I wanted to share some excerpts of Jason McKensie’s story with you. It is a story of how VULNERABILITY creates COURAGE. It is also about the stories we tell ourselves when we Self Sabotage with destructive behaviors and ultimately derail our good intentions to be more fit, more healthy, more successful, a better parent, a better spouse etc etc …fill in the Blank. Jason also shares how he was able to overcome and provides some valuable insights and suggestions. This story resonated with me and it encourages me to continue to work on accepting myself. Enjoy!
I toiled away in the gym for 41 years without ever reaching my health and fitness goals. I was reasonably fit and strong, but I never came close to what I told myself I was capable of. It turns out, I was doing exactly what I was capable of. Exercise helped me survive chaos and heartbreak that might have broken me otherwise.
Over time I came to use “fitness” as a pathetic rationalization to defend the destructive behaviors that had started to take over my life. How’s that for perverse irony? I was using the very thing that should have made me physically and mentally stronger to excuse actions that were destroying me physically and mentally.
I used fitness as an excuse to keep drinking. If I was able to get up and go to the gym in the morning, then how much of a problem could drinking be? I used fitness as a way to punish myself for the damage I knew I was doing to myself. I’d never admit to myself that I hated what I was becoming, but my heart knew.
Your heart always knows the truth.
I didn’t exercise to move myself forward. I exercised in a desperate attempt to stop myself from sliding so far backward I would never recover. And somehow, I still thought that in order to achieve my goals, I just needed to do more crunches.
When I finally put down the bottle, it wasn’t the end. It was just the beginning. The past two years have been a voyage of self-discovery that changed my view of the world and my place in it.
I’ve cultivated vulnerability by sharing my story with the world. In the process, I’ve connected with countless people committed to creating goodness by being of service to others. I’ve gradually been eliminating the negativity from my life and replacing it with gratitude, humility, kindness, openness, and vulnerability.
After a lifetime of toiling away in the gym, I’m fitter, faster, and stronger than I have ever been in my life. One of the most amazing discoveries of all has been realizing it was never about how many crunches I did.
Sobriety has given me the time and space to incorporate practices that enhance my overall wellness. Meditation has helped make me more mindful and aware of my thoughts and emotions. I understand now there is no weakness in feeling emotions and learning from them. Weakness is in denying they exist.
I was so damn scared of people seeing me as weak that I weakened myself by not asking for help.
Writing and reading affirmations has given me a clear definition of how I want to live my life and why. Practicing gratitude reminds me every day how damn lucky I am. Having a morning routine helps ensure I do my best to start each day with positivity and optimism. Some days are better than others. I no longer drink to escape my low moments. I try to learn from them.
The most important change I’ve made is the decision to cultivate vulnerability in my life. I’m able to look at myself in the mirror and be honest and withhold judgment about who I see staring back at me. Accepting where I am right now doesn’t mean I have to be in the same spot tomorrow. Vulnerability has allowed me to love myself as I truly am instead of judging myself on how well I fit into someone else’s mold.
Vulnerability has allowed me to understand it’s showing up that matters most. Sometimes things will work out and sometimes they won’t. But I no longer judge myself based on the outcome.
The only reason I felt the need to be an army of one was fear. I was so damn scared of people seeing me as weak that I weakened myself by not asking for help.
Ultimately it’s all about the choices we make. There are no freebies. Every single one alters the trajectory of our lives in some way. Make choices that create kindness and generosity and you’ll change the world for the better.
Accepting yourself as you are means accepting others as they are. You’ll stop seeing yourself as above or below anyone else. We’re all just human beings.
You only have so much space in your life. The more you fill it with positivity, the less room there will be for negativity.
Your physical health is but one part of the beautiful mosaic that is “you.” Develop all your parts in harmony by consciously making choices that raise people up, move them forward, and help them feel safe to own their stories. Embrace that showing up is what matters most. And love yourself. You’re worth it. Before you know it, you’ll be fitter, healthier, and happier than you’ve ever been.
Jason is a father, published author, experienced speaker, accomplished athlete and proven leader. Jason MacKenzie is sharing the important life lessons he has learned from his harrowing personal journey. He is a survivor of his wife’s battle with bipolar disorder and subsequent suicide and has overcome a decade-long battle with alcohol.