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(Post #3 in the Daring Greatly series, inspired by and in response to Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly:  How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.)

Oh, Life – You synchronous pip. I currently find myself at my own personal point of convergence between release, vulnerability, and limiting beliefs. It’s a pretty amazing, momentous, and scary place to be.

I just finished the first of twelve weeks of Liz DiAlto’s Wild Soul Movement program; the week’s guiding mantra was “It is safe for me to let go.” Through the journaling exercises, I came to a realization. This isn’t the first time that I’ve wondered over the extra weight that I’ve put on, tried to figure out what purpose it is serving me, since I do believe that we put weight on for a reason, and that until we can figure out what role it plays for us, we are bound to keep it on, or to not keep it off for long. I’ve been working on figuring that out, coming up with some ideas that never quite felt like they really fully fit. Deep stuff, some of it true and real, but again, not the whole story.

This particular journaling exercise caused me to look at things just a little bit differently; it led me first through all the successes I feel I’ve had with my body, and then through what I might consider the failures. Somehow approaching it from this angle helped me see extra clearly how I hold myself back. I was able to see the successes I’ve had – where I’ve lost weight, gotten fit, crushed P90X twice, started jogging when I never thought I would, and been great at building healthful and nourishing meals full of natural and beautiful food.

And then I saw how I stopped, how I always ended up stopping. Because of work, drama, life, stress, time, money…. You know, all those tiny words with big blanket meanings that are mighty bastions against progress and change.  

But when I really looked over my list and thought about it, I saw this puzzlingly reclusive truth:  I love being fit, healthy, and strong! I love to move and breathe and feel light and rooted.

So there’s got to be more to all this stopping and quitting and giving up.

Well, the other day I was watching a fantastic video (free for a very limited time), a part of Lisa Fabrega’s Impact Video Training Series launch; it was about getting unstuck in your entrepreneurial endeavors. She was walking us through the top three limiting beliefs that interfere with real success, sharing the understanding that overcoming and re-patterning your limiting beliefs is the most important thing you can do to realize and actualize your plans to, as she puts it, “make your impact on the world.”

The second high-frequency limiting belief Lisa explores is Fear of Visibility.

Now, I know I’ve struggled all my life with being seen, not wanting to be seen, and what it means to be seen.

But as I listened, something else dawned on me. I stumbled here upon that missing extra piece, the truth that has eluded me all these years, what I think is intimately tied to the extra weight that I’ve carried to greater or lesser degree most of my life.

So here’s the big reveal.

It may not seem related.

It may not seem all that shocking.

But it totally took me by surprise.

Ok. Here goes.


I am sensitive. My feelings get hurt.

I’ve spent a lot of energy trying to hide that from people – never wanting anyone to think that things hurt me, or to see it happening. Drawing attention to my faults before someone else could do the same.  Convincing myself I don’t care anyway. Telling myself I already knew. Avoiding and pre-empting, detective-ing out any potentially hurtful scenarios before they can punch me in the gut.

So down-to-earth; so pragmatic. The consummate realist who doesn’t expect too much.

So yeah, in part I think that the weight might literally be protecting my gut, putting a layer there to cushion the blow. But there’s another piece as well. Once we outgrow the schoolyard bullies who like to pick on the fat kids, things get a little more complex. I’m usually upbeat, laughing, working toward something. Accomplishing something. I’ve noticed that some people aren’t really comfortable with that; they seem to feel threatened by it maybe, resentful even perhaps.

I can’t really know what it’s about for them, but I can tell you what it feels like on my end. When all is well – job is great, love is sweet, and bod is fit – lurking about the sea of supportive and loving friends and family are fouler foe who take me down so hard that I think I may have called in this weight just to avoid their downward pull.

I’m not even talking about the straight up barracudas who attack outright; I’m more affected by the surprise predators and the hidden obstacles, the scorpionfish and barnacles.

There is a type of scorpionfish that looks like a leaf and acts like a leaf, so its prey doesn’t recognize the threat until it attacks. Those are like the people in your life who look like a friend and act like a friend, but in the face of your good fortune, they find a way to make you feel bad about it, guilty for it; they attack with words that would be fine, kind even, if not for the intonation and inflection being used, the intention beneath them. You’re so lucky. I wish I could have/do/be x/y/z. Maybe they throw in a comment about why it’s easier for you or tougher for them. For some reason, this type of affront just guts me, way worse than the more obvious attacks. The subterfuge, even if they have been fooling themselves just as much as they have me; the betrayal, to be treed by someone you’d think would see your kite fly.

The barnacles are less aggressive but certainly not innocuous. Barnacles latch on to ships and slow them down, causing them to burn more fuel.

When friends get all barnacle-y, they don’t share in your joy with you; their lack of enthusiasm drags down, is a drag, eats up your enthusiasm and energy.

Sometimes you watch them glaze over at something great for you, and it’s like you can see them crawling around in their own head, criticizing themselves for not being like you, when all they need to be is their own true self. To feel like your friend isn’t happy at your good stuff hurts me so much more than outright meanness ever does.

And what I think I stumbled upon in all this is that the scorpionfish and the barnacles don’t attack and drag as much when I’m heavier. It’s like the extra flesh makes it okay that everything else is great or good, because at least her body isn’t right.

So perhaps I’ve unknowingly packed on the pounds so that basically people will be kinder to me.

That thought nauseates me and resonates as true all at once. I feel completely wimpy and liberated by the realization at the same time.

So there’s the stunning revelation: People are nicer to me when I’m heavier. The reason why is irrelevant. They just mostly are.

So keeping weight on protects me and my sensitive soul, even while it literally weighs me down and makes me feel less myself.

I vowed to make this my mantra for the week, for the month, for as long as it takes to make me okay with it:

I am sensitive. My feelings get hurt. It is safe for me to be sensitive. It is safe for my feelings to get hurt.


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