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  • Writer's pictureRachel Bennett

I learned it from Queer Eye….

Well, let me clarify. If you're not familiar with what Queer Eye is, first I forgive you. Second, it's four gay men and one non-binary that have a series on Netflix and specialize in lifestyle makeovers. Season 6 came out this last week and of course, as any true fan does, I grabbed tissues and carved out some "self-care" time to watch. Here is what I learned.

In episode 8 they are working with a social activist that is burning the candle at both ends and not taking the time for himself and his family. I won't go into all the details, but it really hit home. And Jonathan (my fave… don't tell the other fab five) said this "I think at some point you have to turn off. Because if you expect yourself to cure the systemic issues you're going to be in a world of hurt. And you're not going to be able to do what you're so passionate about because you're going to burn out. If you don't take time to take care of yourself you really can't show up for other people as much as you want to." When I heard that I had to pause the show and just sit with that. To be honest I had to let myself cry a little because I felt that he was speaking right into me. It took me back to when I made the decision to decide to health coach. I was in my best shape. I was the happiest and most at peace with myself that I'd ever been and all I wanted was to help at least one other person realize that they had the potential to feel that same feeling. To be in that best place. To know that they had it within themselves to achieve whatever goal they set in front of them. I wanted to be part of a health revolution. I know that sounds dramatic, but y'all it's the God's honest truth. My transformation made such an impact on my mental and physical health that all I wanted was to share that with other people. And so that's what I decided to do. And I did it. I was helping so so so many people. It felt good to see other people succeed. It felt good to cheer people on. It felt good to be needed as a coach and accountability partner.

And there was a point where helping those people became more important than taking care of myself.

I was waking up and instead of working on my personal development, I was tapping into my to-do list. And then instead of getting to my workout I was diving into my activities to try and help more people. And then one day I realized that I'd traded in my morning routine that served my health for a morning routine that served other people. And that's what got me into the place that I was in years ago where I put myself last and saw a decline in my health, both mentally and physically. The funny thing is, it didn't happen overnight. It happened little by little. And I would justify it all! Because it felt important.

It's not like I didn't know this was happening and then last week it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew it was happening. I'd actually talked about it with my own health coach and sister. Back in December I'd decided to take a step back and refocus on my priorities. I had to breathe first. I had to think about things for a while. I had to sit with them and be patient with myself. And as I was taking some time for myself and enjoying a little Netflix and chill (while I was working btw) this sealed the deal. It was time to start putting the most important things first. And then I had to ask for help.

Why is that one thing so hard for us to do? The asking for help thing? Seriously???? Even as kids we will scale kitchen counters to get what we want instead of asking for help. It's like if we can't do it ourselves then we haven't earned the thing it is that we want. That's absolute crap. It's ok to ask for help. We need it. We can't go it alone. So I pushed my ego aside and asked for some accountability because I knew that I needed someone or a group of someones to lean on.

I had a conversation with a friend just yesterday about accountability and more specifically the difference between personal accountability and accountability to someone else. Because there is a big difference in knowing what to do and doing it. Sometimes we can't just lean on our own personal accountability to build the discipline to keep our priorities in line. We need something stronger. Public accountability can build that strength. The strength of our mindset is like a rope. Setting an intention and slow forward movement is like a single cord rope or a string. As you build healthy habits and take personal responsibility you build more cords or more strings and it becomes stronger. With more consistency you bring in more cords. When you bring in accountability in a partner you almost double the strength of what you've already built. Which is amazing! And if you go even further and proclaim in front of a larger community then that strength can build exponentially. That brings me into how I'm putting all of this pontificating into action.

So as I started looking for help, I reached out to some friends via social media and asked for accountability. I started a women's only group to just keep me accountable to what I needed to focus on every day. And that was simply putting my priorities first at the start of every day. Wanna know what I figured out? I wasn't alone. Other ladies needed to do the same thing. So now we're doing it together. And we're stronger for it. And we're encouraging one another. It's been so helpful. And it's been great.

I don't know how long we'll have this group for accountability, but I'm loving it while I have it. Because it's showing me that putting myself first isn't selfish. It's actually what's needed for me to help other people. And through this process I have learned that I have to look at what is missing when I begin to struggle. And then adjust. Because what I've found is that my energy flows where energy goes. Meaning that where I put my focus is where my energy starts to flow into. If I start to focus more on one thing instead of a priority then it will start to take up all of the energy that really should be flooding into my priorities. At some point my priorities will become anemic and they will struggle. And that's no good. So instead I'm flowing that energy back into me. And that makes me a sustainable resource for support and inspire others to do the same for themselves.

Be grateful. Be aware. Be loved.

And thank you Queer Eye (and Jonathan Van Ness)

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