Because I feel that, in the Heavens above
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love
None so devotional as that of ‘Mother’
—Edgar Allen Poe
My place in motherhood helps me to reflect my health and wellness, physically, emotionally and spiritually. A healthy lifestyle for me is living out an active life with my family and friends and being engaged in theirs. To carry out this goal I have to take care of myself (and by the way, it is a misconception that self-care is selfish).
As I reflect upon the past 28 years of motherhood at the end of this year, I realize the best way to handle the seasons of life are: Letting Go, Letting God and Living healthy (including maintaining my weight) to keep my energy and activity available for whatever opportunities my family and friends bring my way. Let’s take a closer look.
LETTING GO: What do I (we) need to let go of? Here is part of my list: Children, worries, stress, what others think about me, and above all: CONTROL.
Our Children. A recent study examined parent-child relationship quality. They found that the children who exhibited a positive mental well-being later in life were raised in a home with parental support, affection and child-appropriate autonomy. Conversely, children with controlling parents (defined as intrusive and manipulative in the child’s emotional development) had a much lower sense of well-being later in life.
Our Worries and Stress. Chronic stress wears on your body and is dangerous! Stress can make existing problems worse, causes disease (such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease), and makes it more difficult to recover from being sick.
LETTING GOD: If we give up control, who should we let take it? God (or your Higher Power by whatever name you use). I’m sure you have heard this saying, “Let Go, Let God.” It doesn’t mean we sit around and do nothing; it means allowing the time and opportunity to work on our relationships. Let’s start here:
Be Vulnerable. Have the courage to be vulnerable. Dr. Brené Brown is a mother and research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past 13 years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame. In her Ted talk on the power of vulnerability she found that “people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging.” Further, those who felt worthy had the courage and compassion to connect to others with “authenticity . . . and fully embraced vulnerability.”
If you struggle with a fear of unworthiness, search out a safe place where you can be vulnerable. Start with Who created you, your inmost being, while knitting you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13) Go to this resource and begin the process of understanding the lies you tell yourself, the ones that feed your frustrations, false guilt and disconnection. Get a fresh start and begin living the truth of God’s love for you.
LOSING WEIGHT: What does losing weight have to do with all these weighty topics (pun intended)? Going back to Dr. Brown, she continued her research on vulnerability since she herself found it difficult to practice. She found that people “numb” vulnerability and this affects all our emotions.
We try to dull our hurts with overeating or not eating enough, drinking excessively, shopping too much, or blaming others for our mistakes, instead of living wholeheartedly (courageously). So, I did my own informal study and, like Dr. Brown, looked for common themes from clients who have found their own courage and success as they worked toward their health goals with someone they trusted:
My story of emotional eating and image struggles began decades ago, so unraveling it to figure the best plan possible for change has been a challenge.
This journey was never about how much I weighed or how much weight I could lose.
It has been about becoming a whole person in every area of my life—physically, emotionally and spiritually.
It’s not about a diet routine; it’s about an attitude and lifestyle change!
Rediscovering a new attitude with food, sleep, exercise and faith in myself.
I wouldn’t have these statements to share with you had there not been trust and transparency from these individuals. It took courage for them to share their hearts and feelings. It was the good, the bad and the ugly that helped them get to a level they could be confident enough to persist and pursue choices for an improved quality of life. Really, losing weight, or any other health goal(s) you may be looking to attain, begins with vulnerability. Be vulnerable with your emotions, image and attitude while using your own faith to be courageous and make positive changes for yourself and your family!
Ruth-Ellen Wiersma is the founder of REWellnessHealth, a company devoted to listening, educating, and empowering individuals who desire improved health, energy, and vitality. Her quest toward improving her own health led to formal training, and she is now certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and a graduate and certified health coach through Integrative Nutrition. Ruth-Ellen also holds a Master of Arts in organizational communication. Her passion lies in helping others make informed choices by understanding emotional eating, the physiological connection to food, and showing how to incorporate positive and sustainable lifestyle habits while living in the day-to-day. For more information, visit REWellnessHealth.com or email RE@REWellnessHealth.com.