Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Can Do Hard Things

The following are not my words. Here I'm sharing the wise words of my friend Shari (Jupiter6) from Obesity Help. She shared this message on the OH forums last summer and it's inspired me ever since. 

The phrase, "I can do hard things" has become a mantra for many of us who were there for the original posting of this message.  I CAN do hard things.  And it makes me proud that I understand that about myself and when I'm faced with something hard, I can use those inspirational words to get me through a tough situation.  I have these words printed and hanging on my refrigerator (and bookmarked on my computer and saved to my flash drive and burned into my memory).  

So in case you hadn't read it yet, I wanted to share them with you. I hope they are as powerful for you as they have been for me.

"I've had some success-- I suppose I can admit as much at this point, although it feels weird. So now I get a lot of people who PM asking for advice, or saying they look up to me, and flattering though that is, it's silly, because I pretty much just follow the rules (okay, the ones that make sense) and it all comes out in the wash. So I usually don't have much to add when people ask how you get where I have gotten, there's no great mystery: the reason I have been successful in some ways that others have failed I usually pass off as luck.

But that's not entirely true. I just realized it. There actually *is* one more piece, and because I love ya, I am going to share it with you now. Sounds trifling, but it contains volumes.

Here it is: YOU CAN do hard things.

I know, you're saying, "What's your point?"

Sometimes, when faced with a challenge-- especially if you're a recovering addict as so many of us are, when you approach something difficult, your inner voice says, "Holy crap-- I can't DO that"...and you do an about-face-- you reach for the drug (or Ring Ding) of choice. To feel uncomfortable..and not to comfort yourself, is a hard thing --

but you can do hard things.

When it's late and you're tired, and you know you are supposed to walk, you said you would, and it's looking like it might rain-- it's hard as hell to lace those sneakers up and get out there---

but you can do hard things.

Protein shakes can taste yucky. It's hard to remember all those calcium supplements. It's hard to get 64 oz of water in. It's hard to plan meals, buy expensive and healthy choices, stay out of the cake in the lounge at work--

but you can do hard things.

You don't have to self-medicate. You don't have to eat those chips. You don't have to duck and avoid every unpleasant, difficult challenge in your path. Sometimes, the best bet is to admit their existance..."Yes, hard things, I see you trying to get in my way, but you know what? I CAN DO HARD THINGS!"

Sometimes this means having to survive a host of feelings you never felt before because you never let yourself feel them before-- stress, confusion, anger, rage. You can't numb them out or sand off their edges-- you have to stand right in your space and let them have a go at you-- and grit your teeth, and say to yourself, "Go ahead, get in my way. I'll get through this. I can do hard things."

And you will find that you will survive them. And as you survive them, you will face new ones, standing a little taller, because in time you will eventually understand and rely on the fact that you can do hard things. And eventually the "pass me some Ben and Jerry's--my boss is a jackass" response gives way to something new-- something that sounds more like this:

"Go ahead, Boss, bring it on. I'll have that on your desk by five."
"No thanks, Nancy, it's gorgeous but I really can't have an eclair right now."
"I guess I could just park back there and walk."
"It's only 8 ounces and I don't have to love the stuff, I'll just drink it quickly."
"If I spend ten minutes planning now, I won't be faced with tough choices later."

Post RNY living is no joke. It's not easy. It's not fun. It's not all "Whee, I'm a size 6!" Not everyone takes it as badly as I did, but there were days I *literally* cried because a kid at a store could have a cookie and I couldn't. I felt sorry for myself and holed up in my jammies, burning candles, and chatting here to avoid my fridge.

When I started, I could literally not walk further than my car, which is about 100 feet from my door. I bargained with myself that getting down to maybe 250 pounds would be JUST FINE, I didn't need more than that because the thought to ask more from myself was ridiculous, impossible-- who the hell loses 220 pounds? That's not even humanly possible, seriously!

And I found out the answer to who does that : it's ME. *I* can lose 220 pounds-- I know it because I *did* it . I can get in my supplements. I can learn to accept my new, imperfect body. And with planning and management, I can make a post op life that still provides pleasure, joy and fulfillment.

And I don't do those things because they are easy-- I do them because they're hard, but I *can*. I can do hard things.

And so can you. And you will. So the next time it's all too much (and it is for me too, although less often as I grow), look your RNY challenge-- whatever it is--- boldy in the face and say, "I can do this. I can do hard things."

Then pull out all the stops and grab the brass ring-- it's there for the taking!"


  1. Yep, Pam - this is one of those posts and phrases that has stuck in my mind ever since Shari posted it. I sometimes comment to "newbies" and mention it giving full credit to Shari too. It is just so true and the way it was delivered was at least half the impact - for me.

    Thanks for posting it again - it is a fabulous reminder and should be on a t-shirt!

    Peace. JaimeK

  2. Awesome post - and timely. Yesterday I signed up for the Susan Koman 5K race as a runner. I was having second thoughts (actually I was questioning my sanity) today - but hit the gym this morning constantly telling myself "I can do hard things." Thank you

  3. Thanks for reposting this I remember when Shair posted this. I will print it this time to read again and again.


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