I wasn’t always this happy. There was a time I was in group therapy because it hurt to get out of bed and do anything other than schoolwork. There was a time when I watched my friends try to physically hurt themselves. There was yet another time when I had only one friend in the world.
During these times, on and off from middle school to high school, I kept a “hate journal.” It was full of many explicatives and the writing was often bold, written two to three times over in black pen – diagonally and filling an entire page:
FAT BITCH. LOSE WEIGHT. YOU’RE WORTHLESS.
NO WONDER NO ONE LIKES YOU.
I called it my hate journal and there were months when I would write in it everyday, twice a day. Violent, cruel, and terrible words that I would repeat to myself. It helped, or rather, I thought it helped me through the day. Inside was a darkness that was eating my soul while outside I was a bubbly and bright blonde. Very few knew (and will find out now) about my hate journal. I kept it private because although I tried to convince myself that it helped, deep down inside, I knew it was working against me and slowly making me feel worse. These terrible words were creeping into my heart and I was beginning to believe them.
A few weeks before I graduated from college, I had the courage to find all my past hate journals and destroy them in front of a good friend. It felt so good to be physically rid of such bad language and painful memories and even better that there had been a witness. But even so, the words stayed with me, even if not found on a piece of paper.
The words didn’t leave me until a few months later when I found myself on my yoga mat for 30 days during a winter challenge at yoga moves. Someone had broken my heart without really knowing it and not even my hate journal could contain the pain. Slowly, through the winter, yoga melted the snow and my heart. I began to let positivity and light into my heart. I actually began to listen to my instructors and “let go.” Breathing through utkatasana was much more important that the small fight I had with my mom or the bad day at work. I began to work, slowly, through each moment, movement, muscle and issue.
Years later, there are still days when I struggle. There are mornings when I wake up, look at my body and think about beating myself mentally. But then I remember the word ahimsa.
Ahimsa means nonviolence, and translates differently by all. As it is an ancient Sanskrit word, the meaning can translate many ways. My personal belief is that it means “nonviolence to self.” If we take that extra moment to find kindness in ourselves, we are more able to give kindness to others.
Today, I would love for you to find ahimsa within yourself. Burn your own hate journal or whatever your equivilent you have created for yourself and find instead a positive vibe and love. Create love by surrounding yourself with positive people and things.
I have heard that we are an average of the top five people we spend the most time with. Take a look around you...do your top five people represent someone you love and admire? Someone you want to be? Or do you have a frenemy lingering in the corner? TRULYsurround yourself with love – in people and objects! Find your best friend, your favorite pillow, your pet, a guitar, glitter, your yoga mat.... or whatever brings YOU happiness and joy.
Then remind yourself that you are good, you are loved and you are worth every moment in your life.
Stay positive, grow optimism, shine light.
Get out there – do yoga and make your life sparkle!