I was recently inspired to share more of my story because of a photoshoot we partnered with Self Love Beauty for. We titled the shoot “I am Brave” and with 16 women, we celebrated what moments in our lives make us brave. It was so incredible and empowering! It led me to start asking myself more questions about what made me feel brave and about what I wanted to see looking back on my journey, when I reflect on it in future years. So, I ask…
Have you ever had people in your life make you feel ‘less than’ and cause you to doubt your ability to accomplish your goals and dreams?
Yeah, me too… too many times to count! So, why is it that we let others steal our confidence and let their opinions take up space in our minds, rent free?
For me, it’s because for a long time, I wasn’t secure in myself. I was unhealthy, overweight, suffering from depression and anxiety, and struggling with infertility and loss. I didn’t believe in myself or that I had any real worth, because just getting out of bed each day was a struggle. Others’ opinions are what I lived for – I needed validation from them that I was good, worthy, and loved. Oh, how lost I was.
Looking at the old me, back in 2016, I had two college degrees that weren’t taking me anywhere. In my many years of working in health care, I didn’t feel confident, respected or valued. I didn’t feel like anyone else thought I was capable of achieving more. I had worked alongside many supervisors and executives and proved my work ethic and loyalty. Time and time again, I made the effort, yet I wasn’t getting any offers or any phone calls back regarding job applications I had put in.
On top of that, I also felt awful all of the time, mostly due to a battle with a binge/restrict eating disorder, habitual dieting, and poor management of my mental health concerns. I felt alienated and many people around me didn’t understand my reactions to sensitive situations surrounding food, stress, infertility, pregnancy and loss. I had never felt so alone and unconfident in my entire life as I did then.
My journey to healing and confidence began in 2017 with being brave enough to take back my health. Sure, I lost some physical weight, but I also started to desire taking care of myself again, physically AND mentally. I found a supportive group of people who were cheering me on. I finally started to gain confidence in my body and in my mindset. I began to believe that I COULD achieve the things I put my mind to. It was the start of a new chapter for me.
Over the last two years, I have continued to grow and heal. I have been cheering on so many others in their health journeys and focusing on strengthening my faith and marriage. Not everyone has supported my path, but I’ve chosen to be brave. I focus on the ones that have and I lean into my mentors and the people that inspire me most to keep me moving forward. I have also been focusing on finding a fitness routine that is best for me, both in mind and body. I even felt called to start a women’s community to create a local network of support among women in our area. That was completely out of my comfort zone, but I’m grateful that I had my husband, friends, and family cheering me on in that endeavor. It came at the perfect time.
I recently had a relapse with my depression and eating disorder, earlier in the year. I felt so lost and unsure of how to deal with it. Thanks to the support of a counselor, nutritionist, the women’s community I started, and many others, I was able get back on the path to healing. It hasn’t been easy and there have been a lot of dark days. However, I am incredibly proud of how far I’ve come and learning self-love has been a huge part of building my confidence. It isn’t easy to be vulnerable and share these struggles, but I do it because I know there are others out there, struggling with the same issues. I’m willing to be a brave light for them, bring awareness, and offer my story as hope. The goal of Fill Up Your Cup is to provide support, so I want others to know, they are never alone.
Because of the journey I’ve taken, it has helped me make some tough decisions. Not always popular decisions, but necessary ones for my healing. I’ve learned that I need to shift my role in how I help others in their health. I’ve also been inspired to pursue becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. This is a huge shift, but I feel totally called to live out my journey in the most honest and authentic way that I can. I’ve learned to say “no” when necessary and not to let others’ opinions determine the way in which I should go. I want to be brave and serve and love others in the way that I feel God has asked me to and that requires leaning into Him, even when it doesn’t seem simple or hardships come along.
Though this life hasn’t gone how I had “planned,” I’m so grateful that I’ve built confidence, strength and resilience through the ups and downs and the new friendships I’ve formed. I’m grateful for the healing taking place in me that has inspired me to keep going and help others keep going in their own life journeys too. So when the naysayers say you “can’t do it” or “won’t ever make it,” just know that you CAN and you WILL. If it has been placed in your heart and you have the desire, move on it and don’t give up. Small steps add up to big results. Don’t look back years from now wondering “what if…” Look back knowing you took all the chances you were given and made the most of every moment. Take the first step. Be confident. Be brave.