BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

May 23, 2018

 

Exercise is good for me.  Exercise is good for me.  Exercise is good for me.

 

I keep reminding myself that exercise is good for me. 

 

It used to be more fun.  I played tennis. Discoed the night away.  Competed in ballroom and Latin dancing.

 

Then life has a way of happening. Due to various injuries, I had to adjust my exercise routine.  Now its Pilates, the stationary bike; and I’ve discovered The Body Blade.

 

 

This took a bit of coordination; but it works.  After my first time using it, the only thing that didn’t hurt were my eyelashes.

 

One exercise that is fun is laughing.  I discovered that laughing for 15 minutes a day can burn somewhere between 10 and 40 calories a day.*

 

 

This makes me so happy because infectious laughter is one of the special skills listed on my acting resume.  Who knew?

 

MENTAL GYMNASTICS

 

There is one exercise that ain’t so hot; and it certainly isn’t good for you.

 

I call it mental gymnastics.  This is when we let our minds take over; and we go into a downward spiral.

 

 

Growing up in an Italian-American, Catholic family in Brooklyn, NY was fertile ground for negative thinking.  Then, add to that the infamous Catholic “guilt” thing.  I was clueless that there was a positive way to think.

 

I developed another wonderful personality trait in my formative years – an intense work ethic. 

 

I had to deal with the three Italian Mamas in one house – my mother, my aunt and my grandmother. There was nothing but cooking and cleaning. It was always - Work. Work. Work. They were like hawks.  I couldn’t get away with anything.

 

At the age of six, it was time for me to learn to do chores.  The first chore was making my bed.  It had to be perfect.  Army style.  Sheets tucked so tight without a wrinkle to be found.

 

 

That was a tall order for a six-year old. 

 

Every morning it was – make your bed.  Do it again!

 

It seemed so unfair since I didn’t even mess my bed up too much at night.  I would lift the center of my covers and slip into bed.  I slept like a mummy, so I wouldn’t have to make my bed in the morning.  Yeah right!

 

As I grew up, I worked hard; but I felt everything needed to be perfect.  That’s an unachievable goal.  Even though when I made mistakes my dad would always say, “that’s why they make erasers on pencils”, it didn’t resonate.

 

Is it any wonder I felt insecure?

 

 

It’s a vicious cycle.  I’m not smart enough.  I’m not pretty enough. I’m not skinny enough and so on and so on…

 

I spent too many years looking at myself through a broken lens.  I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw.  I wasted many years comparing myself to others and burying me.

 

When I look back on my life, I’m amazed at how successful I was in the corporate world.  I climbed the corporate ladder; and in my last position, I was a Director of Marketing and ran a $300 million business.

 

There were hiccups along the way including layoffs.  At those times, I felt like such a failure and had to battle back to regain my self-confidence. 

 

Yet, I think that every time I fought to come back, a piece of the person I was trying to be died.  I look at that as a good thing because it led me down the path to discover who I really am.

 

OVERCOMING MENTAL GYMNASTICS

 

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that being positive about life and myself is a daily exercise.   It takes work; but like anything else, the more you do it the easier it gets.

 

When I started to realize I needed to change how I spoke about my life and about myself, I literally would have to bite my tongue to stop the negative words from coming out of my mouth.

 

Now, when I start to spiral downward, I’m able to stop myself more quickly.  I recognize the signs.  I’ve come too far to fall into a pity party and stay there.

 

I’ve learned to use several ways to turn things to turn that downward spiral around.

 

First and foremost is prayer.  I start speaking what God says about me, such as, “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for well-being, and not for calamity, in order to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

 

There are times I will drive out to Malibu. I have my music on, my sunroof open and allow myself to just take in the beauty of my surroundings and reflect on how blessed I am.

 

 

There’s always physical exercise.

 

Then, there’s doing what comes naturally – laughter.  Laughter truly is the best medicine.

 

Or, when all else fails, I speak out one of my favorite lines from the movie, Moonstruck – SNAP OUT OF IT!

 

 

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

 

It has taken a lifetime for me to come to that place where I like myself.  I even enjoy my own company.

 

I can, now, look in the mirror and I like what I see.  I’ve come into my own. 

 

I don’t have to be perfect.  I don’t have to stress over what others think I should be.  I don’t have to compare myself to anyone else. 

 

I just need to be me!  What freedom!

 

I still have that work ethic; but what I can do now is laugh at myself when things aren’t quite perfect.

 

Throughout all of life’s lessons, I think the greatest one I received is that it’s possible to…

 

 

Believing in myself has enabled me to take the steps of faith to go after my dreams. 

 

You can too, because…it’s never too late to go after your dreams!

 

 

 

 

                                                                Claudia DiMartino

 

 

 

 

 

*Source:  www.science.howstuffworks.com/happiness/exercise/endorphins

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Claudia DiMartino is a successful business woman turned actress and playwright. She took a risk and left corporate America.  She now shares her life's journey which helped her realize - it's never too late to go after your dreams.

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