I put my daughter on a plane to see her grandma this past week and it stirred an emotional response I wasn’t quite expecting. My daughter is ten years old going on thirty so I was confident she was ready to take the short 45 minute plane ride on her own. She was also certain about going and clearly let me know with an “Oh geez mom! Of course I won’t be scared to fly alone!” As I handed her over to the gate agent, a lump settled into my throat and I couldn’t hold back the tears. Sitting there waiting for her to fly off into the air without me, I realized I was experiencing a human emotion I hadn’t experienced yet in my nearly 45 years of life; one of raw sadness from sending my child out into the world alone. The number of times I will do this in the future is quite overwhelming.
Safety and security are of highest value to me. I know this because I have spent many years deeply exploring what I truly value in life and why. It all makes perfect sense. I did not feel safe as a child; I felt loved but I didn’t feel safe and there is a big difference. My parents did not get along well and their incessant arguing made me feel unsafe. After my father passed away, I spent a lot of years with arguably too much independence and time alone which at that age also made me lack a sense of security. As I grew into an adult, I used these experiences to build safety and security within myself and for that, I am eternally grateful. I used these early life circumstances as the foundation for building myself into a strong and capable woman. Not bitter, not regretful for my lack of security but thankful!
To determine what we value we have to explore ourselves much deeper than just the first things or people who come to mind. When asked, most people say they value their spouse, their children, their home, their health, etc. While all of those things are important to us, our values go much deeper. In the words of Dr. John Demartini…
“Your values arise from and are therefore determined by your conscious or unconscious voids (what you perceive as most missing).”
In my instance, you can clearly see how my lack of sense of safety and security quickly rose to the top of my value list. Looking back at my experience of putting my daughter on the airplane, I didn’t have the emotional reaction simply because I love her. I had the reaction because I value safety and security and putting her out into the world challenges my ability to control her safety and security. Recognizing this is critical to my own life fulfillment. Without my awareness around this need for security, it would be easy for me to overly shelter and disrupt her life experience because of what I was lacking in my life.
Knowing that security and safety are of highest value to me, it is easy to understand why I am in the fitness and self-empowerment business. There is no better way for me to create a sense of safety than to have a strong, capable body. My physical strength enhances my mental strength and has allowed others to find safety in me as well. It only took me nearly forty years to figure this out!
“When we are disconnected from our values, we seek refuge and fulfillment in unhealthy ways.”
I spent many years of my life unaware of what I value. I sought safety in others; frustrated by my husband’s inability to make me feel safe. Trying to control everything and everyone around me. Being unreasonable in my expectations of others. Trying to find my significance through an unfulfilling career. Escaping my lack of security through alcohol.
It wasn’t until I had to completely surrender to my lack of control with the death of my daughter, Kathryn that I truly started to explore what really matters. As I started to create my own sense of safety by empowering my body and mind, I finally started living to my highest values. I connected so much to them that I was pulled across the world to parent a child who had no security at all and I now wake up each day to help others find their significance through their physical bodies.
“When we live to our highest values we are inspired and have the ability to inspire others.”
We have a hierarchy of values. When we are living to our highest values, we will have tremendous discipline and order surrounding it. When we are living to lower order values, we require constant external motivation. Look at your own life. Where you do have the most order? Where do you have the least order and discipline? This is an ideal place to start evaluating and determining what you value most.
When it comes to creating health and fitness for ourselves, we have to understand what we value most. If physical appearance or having optimal energy was enough, nobody would be overly-fat. All of the “30 minute abs”, group fitness classes, private coaches and reading of books will not help you reach an optimal state of fitness until you figure out why the condition of your body allows you to live to what matters most to you.
We cannot find our own significance through others, we have to find it within ourselves. Overeating, over drinking, living your life through the life of your children, living your life through the life of your spouse; all of these behaviors arise when we aren’t living to our highest values. We seek outside what can only be found within.
What do you value? Why is the condition of your body critical to your ability to live to your highest values? If you want to create a life of fulfillment, you have to start there.