I can’t tell you how many countless people I have met throughout the years who share their stories of when they were younger or when they were in high school. They speak of the times when they were succeeding in different ways either through athletics, academics, social experiences, young love or all the above. Trust me, I get it. I was probably one of the biggest culprits of starting statements with “When I was younger…”.
I bring this up because last week on Live Big With Ali Vincent we met Chez Starbuck, a man who had a pretty incredible childhood but found as he entered his adult years it was somewhat hard to live up to. As he lived in those feelings the pounds just started to pack on. Chez was a child Disney star. As you can imagine for Chez, it was difficult going from a kid in the spotlight to becoming an adult uncomfortable, even in a group setting, with any eyes on him. He even felt embarrassed because he was supposed to “make it” in showbiz like many of his fellow Disney stars, yet felt he couldn’t because of his weight.
I think like Chez, many of us (at least I’ll speak for myself), feel our childhood experiences were supposed to contribute to us becoming something more than where we might be now. I personally have felt disappointed and assumed everyone else was judging me. The truth was, nobody was judging me except for myself. See, what you may not know is I was a nationally and internationally ranked synchronized swimmer in my youth. I never imagined I would ever have an issue with my fitness or physical abilities. I was the girl most things came naturally to, so even when I trained extensively, I really never had to work for many of my successes.
And sadly, I found I no longer wanted to even claim those past successes. I became scared to work for anything because I didn’t want to add more disappointments to the laundry list I had created; but my fear of failing created exactly that. Slowly but surely throughout my adult life I opted out of many things I would have loved experiencing. I was living small and safe, which was adding up to complacency and an inevitable death. I know that sounds pretty heavy, no pun intended, however not living up to your potential is dying! The opposite of living is dying and living partially is allowing yourself to partially die. It can become a vicious cycle of events. I found myself trying to fill the voids created in disappointment with food. I was desperately trying to feel full, complete. I packed on the pounds and only faced more disappointment.
By working on my weight issues I started living again which filled me with pride and accomplishment one minute at a time. I started to own what I was creating. I started to realized that my sport didn’t make me the accomplished athlete of my childhood, I did. Yes, I was lucky to have natural talent and opportunity but it was me who put in the time minute after minute. When I looked back with clarity, I realized I had failed hundreds of times, practice after practice, long before I ever had the opportunity to win. In fact, showing up was winning. Failing was even winning. Through actively living I was achieving a great life and nobody, not even myself, could invalidate that.
Like Chez, I found myself through living in the moment and looking into the future not worrying about living “up to” anything, especially things in the past. I hope you enjoyed Chez’s story. I know I learned a lot about myself through sharing his journey…plus he’s pretty easy on the eyes which always makes things a little better!
Until next week-
Tune in to Live Big with Ali Vincent Saturdays on the Live Well Network at 5:30 ET/PT.