Guest blog by Ann Papayoti, PCC, ELI-MP
“I have what?!?” Okay. Breathe. So, you got a diagnosis. For some, it is relief knowing there is an explanation for all the confusing and insidious things happening to you. For others, it is a frightening term sending you down the black hole of uncertainty and grief. Regardless, it sucks. You ask all the why me questions. You get mad at the people who created trauma in your childhood and left stress in your body, leaving your cells to cannibalize themselves. You’re exhausted, drained, and stuck in an infinite loop of being victimized by or in conflict with your disease. It controls your life in your mind and mirror. You don’t have the energy to do anything about it. Or, do you? Yes, you do!
Everything is energy, even your attitude. And when you can’t control anything else, you can choose to control it — your attitude. Well, claiming the power of that choice can at least be learned! If you acknowledge that your thoughts create your feelings, and your emotions drive your actions, you cannot deny the importance of creating self-awareness around your thought life. And, if you want to experience life differently, going beyond awareness to taking responsibility for shifting from negative, powerless mental states to positive, powerful ways of thinking, feeling, and ultimately being, this is your first goal and step towards owning your life.
Life can be challenging, and we all struggle at times. And when there is a complex medical diagnosis, we can feel we have no control whatsoever. It is easy to lose ourselves in feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, defeat, frustration, overwhelm, and anger. These are normal human emotions to be experienced, acknowledged, validated, and… released. The only unhealthy thing about them is to let them take over.
And that requires choosing to take responsibility for how you experience your life. You have the life-changing, energetic power of choice — it is in you and up to you.
When you choose responsibility, you are simply saying to your challenge that you will not give your energy and power away to it. That you will not just be along for the ride and give it the driver’s seat. You will not acquiesce into the back seat and remain quiet, hidden, unseen, and unheard. Nor will you sit in the front passenger seat with no control, only complaining about the direction it is taking you. You will instead take the proverbial wheel and learn how to drive. And, just like learning how to drive a car, you must acquire knowledge and learn from someone with experience. You will read, observe, and take notes. You will study and practice, and it may take a while until you are comfortable. But eventually, you will find yourself driving more extended and more complicated routes and perhaps, even singing along to the radio while doing so.
Like learning to drive a car, in the beginning, someone is sitting beside you, telling you to speed up or slow down, use the turn signal, check the rearview mirror, turn with caution, two hands on the steering wheel, etc. It’s not until you are alone in the car and you feel for yourself the need to slow down, signal, and keep two hands on the wheel to stay steady and balanced, that you actually become a responsible driver — in all areas of life.
The women who have traveled the road ahead of you have provided you with a roadmap for success — education for your mind, body, and soul. They have shown you how to eat, exercise, and educate yourself to have the best journey possible. Now, it is up to you. Will you follow? Will you commit to the daily practices and ensure you have the glove box filled with the right tools? Will you allow them to coach and mentor you?
PCOS Divas, as you take the wheel, you must be fully confident in who you are, what your vision is, and how you will be true to yourself in every situation and circumstance that you encounter along the route. Your daily habits of self-care, self-love, self-talk, self-acceptance, and self-worth are what will support your self-confidence behind the wheel. The potholes to watch out for on the road are apathy, negative thinking, a victimized mentality, indecision, codependency, an unsupportive environment, and a pessimistic circle of influence.
My clients often tell me many of their anxieties come from the uncertainties of what’s next and from comparing themselves to others with the pressures of social media. Let me say this to you — regarding uncertainty, first of all, life is about the journey, not the destination. It is essential to have a vision with dreams and goals supported by plans. Responsibility involves flexibility as detours and roadblocks pop up. PCOS is NOT the only struggle you will have in life. A good driver can drive any road! And because of her skills, she will navigate every twist and turn. And, it is okay to not have all the answers now or know in advance where the detours will be. Allow life to unfold, and enjoy the process. Worry is wasted energy and changes nothing.
As for social media and comparison, the only person you should ever compete with is yourself — to be your best, to have a spirit of excellence in everything you do. Elite athletes embrace this philosophy. You are each uniquely and wonderfully made. Be yourself, and you will be noticed by who matters most. The rest is a distraction from who you are… and distracted driving is the number one killer of fulfilling your life purpose.
Knowing yourself, accepting yourself, showing up always authentic to yourself is the greatest accomplishment and the one that will take you where you want to go. It is your GPS, road map, compass, and true North Star.
And if ever you make a wrong turn, feel lost or in doubt, pause, pull off the road, check-in with yourself, and spend a moment there. Look in your rearview mirror to remind yourself where you’ve been, then focus on the options ahead of you, match them with your intentions, trust your intuition, and choose the direction that honors you.
Ann Papayoti, PCC, is an author, speaker, and coach helping people untangle from their past, heal their hearts, and unlock their best life. She is the co-author of the intimate self-help book, The Gift of Shift.