(Originally updated from a post created by me when I was coaching in 2015) **I’ve added my current revisions to include therapist me**
As I’ve been delving head first into Brene Brown literature as I prep a curriculum I’m creating for mothers & daughters, I’ve become inspired to share my own imperfections and struggles in the hopes that this will encourage others in their journey that it’s okay to struggle and be imperfect — because that is what this whole thing is — a messy, imperfect journey!
Although I’ve worked through a good bit of my “stuff” and done A LOT of my own emotional-spiritual work in my relationship with food and my body, I will never arrive. Not ever. Not even close.
I will never be perfect, and I will never have ALL of the answers. I hope this will unveil the mask of having it all together, because I definitely don’t. *Queue the imaginary stage crew to lower my ego platform stage to ground level.* … Much better. Okay, so here I go sharing 4 areas I’m still learning in, growing in, and wrestling with — sometimes on a daily basis.
1. I have body insecurities that I STILL fight.
Every few months or so, I’ll have a bout of a few weeks where I’ll find myself thinking something along these lines… “My teeth aren’t perfect, what if I got braces? Ughh, but I already look young enough… What if I dyed my hair a different way? That would make me feel better about life, right?!.., “And what’s up with aging and getting wrinkles?” The list goes on. And yes, that’s raw, real certified Jenny insecurities. But I share this because every time I become more than just curious (which is totally fine!) in one of these areas of “altering my external self”, I often reflect on what is REALLY going on with me internally to become so fixated on any of these things. EVERY time I’ve been fixated on things externally, it’s always as a distraction from the real issue. It’s much easier to focus on some body part or external feature that I can (maybe) control/change than to address the deeper anxieties that are really uncomfortable to wrestle with. At the end of the day, I am incredibly grateful for my body and truly love every piece of it. Right hand up, all truth! But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t fall victim to bouts of insecurity and projected body fixations that are really about something else. Because at the end of the day, my imperfect teeth, wrinkles, and other external insecurities don’t hold me back from being the person I love and being my true self — that’s why I can still love those pieces, 100%.
2. I really enjoy social drinking, even though I’d ideally not drink as much.
As a wine lover and social person, it’s hard for me to turn down events in which I know I will be indulging in alcohol. Although moderation is completely okay, there are times when I wonder if my social drinking interferes with other goals, like ultimate recovery in my CrossFit workouts or waking up feeling awesome on Sundays after a night of indulging on Saturday. I share this piece to help you understand that there is still some areas of my life that I am trying to juggle and uncover what goals are more important to me. While I don’t think I overindulge, it’s something I personally try to gauge to ensure that I’m not sabotaging my health and wellness goals. I’m STILL navigating how I can both enjoy wine and also be the healthiest I can be mentally and physically.
3. I struggle to incorporate intuitive eating, especially around lunch time.
While juggling therapy clients, owning a business, being on the board of SheHopes, music/personal projects, and CrossFit, I sometimes find it hard to even squeeze lunch in — much less, sit down, breathe, and chew. It wouldn’t be a huge shocker to find me shoveling in avocado and chicken in my car as I drive from one meeting to another. (Yes, that’s a thing). It’s embarrassing to admit, because I advocate mindfully eating as much as possible… but as I head through this next year of chaos I have given myself a time limit of one more year of rushed lunches and then, changes will have to be made. That being said, I try to eat mindfully around dinner time and my evening meals when things are a bit less chaotic. Eating mindfully is such an incredible blessing and self care that we all deserve at as many meals as possible. But every meal? That likely won’t happen for a while from this lady… but, never say never! I’ve surprised myself before in the slow and steady health changes I’ve made in my life.
4. “Hangry” does not look good on me.
As I think about this last one, I half cringe, half laugh. I apologize to all of the people that have had to deal with the impatient beast I can become at times when my stomach is growling, and it seems to bubble up and become a growl emanating from my face. To prevent this beast from coming out I’ve done two things: 1. Packed snacks in random places so I can stave off hanger in the first place, and 2. I am TRYING to work on my patience in all areas of life, including when waiting for food. Needless to say, I would’ve been a terribly grumpy cave person.
So there you have it. I will always be a W.I.P or work-in-progress. Over time, I’ve built trust with myself because the gap between where I am, and who I see my best self as becomes ever narrow as the years pass. Two steps forward, one back. As long as I am constantly challenging myself to push forward and deal with the hard stuff as it comes up (as inevitably it ALWAYS will), I can go to sleep at night proud of myself.
Imperfect? Absolutely. Working on it? Yes. Some days NOT working on it? Also, yes. But that’s okay. And the journey AND struggle is worth enjoying. For as much as I learn from my successes, I learn far more from the failures. So if you’re struggling and failing along your journey, that’s okay! Embrace it. Learn from it. Try again, learn again.
I am grateful for my struggles. They have helped me learn, teach, and connect with others in ways that I can’t even begin to describe. I encourage you to allow yourself to be imperfect, and learn from those pieces that are tougher to acknowledge. We all got ‘em! It’s what we do with them that counts. With love, Jenny Helms
“If we are going to find our way out of shame and back to each other, vulnerability is the path and courage is the light. To set down those lists of *what we’re supposed to be* is brave. To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”― Brené Brown