The burdens we carry

When I read the book "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed and came upon the following statement, my mind was just blown."I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And most surprising of all, that I could carry it. That I could bear the unbearable." This statement perfectly describes many people in my almost 15 years of counseling experience. People who have come from the most dire circumstances. The least likely of people. The people who had so much taken from them People who self-destruct. As I sat and discussed the troubles of today's youth with my first Platoon Leader, whom I fondly call my "Army Daddy," this topic came up. So many young people today have never struggled. There is so much instant gratification in today's society. Today's 20-somethings didn't experience a world without the internet and a smart phone at their fingertips!!!! The CSM and I talked about the "hard knocks" we went through that made us who we are. And I emphatically told him that I feel that the mentorship, and the very stern talking to along with the appropriate punishment to go with it, that I received from my various leaders in the military developed me so much as a person and made me who I am today. The high school and college kids don't have that now! Sure they may have an athletic coach that may have some positive influence on them, or a church leader, but not the HARD KNOCKS! Not the drill sergeant kind of developing that you get by being in the military. The hours of scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush. The first time you fail your PT test and disappoint yourself and your Platoon Sergeant. The endless freezing rain in the field when everything you have is soaked through and you can't stop shivering. Those effing ruck marches! The struggling to stay awake after days and days of less than 5 hours of sleep. Low crawling on your belly for an hour picking up tiny pieces of paper in a huge parade field while it's about 108 degrees with the heat index. Getting your ass chewed out by an O6 for the first time as a butter bar. I can go on and on with each hard moment experienced, yet each one scarred then built up new flesh, new character. I had so many officers and NCOs who pushed me harder, corrected me, praised me, encouraged me and helped build my layers of character in those very formative late teens and early 20s. I had many personal and professional challenges along the way. Ones that could have broken me, or sent me spiraling down the wrong. But those qualities that had been developed by all of those challenges and lessons learned helped keep me on the path. I am now an avid hiker. One of the things that I love the most about hiking is the fact that I can carry everything I need to survive on my back. I have the confidence, the training, the experience and the strength to step into the woods alone and to survive and thrive. I have everything I need within myself to do this very hard thing and do it well. To translate this ability to weight loss and fitness...come on, it's a no brainer! Anyone who has ever experienced any amount of difficulty in their life can win this fight! Yes. Losing weight is hard. But guess what? Most likely you have already gone through something harder, and come out the better for it. You already carried a mountain. How could you blink now at carrying this pebble? Give yourself some damn credit! You have already proven at some time in your life that you can do some pretty damn hard things. You got this! Believe in yourself! As Cheryl Strayed said, "you can bear the unbearable." 


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