Years ago, I used to smoke cigarettes. I know, I know, how could this be possible, I’ve been a fitness instructor and personal trainer for 26 years! Well, I did, and it was very popular for the kids I ran with during that time. We had no idea it was dangerous. Heck, all the movie stars did it, and they looked so glamorous. The crowd I hung out with, well, we wanted to be just like them, from our copied hair styles, fashionable clothing, far out, groovy language, and in our personal habits too, like smoking.
My friends and I created rituals around smoking. We would sneak away (which was delicious in itself), and hide out while enjoying the grown up, act of smoking. The fact that getting caught would put us in serious trouble with our parents and school officials made it all the more appealing. It was here we could secretly “get back” at the grown ups for imposing their rules on us.
My best friend, Barbra (not Barbara!) and I would share a cigarette, and talk about boys. We competed with each other a lot, and tried our hardest to out-do each other blowing the perfect smoke rings…inside smoke rings. She used to make me so mad because she took so long to inhale and exhale. She always had to be so dramatic and pretend she was someone famous, and for some reason that ticked me off. So we would limit the number of puffs each one took and still we always fought over it. I guess that was part of our ritual too.
Later, after learning it was dangerous, I tried to stop smoking and I couldn’t. Each attempt I made resulted in failure, and I realized I was addicted! I tried everything from writing about it, getting therapy for it, going cold turkey, and chewing gum, but to no avail. During those years, I would get so depressed because I couldn’t master the act of quitting. It wasn’t so much about saving myself from the perils of smoking that depressed me, it was not being able to do what I wanted to do. If you’ve ever tried stopping a habit you know exactly what I mean. With each attempt, I’d pray, and say to myself, ok, Patricia, this time it’s going to work, and you’re really going to quit.
Then, a day or two later, I would be puffing away again trying to justify to myself why it was ok to keep smoking. I’d say stuff like, as soon as this current crisis is over, I’ll quit, or worse yet, I would convince myself I was probably like that 100 year old person who smoked their entire life, and didn’t get cancer. I remember those times very well, and how I vacillated between justifying my smoking and beating myself up for being such a failure.
What I realized is that yes, I was definitely terrified of getting cancer and dying, but honestly, what was most defeatingly frustrating, was not being able to control myself. That was the key, and the source of my feelings of failure. I have always been (and even more so as I get older) driven to master, conquer and excel at things – not to meet someone else’s standards, but to meet my own. I could not, for the life of me, conquer this nasty habit, and that made me feel bad about myself…horribly bad about myself. If I couldn’t master this, how could I master the other big, and important things in my life? Because of this kind of thinking, I played small in many areas of my life during those days.
Then I entered a personal growth period in my life and started reading self-help books, like, Healing the Child Within, by Charles L. Whitfield, MD, Changes That Heal, by Dr. Henry Cloud, Learning To Love Yourself, by Gay Hendricks. I learned about the importance of having a good relationship with myself, and this became my new goal. I developed compassion and forgiveness for myself, for the areas in my life where I felt like a failure – like smoking. I found myself feeling more protective about my body, and I began taking vitamins, exercising and watching my diet. I went to a Naturopath, and learned even more about caring for myself. I learned about affirmations and the power of our minds in creating our reality – that what we tell our self creates a pathway for how we experience our lives, and it determines our success and failure.
As I transformed my thinking on this new inner journey, I gained clarity around my smoking, and I made a decision to quit that was based on my deep care, appreciation and love for myself. I was successful this time, with no turning back! I was finally able to gain freedom and independence on the day I quit. More importantly, I freed myself from my self-imposed bondage of limited thinking. I realized that I (we) can be masters of our habits; we can free ourselves from limiting behaviors and thinking and create our own independence day! Are you ready to begin your inner journey?
Answer the following questions:
1. What self-limiting lies have you been telling yourself?
2. Write about what a positive, healthy relationship with yourself would look like?
* how would you feel about yourself
* what would you think about yourself
* how would you support yourself
3. What are you in bondage to, and from what do you want freedom?
4. What will you do to get it?
5. What is your commitment?
I welcome your comments. Please share your stories so everyone can benefit. Thank you, and many blessings to you always.
Your comments & feedback are always welcome and encouraged. For an appointment call 206-459-2898 or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Home page http://www.integritylifecoach.com Copyright© 2007 Patricia Eslava Vessey…All Rights Reserved