Greetings from an awesome summer time! This is my first summer living in my new house on the lake, and I’ve been relishing afternoons on the water and time in the sun (with sunscreen, of course!).
It’s from a place of pride and self-love that I can recall – many years and 130 pounds ago – a time in my life when summer was a dreaded season of covering up, both physically and emotionally. Part of me losing the weight and moving on to the next chapter of my life meant revisiting the past and unraveling any haunting incidents that were keeping me stuck.
Unraveling a haunting is when you dissect the event, speak with others involved, find out the truth about what really happened, and ultimately learn what you are meant to learn from the incident.
I’d like to share my experience of unraveling one of my hauntings, how it taught me about one of my major patterns, and helped me understand how I could have let myself gain so much weight. It was nearly summertime then as well, and I was a freshman at an all-girls Catholic high school in Maryland.
I was a great soccer player when I was a teenager, and my high school team was one of the best in the DC Metro area. I was one of four star freshman soccer players and we were all best friends, too. We were called the “Awesome Foursome” and we did everything together; we hung out in the hallway together, ate lunch together and obviously, played soccer together. Our fall season, we won the Catholic League Championship and the four of us made the All-Star team. We were all really tight that fall, but in the spring, everything changed.
I don’t remember the actual moment it happened, but one day, three of us stopped talking to our fourth friend, Jill, for no reason. It happened overnight. One of the other girls started blowing her off and suggested we should, too. I remember thinking … Why am I being mean to her? I like her. We’re friends. But instead of saying anything, I stayed quiet and went along with it; I too began ignoring Jill. We cut her out of our circle like a tumor. After some time, she got the picture and stopped sitting with us at lunch. I would see her in the hallway or in the parking lot. We’d sometimes nod at each other, but that was it. Each time I saw her, my heart would drop. The truth was I didn’t know why I was treating her that way, but I continued.
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One day in the late spring, near the end of the school year, I was in one of our study centers, working on my homework. It was packed and Jill walked in. One of the only empty seats was next to me. She sat down. We nodded at each other and then started doing our homework, not speaking.
After a while, she looked at me and asked, “Katie, should I leave the school? What should I do?” And I knew in that moment she was asking me if I was going to be her friend again or not. I remember looking at her and wanting to apologize, to tell her to stay and not to worry, and that everything was going to be ok. But I didn’t.
Instead, I looked at her and shrugged. “Do what you want.” Then I looked back down and pretended to do my homework. She responded softly, “Okay.” And that was it.
That was one of the last times we spoke to each other. When school ended a month or so later, she transferred to another school and started a new life at a new high school. For years after, I felt sick to my stomach when I thought about that moment with Jill in the study center. I felt so bad about how I had treated her. When my coach tasked me with clearing up this haunting moment by finding Jill and apologizing, I wondered if Jill would even talk to me.
By this time, I had already lost 130 pounds and was doing well in my life. I had a hard time finding her. She had gotten married and moved out of Maryland. I finally found her younger sister, who gave me Jill’s email, after Jill said it was okay to contact her. I wrote Jill a brief message telling her how I had hit rock bottom in my life, had lost a lot of weight, cleaned up my life, and I wanted to talk to her. She emailed me back right away saying she was glad I was doing better in my life and was curious why I wanted to speak with her.
Although my coach probably would have told me to call, I chose to handle this one by email. And my next email dumped the whole story. I apologized to her about everything. I told her I didn’t know why we were mean to her and that she hadn’t done anything wrong. I also told her that I had really liked her and considered her one of my best friends and felt horrible about the way I had treated her. I said I wished I had spoken up back then and said something to my other friends. I also shared with her my thoughts about the study center incident – how I just wanted to apologize and tell her it was going to be okay and that we would friends again. After I said everything, I told her that she had been a good friend to me. I asked her if she could ever forgive me and said I was so sorry.
The email I got back from her was amazing. She thanked me numerous times for contacting her and apologizing. She had wondered her whole life what happened among the four of us. She thought she had done something wrong and she didn’t understand why we suddenly stopped talking to her. She shared that it had been a really difficult time for her, but after she left our school and went to her new school, she found great friends and had a great high school experience. She thanked me for being so honest and real. Lastly, she told me that she had considered me a good friend, too.
Wow. I felt so much lighter! No longer did I feel such guilt when I thought of that moment with Jill. She had forgiven me – and now, I could forgive myself.
Now, that story is a doozy by itself but it wasn’t an isolated incident; it fit my pattern of haunting incidents. After cleaning up with Jill, I really looked at that haunting and broke it down.
There it was again, my biggest life lesson. I had been afraid to speak up, despite knowing I did not agree with what was happening.
I also realized that my fear of speaking went deeper than just not saying my feelings. Not only did I withhold my true feelings, but I also trained myself to believe that how I felt and what I had to say didn’t matter to anyone, including me. This is the theme of nearly all my hauntings. Other self-destructive behaviors, including partying too much and putting on weight, fit this pattern too.
How do you put on 100 pounds without really noticing it? Finally, I understood the evolution of how I had done it. I slowly disconnected and lost my self-respect; I decided that my choices didn’t matter, and that I wasn’t important enough to take care of what I needed and wanted.
Through my work with Handel Group®, I was able to wake up and see my life, who and how I was being, and tell the truth about it all. Cleaning up and reconnecting with Jill was such a healing experience because it allowed me to let go of that moment in my life, to become proud of who I am now, and forgive who I was back then.
With each haunting I unraveled, another piece of emotional baggage was lifted. My heart and spirit were lighter now too, not just my body.
What do you have weighing on your heart? Is there someone you should apologize to from your past? Does it haunt you? Find them. Go speak with them. If you need help doing it, ask a coach or good friend. You have nothing to lose except heavy burdens. I let mine go – all 130 pounds of them – and you can too.
I know from personal experience that losing weight involves much more than counting calories. For most of us, it involves an honest analysis of what’s in our hearts, and a deep and sometimes scary dive into the past to resolve the truly heavy things we want to let go of. Our flagship course Design Your Life Weekend will take you through this process and guide you in the development of real Personal Integrity® when it comes to resolving your fears, refocusing your actions on your dreams, and designing a life that makes you incredibly proud.
Have a great summer!