I am useless at any kind of synchronised activity. When I do an aerobics class, you can be sure that at some stage I will be going left, when everyone else is going right. Let's not even start the discussion about synchronised dancing. I have some kind of mental block, that transmits itself to my feet and 'boom' I'm out of sync! I remembered this today, because I recently came across a quote that made me go "hmmm". Pastor Joel Osteen said "you are not defined by your past, you are prepared by it"
When I left Nigeria, many moons ago, I did so, because I never felt like I properly belonged. It felt like I had to constantly change who I was, in order to fit in. Living in Nigeria was bad for my soul, so I got out of Dodge as quickly as I could. A funny thing has happened though. All the experiences I had, including the most painful ones have gone into making me the life coach I am today. I'm not who I am in spite of what happened, I am who I am because of what happened. Was it fun going through those experiences? No siree. Am I stronger as a result? Yes. Can I empathise with the women I work with? Absolutely. I have made some scarily bad decisions in my life, but I'm still standing and willing to extend a hand to any other woman who needs my help.
I'd also like to say that contrary to what we believe, the past has no power over us, except the power we give it. I can hear some of you saying "how can you say that? You don't know what I've been through". And you're right, I may not have been through, what you've been through. But what I do know is that a lot of us have given the past a power over us that it doesn't deserve. We give the past power over us, when we constantly rehearse it to ourselves and other people. Hands up all of you, who know someone who can tell you the story of how someone did them wrong, last month, last year or 10 years ago! We also give the past power, when we can't or won't forgive those who have hurt us. Most of us have it all wrong when we think about forgiveness. We think by forgiving someone, we are condoning their behaviour or letting them off the hook. No my friends, when we forgive, we are letting ourselves off the hook, we are setting ourselves free. When we don't forgive, it's like sending ourselves to prison. The wrongdoer is going on their own sweet way, while we're dealing with high blood pressure, depression and heart attacks. There's something very wrong with that picture I think. I don't know about you, but I'd certainly rather be free to get on with my life, success being the best kind of revenge.
Finally, I'd say, learn the lessons from the past and let them be a springboard for a brighter future. Do you remember the ads in the back of the newspapers for some exercise gizmo, that could turn a weakling into Charles Atlas? Said weakling kept getting sand kicked in his face at the beach, because he looked so weedy. So he goes off and gets this contraption, bulks up and no-one kicks sand in his face anymore! My point? He didn't just accept what had happened, he got up and did something about it. A lot of us are not living our best lives, because we are trapped in the past. We say things like "I failed before, so I'm sure I'll fail again" or "I'm not qualified to do this, because I've made such a mess of my own life". What I say, is that it's precisely because of your failings and imperfections that your successes are more credible. Would you rather take debt advice from a person, who's never overspent in their life or from someone who's crawled back from financial ruin- having learned some very hard lessons along the way and become much wiser? I know who I'd be more inclined to listen to!
So, back to me and my abysmal synchronised exercise skills. I'm pleased to say that I exercise and dance regularly- sometimes I get excited and do them both together. I've learned though that exercise classes are not for me and if trying to keep up with a routine is going to drive me crazy, then it's best to make them a solo pursuit. My takeaway this week is don't be defined by your past, instead let it prepare you, to start living your best life.
Until next time, go well.
born2bebeautiful is taking a well deserved break over the summer, so see you in August.