free and with David (my brother) and Grandma and Grandpa.  I  can never in my life thank you enough for all you taught me, the unconditional love you taught me and showed me and the determination to always better myself.

Becky Shaffer

 

Searching for Meaning

What Gives You Meaning ConceptAs I have gotten older, I find that I look for the meaning in life experiences.  I don’t always know what this means, but I find it in my human nature to invest in things that have meaning and then to understand the meaning of the investment.  These thoughts can drive me absolutely crazy some days.

For example…We meet people.  Why?  Well, we are human, and humans connect, but I then question myself, does that person bring meaning to my life.  Do I bring meaning to their life.  What do I mean to them.  What is our purpose.  I just go on and on… I guess living through the death of a parent, truly opened my eyes up to what I meant to people.  I had great friends, a great social life and then my mom got sick….then she died.  Where did those people go that I meant so much to?  Well, it’s been a year, and I still to this day haven’t seen them nor been invited to social events.  So, in the reality of it all, when I was good, not depressed and wasn’t going though a really shitty time in my life, I meant something.  When I hit a depression and was in a black hole and I meant nothing.  This truly opened my life to so much more than I anticipated.

As I apply the concept to find an answer to the big existential question, “what is the meaning of life”; rather, it is the search for meaning in your own life that is most important. Meaning comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it looms big in our life; sometimes it slips and is almost unobserved. In short, meaning is different for everyone—there is no one right answer—there is only the answer that is right for you.

We all came into this world pretty damn clueless.  As children we expected life to be  sunny, people are nice to each other and we learned pretty quickly that life is a lot different.  We become accustomed to the stress, hurt, worry, things being hard at times and we rarely find the time to sit down and evaluate why we are where we are.  We forget to search for the meaning.  Meaning always exists and therefore can be found in the everyday moments of our lives, so there doesn’t have to be just one answer to the question on how to find it.  However, it’s up to us to detect the meaning of the experiences we have each day.  Meaning, in other words, can be found even in situations that do not bring us happiness or power.

It is important to define the concept of meaning. Some people define meaning in terms of feeling that your life matters, while others define meaning in terms of extending beyond yourself to serve something bigger than yourself.  A higher power.

Meaning comes with being “who” we are in this world. When you believe something is meaningful, it is because it resonates with your true nature or core essence. When you believe something lacks meaning or is meaningless, it is because it does not resonate with your true nature or core essence.

It is important to understand how meaning can infiltrate and therefore affect many parts of our lives on a daily basis. Fundamentally, we believe that meaning should be at the core of all that we do daily. In order to live a complete life, we must understand what brings us meaning to our lives and what drains meaning from our lives.  This helps drive our purpose.

When we know this, all things become clearer. We come to know and feel more confident in our decisions and direction, and we also notice more energy flowing to and through us to others. In other words, we are no longer working against the flow of who we really are.  I may not understand or know the meaning of a few things in my life today, but until they bring me no positive energy, I am willing to wait and find out.

It is an ongoing process to find meaning and it is a non-stop process as each day brings new experiences.  For me, to find meaning gives me purpose.  I workout, so my purpose was to motivate others.  I found meaning in helping others with a passion I held so closely.  My passion and meaning steamed from watching my mom live an unhealthy life that lead to her death.  It was an awful experience, but that awful gave me purpose and meaning not only for myself, but to help others.  I was fortunate that even though my mom was sick, she found meaning to live.  Her life was full of unconditional love, watching her own kids and her grand-kids live life, which all gave her meaning and the purpose to fight pretty damn hard.

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The greatest challenge we face in life is to discover and embrace the process in which gives us meaning.  We look away when it hurts and things are not the way we expected them to be.  We tend to look at what we expected versus the true meaning of what happened.

Know that each day has a meaning and each day you mean something to someone.  Being a teacher, I know my meaning.  Being a Mom, I know my meaning.  Being a fitness coach, I know I have meaning to many I am their motivator.  All of this gives me drive and purpose.  Find your drive and purpose and you will know your meaning behind those core values.

Becky Shaffer—liveinconfidence@gmail.com—Life Coach—Educator

 

 

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