Friday, December 30, 2011

A New Year! (Part II)

(Bursey, 2011)
I wanted to get into the nitty-gritty and share my thoughts on Jeffery H. Rice's top ten reasons people quit their New Year's resolutions, as noted in my last blog post

1) Lack of enough knowledge about the desired goal
In order to really accomplish a desired goal, you do indeed need to have some knowledge about what you're tackling; learning is key. 

Ask, research and determine what the purpose is in really going after your desired goal. Without a specific purpose, you will lose sight of your goal.

2) Not knowing how to put an action plan together
Throughly study, gain knowledge and determinie your purpose. It will become easier to determine what effect you really want this goal to have on you after determining the purpose. 

Once you understand what effect you want it to have, it is easier to create a concentrated path to attain the desired result (McMillan, 16)

3) Loss of motivation
Mankind seems to always be in search of motivation. I know I get caught in the trap at times, but the reality is that motivational quotes, themes, videos, conversations and so on are simply a starting point to help yourself reignite your own personal motivational pilot light. 

The key is to never let the light completely burn out. Rather to keep it consistently burning and waiting, so that when something sparks, sending you into a full fire, that you are ready to roll with it. 

Eventually things will wane some as we get accustomed to the heat of the new norm, but as time rolls on we will indeed find something that sparks us again - the trick is to run with it, in a smart way, when the fire is lit.

4) Lack of support
Are you serious about your goal(s)? If so, have you even shared with your spouse, partner, best friends or parents what it is that you are trying to do? 

Have you asked them for their support and let them know specifically what you would appreciate them doing to help you along the way? Oftentimes lack of support is derived by you not taking your goal seriously. 

If it's a private goal, then you have no business whatsoever getting upset with others for being inconsiderate when they have no idea what the hidden expectations are. If it is a private goal, then you had better be honest with yourself. 

Lack of support (personal or via others) is usually indicative of an empty promise that you have given yourself.

Now there are some circumstances where you really do struggle with adequate support. Could it be that you are relying too much on others to get you where you want to be? 

Do you have unrealistic expectations? Or could it be that your support system truly sucks? If this is the case, email me, we'll huddle about it and find a way.  

5) Time management
No boss, no spouse, no kid, no parent is going to be standing at the foot of your bed at four-thirty or foive o'clock in the morning to get your attention. Get up and use your time wisely. 

Work on your goals and dreams, before other responsibilities get in the way. This is where you find out if you really want to achieve your goal badly enough.

6) Fear of failure 
I couldn't say it better than Michael Jordan in this youtube clip.

7) Excuses
Simply put, if you are making excuses, you are not fully committed. You may have to modify, you may have to adapt your goal to your circumstances. You may have to get creative and be extra patient, but there is a way. 

8) Not seeing results quick enough
Patient persistence is key. You may not feel like you are seeing results quickly enough; if this is the case, then you aren't appropriately measuring and tracking your progress. 

You need to track your results so that you can gain an honest perspective about your improvements.

"True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice." ~ St. Francis of Assisi

9) Lack of nutrition knowledge
Have you honestly invested in researching what foods are best for your body type? Have you ever tracked what you are eating? Have you met with a nutrition specialist to help you gain adequate knowledge to achieve your goals here?

10) The quick fix fad of the month otherwise known as the $100 billion dollar diet industry
Chances are that if it's a quick fix, then the results will be fleeting. So the question is, "do you want lasting changes or temporary ones?"

Just as a closing side note, I found the picture on Paul Bursey's blog page about the Entrepreneurial Mindset. Granted, in this particular article he is relating how to overcome network marketing challenges, but it's written in such a way that the application is actually quite broad. A good read with relation to goal setting.
McMillan (2012). Hodgepodge Isn't a Training Program. Running Times Magazine, January, p. 16.

Bursey (2011). Overcoming Obstacles And Coming Out On Top In Network Marketing. ( Paul Bursey Blogspot, March 17.

A New Year! (Part I)

Diana approximately 40lbs ago, hiking at Natural Bridges National Monument.
I used to need assistance stepping down from a curb and here I had just hiked
serious terrain for about 4hrs. Thank you trekking poles!

We are on the eve of a new year and I am determined to make the most of it. I'd love it if you would commit to yourself and join with me; in whatever way is best for you. 

We all have "a past" and I'm convinced that we shouldn't really forget it. I feel that once you forget it, you kind of have a tendency to stop learning from it. 

I hate re-learning, it's never comfortable. What I am saying is to choose not to let the past weigh you down; rather, let it fuel you in order to bring you to new heights - in a positive direction. 

You are who you are today because of yesterday. You will be who you become tomorrow, because of who you are today. It's a compounding effect and only you can decide whether it results in a radiating positive or a gloomy negative. 

It really is that simple. So, pick what makes you happiest, not necessarily what is easiest or the path of least resistance. Do something different this go-around. Find a way to make it measurable and give it a solid year of effort. 

Statistically most people quit their resolutions within sixty days. An even more compelling statistic is the ratio of people being more dedicated to planning their next vacation than they are to personal goals, even ones that are actually quite critical. 

It's time to stop making empty promises to yourself, family and friends. 

In December 2008, Jeffery H. Rice, CPY, CSCS, wrote an article talking about the top ten reasons people quit their New Year's Resolutions. The reasons are:

1) Lack of enough knowledge about the desired goal
2) Not knowing how to put an action plan together
3) Loss of motivation
4) Lack of support
5) Time management
6) Fear of failure 
7) Excuses
8) Not seeing results quickly enough
9) Lack of nutrition knowledge
10) The quick fix fad of the month otherwise known as the one hundred billion dollar diet industry

I'm currently working on a plan to create safeguards to buffer points one through ten listed above. My goals for the coming year can be best grouped into the following four categories: spiritual, physical, nutritional, mental. 

The action plan requires accountability, patience, research and study, practices to mentally visualize outcomes, measurable tracking methods, positive self talk, a budget, accountability, accountability, accountability

Self doubt makes us negative, negativity causes fear, fear hinders dreaming, lack of dreams depletes desire, loss of desire kills hope, not having hope makes living appear futile and then people stop trying to live life to its fullest. Stop the cycle of doubt. Believe!

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Digging Deep

This is the Nativity set that I mention below.

I am in the first week of Phase II of Insanity with Shawn T.. while I was working out the other morning I was really struggling. 

I was feeling the fatigue, soreness and resistance that you get with applying effort. I was frustrated and mentally not in the game and blaming it on the lack of feeling on my left side, multiple sclerosis being the issue. 

Good heavens, this is Insanity I'm talking about! So, in reality it was mostly my attitude and only partially my MS. Mentally I was giving up. I was telling myself that "I can't". Those are very powerful words.

It was while I was in the "I can't" of it all that I then looked up. Right in front of me was one of my many nativities that I currently have up around the house. 

It was then that I randomly thought to myself, what would have happened if the Savior said "I can't" and believed it? What if he didn’t “dig deep” and give it all he had?

There are times that my husband, friends, family, and even strangers have each carried a bit of my burden - to help me succeed. To help me so that "I can". 

For that I am forever and continually thankful, because it has kept me going when I thought I was out of steam. I have so many people around me that buoy me up to help me continually realize my potential. 

You have this too – even if you think you don’t. As a matter of fact, I would even venture to say that if you think you don’t have that support, you either 1) haven’t recognized it or 2) haven't humbled yourself to ask for the support. 

There is always at least one person in our midst that would be willing to help you in some way. We tend to see it most during this time of year, but that’s mostly just because we are more attuned to it; more willing to recognize it.

During my workout the other morning I realized that it’s my turn to dig deep - again. It’s my turn to give it all I’ve got - again. It’s my life and the Savior gave all that he had, to make up the difference, for when my digging deep isn’t deep enough. 

Right now, my support is a friend who works out with me - she is relentless! Thank you Mary!

This life is largely about consistency 
(some call it monotony) with 
intermittent intervals of high intensity 
(absolute craziness) –
this is how we progress.

You have most likely been consistent or maybe even sliding slightly backwards. However it’s time to “dig deep” and give your life maximum effort to move forward. I wrote about this in a bit more detail in my blog entry And So It Goes....

I'm saying that it’s time to do a little interval training; no holds barred. Mix it up and get crazy with it. I’m not just talking about exercise here. I’m talking about any facet in your life that you feel is lacking. 

I’m talking about exerting maximum energy in any one particular area of your life that you have ignored for way too long. You know what that is. You are worth it. Believe in yourself – dig deep.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Poetry Corner: An Imaginary Villain

We've all been here at one time or another... or now. 

An Imaginary Villain

I interrogate myself,
by manipulating the eyes of others
to tell my deepest fears
admit my worst wrongs
to judge
by reading too much 
into an onlooker's gaze.

I create
I mistake
I adjudicate
my own follies
and displace my own disgust, 
standing victimized
allowing guilt to be provoked
by an outsider's glance.

My head drops,
succumbing to the weight
of worthlessness - 
chained, locked away 
because that's where I tell myself
I belong.

By Diana M. Bateman
2006 ©

Why do we work so hard to put ourselves in this bad place? We are all worth more than this... The truth is that we are all uniquely amazing, whether you believe it or not. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Top 10

This summer I moved my blog to a address and I also used the move as an opportunity to broaden the focus of my blog efforts. 

However, I didn't want the changes to take away from the overall message, which is to: encourage others to find strength, hope and tenacity to face life's challenges head-on, as well as to thrive in spite of those challenges. 

So below I have provided a Reader's Top Five list of the most read entries by you, as well as a Top Five list of my personal favorite posts of all time (that aren't already in the Reader's Top Five). 

Reader's Top Five
1. Get In My Belly! (part II) 09/17/11 
2. Abiding Love  10/01/11 
3. The Military & Multiple Sclerosis 09/08/07
4. A Thanksgiving Tribute: To Don With Love 11/26/09 
5.  Get In My Belly! (part I) 09/16/11 

My Top 5 Favorite Posts
1. My Road Back 10/27/10
2. And So It Goes  06/16/10
3. The Folds of Me 02/26/11
4. We Are Never Alone 09/05/10
5. I Want To Laugh  01/21/08

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Power of Experience

Just a fun picture taken of me at the 2011 Boston MS Patient Advocate Conference.

There will come a time when you will be struck to the core and humbled, be it by something personally or vicariously catastrophic. You may very well be struck more than once. 

When that happens though, the question is, will you learn from it and make lasting changes or will you be persistent in believing that there's nothing that requires change?

I personally believe that when these events occur in our lives we have the power to work the catastrophe and manipulate the final effect.

We decide what direction we go in by how we respond to it and then let that choice define our next steps. It is absolutely easier said than done, but it is possible - I have done it, I am doing it and I am not perfect.

In the fall of 1997, singer-songwriter Paula Cole released a song called "I Don't Want To Wait". This song hit me the second I heard it and it just spoke to me in a very big way - even still, but for different reasons now. 

It's the chorus mostly... in all reality, you could insert any story, sing it with the chorus and have it work. Who doesn't, or hasn't wanted to know the end from the beginning? Especially when you're so uncertain about the future.

The chorus reads:
"I don't want to wait 
for our lives to be over,
I want to know right now, 
what would it be.
I don't want to wait 
for our lives to be over,
will it be yes or... sorry?"

What is your story? What has tried to break you... and instead, made you? It doesn't have to be grand. It only had to impact you, change you in some way; that change alone is grand enough.

I am writing this and reflecting upon several things that have happened over the last few days while visiting family, making new friends, and attending a Multiple Sclerosis patient advocate conference in Boston. 

During my visit I've had some tremendous conversations on just about any topic you can think of. And I've seen time and time again that our character has the strength to take a tough thing and make us better. 

It can make you into something powerful beyond measure; a knowledgeable force to be reckoned with. 

If you get nothing else out of this blog entry, I hope you just know that I feel more peaceful about all that has happened and is currently happening in my life. I feel more peaceful about the direction I am headed. 

I strive to choose my response(s) to life and its varied curve-balls wisely. I still feel urgency and want to know what the end will look like already, in every direction of my life. 

However, if the knowledge I have by the time I get there is remotely sweet like the peace it gives me now... well, it will have been worth the wait, struggle, crying, swearing, and more hard decisions. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Poetry Corner: I Win

Have you won a battle with your demons? Have you lost? Have you won, then lost, then won again? Is it a continual battle that feels like there's no end in sight? 

Regardless of the myriad of ways this can apply, I'm here to say that it's worth the fight. You are worth the effort. Revel in the wins to help you get there again. 

Face the demons head on and fight with an animal rage against them. You know these demons well and they're not supernatural, they are malevolent and very real. 

You would risk your life to save a child about to be hit by a car... why not also be willing to do so for yourself? Correct your path continually. Find your inner hero and let it kick the $#%&^ out of your demons. 

I Win

pinched lips strangle 
hardened breath into
recycled fumes,
forcing it back into my aching flesh –
fueling me…

I am born again by anger,
satiated by hate,
rejuvenated by pain;

self-pity somehow morphed into
motivating an intensity that actually feels
justified… holy

thank you for the sorrow
that has emboldened me –

is what encourages the strength
that pulls against my chains
that dares to hold me back.

By Diana M. Bateman
2008 ©

Friday, November 18, 2011

4 x 365 = Infinity

You should  know that I am not very good at math, but I am absolutely confident that 4 x 365 = Infinity. Here's how I figured it out.

For 365 days I tried my hardest to give each day all that I had in me. I experienced a multitude of emotions, highs and lows, but I went to bed most every night knowing that that day, I had given my all. 

I decided that I was done with excuses and I embraced the concept of the English proverb of "where there is a will, there is a way." I'm talking about from the will to get out of bed to the will to stand my ground in tough situations to the will to simply go for a walk. 

I packed my days with as much earnest effort as possible. On day 365 I realized that I like life this way, much better than my previous 12,045 days of life. 

So, I recommitted to another year of giving it all I've got. Here I am, near the close of 4 years of relentless effort to strive to give each day my best effort and I've found that I have gained an infinite amount of blessings and joy living my life this way. 

I have gained more from this effort than I could ever describe. I only wonder what would have been, if I had caught the vision sooner in life. 

I've no regrets, but I know that if I don't continue the relentlessness, then I will regret inaction. I like that "I can" plays a more noticeable role in my life than "I can't". 

What I'm really getting at here is that we all live far below our potential, simply because we fail to do the little things each day that are the building blocks to achieve big things. 

These big things are defined completely by you, they are not to be compared. Rather, these big things are custom made. The big things don't happen everyday though. 

As a matter of fact, my days are filled with little things, but once they build momentum they grow exponentially into something much larger and then, all of the sudden, I find another goal achieved. 

So here I am, coming to yet another Thanksgiving and I can't help but ponder this new equation and how much I am looking forward to continued growth. It's all about doing a little at a time with earnest effort.

I am so incredibly thankful for the mental strength and heart that my Heavenly Father has given me. 

So Thanksgiving Day starts another 365 days of success. I would love nothing more than for you to believe and join with me in your own custom made journey. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life Without Limits

Nick Vujicic and Kyle Maynard have simply solidified the power of what vision, relentlessness, and belief can do. The power to do small and great things alike are within us. 

The power to do small and great things are innate - God put them there. We just have to decide our direction and then believe that we can. 

One achieving in this way is an anomaly, two are a testament. Simply put, we can do anything. The potential for living and inspiring success is limitless. Click on the links below to be amazed.

Here's an awesome video on Nick 

Here's an awesome video on Kyle

Saturday, November 5, 2011


The last several blog posts have affected me in a very unexpected way.  In trying to share with you how I feel about food and addressing addictive behaviors, I’ve discovered that I still have a long way to go.  

Cravings I haven’t had in a very long time have resurfaced and I’ve had to battle them – again.  This is a continual battle and one that no one is immune to. 

In other words, this is not something you can achieve and then walk away from. These are lifelong commitments for general physical, mental and spiritual health.

Because of this, I would like to recommit and review things that I learned that have been very valuable to me in my self-discovery and weight loss journey.  

These are core things that I know I need to reengage and continually strive to live by; because I’m simply happier when I do.  

So in making this list, I’m publicly holding myself accountable, as well as maybe helping someone out in the great expanse of the world to gain perspective along with me. 

Diana, You Are Motivated By:
  • Good quotes and uplifting stories; keep discovering them.
  • Seeing others make plans, engage and succeed in life.
  • The knowledge that I am a daughter of God and that all things are possible because of it.
  • Good music.

Diana, You Are Healthier When You:
  • Drink water only.
  • You track your food and employ mindful eating tactics.
  • Stick to a daily exercise regimen and keep it challenging.
  • Continually make and review goals.
  • Stretch multiple times daily.
  • Do strength training first, then do cardio so that you are truly burning fat rather than any amount of muscle during your cardio. Muscle assists in burning fat!
  • Understand that there are many ways to accomplish things, always believe there is an alternative, especially when the normal path is an obstacle due to disease.

Diana, You Are Happier When You:
  • Actively think positive. 
  • Frequently review and update your goal list.
  • Recognize how richly you are blessed (not talking about money here).
  • Pray and give thanks.
  • Read scriptures.
  • Meditate.
  • Honestly engage with yourself and others.
  • Speak kindly to and about all people; including yourself.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Getting High

Diana (right, brown sweater) with older sister Melene (left, pushing wheelchair)
at an Multiple Sclerosis Walk event. I love that Melene is pushing her wheelchair in this picture!
I've been thinking about all the prescriptions that have freely been given me over the years when the doctor has said "just in case you need it" even though it's obvious that I'm far from the need. 

Then there are times when I've asked for a certain amount of pain meds to take, as needed, with each injection for my MS medication (four times each month equalling fifty-two pills for one year), yet the prescription comes out at double that... the list can go on. 

But if I lacked some amount of self control or had more addictive behaviors than I already do, I could have totally abused the system in order to essentially get high in a less noticeable way. Case in point, here's a little story.

Once upon a time I couldn't stay awake, alert, or comprehend anything important. I had this fatigue that just took everything out of me. 

Brushing my teeth sometimes drained my energy for several hours. Even my ability to be alert enough to understand relatively simple things was labored. So my doctor prescribed a drug that is actually a type of narcotic. 

This drug is most commonly used as treatment for people suffering from narcolepsy (excessive daytime sleepiness). This helped a great deal for quite some time. 

However, I eventually began to develop a resistance to the medication and rather than following doctors' orders to increase the dosage, I decided to taper off - as I felt that I had become dependent on it in a rather unhealthy way. 

I've had the same reaction to a variety of pain medications; I like how they make me feel and sometimes not feel. But this pill that I was given to help me manage my fatigue...this is pretty powerful stuff and sometimes even used to help people recover from a cocaine or opiate dependence. 

I wanted the higher doses, I craved to have more, and this desire frankly scared me.

Why did I opt to back off the drug?
  • I found that even just thinking about it made me alert with excitement.
  • I recognized that the drug had done its job. It changed my body chemistry to some degree, to get me going again - jump start complete.
Yes, medications have their purpose(s) and can be very helpful; just not always as prescribed. You need to think of yourself as a collaborator with your doctor; puzzling out the best way to help you. 

Your intellect knows when you need something. You also know better when you should stop. It's a matter of listening to your gut, trusting it and then following it.

I had a very interesting time getting off this drug. In efforts to taper off, I'd reduce dose, then take one every other day (as needed), cut the pill in half again and so on. 

I struggled some with fatigue but it was more manageable this time. The fatigue I was experiencing at this point was from a chemical dependence to the drug itself, more than any physical dysfunction. It was at this time I was introduced to energy drinks.

I ended up leaning on energy drinks for support, especially while driving. That worked extremely well, but... at the cost of now yellowing teeth and still in some fashion, a chemical dependence. 

I walked away from this prescribed drug, but walked right into another addiction. On some level I'm still pretty much a junkie (thanks to energy drinks). 

I have found that I have physically needed this drug (i.e., energy drink). I yearned for it, I thought about it, I shook inside I wanted it so bad. 

I found that I was staying alert just thinking about it. Sound familiar? How on earth is this healthy? It's not.

Why did I opt to back off the energy drinks? 
  • I found that even just thinking about it made me alert with excitement.
  • I recognized that the drink had done its job. It aided in walking away from a very potent prescribed drug and kept me functionally alert - jump start complete.
Relying on a chemical for a jolt, be it opiates (even prescribed), caffeine or energy drinks still messes with your inner workings. 

My poor kidneys and pancreas have a taken a brutal assault over the years. I've been off this lethargy medication for over five years now. 

I'm still not completely 100% off the energy drinks, but I'm getting there. In order to do this, I've turned to walking.

The other day I went for a brisk six mile walk and you know I was just as energized from that than I was from being loaded on prescribed meds or after having downed an eight to twelve ounce energy drink. 

I started this walk out with little to no energy whatsoever, which is honestly why I went on the walk - to get my energy back. 

Eventually, I began to feel energized and I ended up doing six miles while keeping a consistent brisk pace. Over time, walking has encouraged running. But there are definitely times when walking is all I can pull out of me.

Why do I opt to stick with walking? 
  • I found that even just thinking about makes me excited; mostly because I'm thrilled that I now have the ability to do it.
  • I have recognized that simply walking has given me energy when I thought I had none. Walking keeps me from getting stiff, which happens easily due to my MS. 
  • Walking keeps me functional, alert, calm and at peace. 
  • Lifelong jump start engaged!
Isn't it kind of cool that physical activity is oftentimes just as effective (if not more so) than a strong medication or an energy drink? 

The physical activity is also generally longer lasting with a lot fewer hazardous side effects and it is indeed a lot cheaper. Just sayin'....

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I was sitting at my desk at work the other day when I heard a soda can being opened. I was amazed by the instantaneous physical and mental response I had to that sound. 

I immediately started to salivate and found myself having a difficult time concentrating on the task in front of me. I was dwelling on the can and the fizz of carbonation. I was mentally starving for a fix. 

I needed a can of my own to make that sound and then swallow enough soda feverishly, so that I could get the burning fix of a carbonated rush in my throat. I needed the soothing relief of a soda hit. 

It’s been quite a while since my last drink of some sort of cola. I’m not even sure I can recall when that was. After all this time of living a water only lifestyle, I still get hit with the sensation of addiction.

We all have moments similar to this with one vice or another, but it’s how we cope with them that really affects us, as well as foreshadows our future response(s) when we face them the next time. It even bleeds into our general ability of self-control.

This could be similar to a variety of challenges that you face, maybe not with a caffeinated beverage, but I think you get my point. 

In this particular case though, once I was able to temper the shaking need in my mind, I began to ask myself:  What am I missing? What am I really starving for? What is lacking enough in my life, to make me feel the stinging need of a fix this time? What’s been happening in my life lately? What really needs feeding?

Sometimes you may not even think about why you want that soda; you may just have an immediate response to dig in your wallet and make your purchase at the break room machine. 

That may not even be enough, you might actually pick up and go to the convenience store, so that you can have a larger quantity or you might simply need a fountain drink rather than a can; because that is your psychological preference for a satisfying fix.  

You might even be salivating now reading about this. Why? Is it because it reminds you that you are lacking in some way and you need to have the void numbed with your vice of choice, so you can be relieved once again from having to actually think about the real reason you feel empty in some way?

Today I successfully circumvented the burning need by drinking a lot of water then going for a short brisk walk…  not once, not twice, but three times! All just to shake the burning need for something that I already decided I really didn’t want in my life anymore.

So why did I struggle with this issue, in this way, after all this time? I think it was because I really didn’t want to be at work. I had other things on my mind that currently have a higher priority to me. 

The reality though, is that I have an obligation to this job and because of that I must set the things that I really want to do aside, for a time, in order to meet all demands on my plate. 

The frustrating thing is that I didn’t understand all of this until my third walk. It may have taken a little while to come to that conclusion, but I got there without a soda. I'm pretty sure that this is called progress! Yeah for small triumphs!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mirror Therapy

I've mentioned this term "Mirror Therapy" in a few of my posts before.  I would like to explain what the heck it is and why I do it.  

I'm not certain if this is something that someone else has already discovered or patented as a therapy method or not, but this I discovered on my own.  It has made all the difference.

First you must understand that I am a liar; primarily to myself.  I have decided that there are many things that I have told myself and have believed that simply aren't true.  

I have wanted to undo the damage that I thought others had done to me, but I have come to find out that it was mostly me that had done the damage.  

Sure others have affected me, but the bulk of the things I believed and told myself were self-perpetuated.  I didn't really get that until just a few years ago.

One day during a workout, I found that anger fueled the routine.  I was angry because I had received many compliments over the past few weeks and months about how good I looked.  

I encountered sheer amazement from others about the weight I had lost; some hadn't even recognized me.  I was so angry that others could see the changes, but I couldn't.  

I felt the changes, but couldn't honestly see them myself - so that's totally not healthy, right?  I was angry enough that I quit my workout and was about to leave my home gym.  

As I was headed to the door, I looked in the big mirror and saw a picture of Jesse Owens hanging behind me.  I have admired this picture since I was in Junior High School.  

Then I looked above the mirror and saw the stenciled script that Josh and I put above the mirror.  It says, "Believe In Yourself".  I then looked in the mirror and wondered if Jesse Owens ever doubted himself in preparation for the Olympics.  

The day before this I had just finished reading some material about Abraham Lincoln.  I learned about his personal struggles that ran concurrent with the amazing things that he accomplished as the President of the United States.  

There was a ton of things that raced through my head at that moment.  I simply couldn't leave the room yet.  I got on the inversion table, which is right by the mirror and felt compelled to look in the mirror as I was hanging upside down.

While hanging by my feet I looked in the mirror and told myself that I refused to leave that room until I could see something new and good about me. 

I found something interesting... I couldn't look myself in the eyes.  I was looking at me, but my eyes never met.  The experience of looking at my own eyes was like walking on thick ice, it was so slippery I couldn't make contact.

After quite some time of trying to make eye contact with myself, I gave up and looked elsewhere.  I eventually saw the contour of my jaw line.  

It wasn't puffy like I normally see when I look in the mirror.  I had a jaw line and it was defined!  Well that was new!  Recognizing this certainly counted as seeing something new and I promptly got off the inversion table and got the heck out of that uncomfortable situation. 

What's up with that? I was uncomfortable and it was just me!  I realized that was simply not right.  How much damage had I done?  As I was walking up stairs, I said aloud to myself, "Damn it, I'm worth more than that!"  

That announcement startled me.  It startled me that I said it, I believed it, and I was secretly hoping that Josh wasn't home and had heard me.

I contemplated that experience for several days.  I found myself compelled after each workout to get on the inversion table and commence looking into the mirror, until I could see something new and good about myself.  

I repeatedly rediscovered my jaw line and over time other features.  I discovered and rediscovered time and time again, but I couldn't make eye contact.  

How could this be?  I do my hair and make-up every day.  I am looking at myself!  Over time, I learned that I actually wasn't looking at myself, I was looking around, but not at me.  

It was nearly three months later that I was able to make eye contact for about thirty seconds.  It was then that I realized why it was so hard to do.  

I have lied to myself for so long and honestly disliked myself so much that I was afraid to make eye contact and actually see that I was the problem.  I was the liar.  

I was the one that had done so much damage, by telling myself things that simply weren't true.  It was after this experience that I committed to myself not to leave the gym until I had made eye contact with myself.  

I usually discovered or rediscovered something about myself long before I could make eye contact.  I learned that if I could just make eye contact, I could see if I had been lying to myself that day or not.  

I could fix the damage that had been done that day, by having a real heart-to-heart with myself once eye contact was made.  It is extremely difficult to lie to yourself, when you are HONESTLY seeing yourself.  

After a time I learned that my little therapy sessions were a two-part kind of deal.  There was the Physical Mirror Therapy (seeing the physical me as it is) and the Mental Mirror Therapy (seeing me for who I really am inside).  

Over time I had learned that I am no good to anyone else, until I am good and of value to myself.  

Can you make eye contact with yourself?  What do you see?  If you can and the effect is positive,  I am so proud of you!  I encourage you to see the good, the lovely, the truth again and again for all of your life.  

If you can't make eye contact, try until you can, so that you can undo the lies and breathe freely every day.  Get to know yourself, discover the beauty of who you really are.  

There's not a single soul on this earth, no matter what they have done, who doesn't deserve to see who they really are and then make the necessary changes to have their behavior match their inner beauty.  

This is one of the places where peace is found.  This is one of the places where we can find the strength and courage to make lasting changes.  I would encourage you to see and then believe.