I’ve been a big fan of the TED talks for a number of years now, and I am always looking forward to being amazed by the research and technologies that get presented there. A couple of days ago however, I found myself being not only amazed but also being very inspired by talk which encouraged me to take a moment to search within and to try to look at myself not through the eyes of others, but through the eyes of the person that I would prefer myself to be.
Now for those who know anything about me, I love being in the water. Whether it’s fully kitted SCUBA and 40 meters below the surface at a reef, or a more minimalist snorkelling around a pier, I have always found myself the most at peace, and the most fascinated when I have spent my time exploring the incredible life that lives in the sea. So this talk by Sue Austin appeals to me on a couple of levels, because not only can I completely relate to how incredible and life changing SCUBA diving can feel, I can also relate to her talk on a more human level and feel inspired by her journey and her life.
Sue’s story doesn’t encourage me to do the hard and life-changing things just because it’s something I feel I should be able to do as an able bodied person. Rather, her journey inspires me more to change the way I see myself in order to decide for myself what it is that I really need and want out of my life. If faced with something which seems either “difficult” or “impossible”, I am inspired to re-evaluate my own perceptions and to look at myself a different way.
Looking back over the last year, I can see that in some ways I had already taught myself to alter my own self perception, even if I hadn’t really recognised that this is what I have been doing. If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would choose to study personal training, I would have laughed and told them that this computer geek can’t become a personal trainer. Having tried and failed so many times over the years to stay at a healthy weight or to become fit, I would never have imagined back then that I could see a healthier future before me so clearly now. In some ways I was guilty of seeing myself as others saw me, and in other ways I was guilty of seeing myself for the person I feared to be, rather than the person I truly am.
Instead of saying “I want to be fit”, isn’t it better to say “I’m not fit now, but I am capable of becoming fitter… and I will be”. Instead of saying “I want to be thin”, perhaps it’s better to say “My reality is that I am overweight, yet with a little hard work and education I will reach my goal to be healthier, and I will enjoy the journey”. In every case it would seem to be better to accept the now, not as who you are, but as what you’ve allowed others to see you as. Instead of seeing yourself with those eyes, permit yourself to transform your perception of yourself, dare to see yourself as the person that you know you are capable of being, and then make it a priority to live the journey to set and achieve the goals that will allow you to become that person you truly believe yourself to be.
I once saw myself as overweight, unfit, and incapacitated. I now see myself as a fit, healthy, and life loving individual who has a great deal to share with others. My reality is that I am overweight and of questionable fitness, and yet I am also on a journey of my choosing to show the world this person who I know myself to be, and my journey will end when I believe I have achieved all of the goals that I am setting for myself. I know myself to be capable of achieving those goals, I am doing everything to make my journey a priority in my life, and I know that the journey itself be be its own reward.
Isn’t it wonderful how much you can achieve, simply by changing the way you see yourself.
- Simple Questions for Real Change (pammapalooza.com)