This morning, as I roll down a dusty road, the sounds of Lady Antebellum reverberate, “You look good“, and as the lyrics unfold, I’m led to thoughts of confidence and emotional health. As the years have progressed the idealism of confidence has both grown and matured in my mind. The innocence of self perception is lost as we enter the environments of living that are choked full of smoke and mirrors. Having a being is wondrous until that being starts to embody the expectations of others and the societies in which we dwell. In the season of pivotal self image, I was extremely under weight. It was not the result of an eating disorder, it was the combination of extreme activity and having the metabolism of a tiny squirrel. I languished over the fact that I could not gain a pound. The sense of my body, during that particular time, was frustration. I wanted to develop but the day I entered college, I was 5’4” and 98lbs.

It was part of my genetic heritage. My dad would often say about himself, in his youth, that “he could drink a coca-cola and get out in the sun and he’d look like a thermometer.” The story changed as my activity level waned and my lifestyle became more settled. I gradually began to obtain the shape I’d longed for and with it some relational success. My confidence increased, my clothing fit better, my mind started to assimilate and I’d say, in my 20’s, as is true for most, I was “blooming“. In that particular time, I enjoyed my sense of self; however, yet again, I had no true intention, I was living in the moment enjoying what development provided. Age and increased sedentary behaviors, packed a punch, especially when I was not cognizant of any directional thought or way of being. It literally felt like I just woke up and one day I resembled the Michelin tire man.

The pendulum swing of emotions was vast. As I viewed the landscape of my mind, I realized that , in actuality, there was never a healthy thought concerning my body image, it was likened to every other developmental process. I held a snapshot and actually ingested the image, I didn’t quite know what to make of what I saw. I can’t say I was thrown into a depressive state but I can say that I was disheartened and felt no actual ability to understand or be in control. In my mind, the justifications were valid, I was getting older, I was sitting, I was eating (because a good southerner cleans their plate) and I was the product of such. The prime had ended and I had harvested what I’d sown. I began to settle into the mindset of old age, at a time, when it was completely unacceptable.

That sense of self rejection begins to lay the groundwork for what we attempt or achieve in the second half of our existence.

Today, I am progressing both mentally and physically. The work began through the reality checks and has been purposeful.

Where do I want to be?

How do I want to relate?

How do I get there?

With whom do I travel?

Intentionality is of first and foremost importance. All those, “What I wish I had known when the journey began” musings are blazing a path. Backtracking for understanding provides the compassion needed to scale the heights for summit, especially in that second half.

I’m realistically and gently addressing my mind and body today. I’m seeing results, even after one year of intentional living. My mind has opened from the gridlock of progressional trauma and I’m understanding that there is much life to be had and to behold.

Confidence is not indwelt from birth, it is not about our physicality, it is not about what has been obtained along the way, confidence is an assured placement of mind and purpose. Knowing where we are going is the fuel for our mobility and investment. Being able to peruse the “what has been” and imagine, gives us a real sense of confidence. Obtaining skills, pursuing education and administering our heart calling is definitely the basis of a nutrient filled soil and our thoughts are the seeds sown upon which we confidently grow and stand.

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