I was in my office on Thursday morning, no doubt working on matters of earthshattering importance, when the doorbell rang. As I was alone in the office and not expecting anyone, I opened the door somewhat curious as to who might be there.
It was Andrea. At least that’s who the svelte, attractive and vivacious young lady standing in the doorway told me who she was.
I must’ve given her a strange look of non-recognition after she had said hello because she immediately took a step backwards and said, “Hi Rael, it’s me Andrea. Remember me? I attended one of your workshops several years ago.”
Truth be told I had only a vague memory of Andrea and certainly no memory of a person who looked like this. The Andrea I remembered was enormously overweight – a reluctant prisoner at the workshop – who participated as little as possible and seemed to be perpetually angry at the whole world.
I love interacting with people who’ve undergone enormous transformation and invited her in for coffee, excited to hear her story.
And what a story it was.
Andrea told me that just a few weeks after the workshop she had begun experiencing bouts of dizziness and sporadic pains in her chest. She had gone to see her family doc, been thoroughly tested, and found to be in good health.
She left the doctor’s office with the usual blah blah lecture about changing her life-style ringing in her ears.
Andrea shared her story with several of her closest friends and had asked each for their opinion as to what they thought may have been the cause of her recent “episodes.”
Most of her friends followed the same path in their responses. They all shared with Andrea their understanding and empathy for how challenging and difficult her life was.
Each friend successively offered sympathy, friendship, comfort and support, vowing to be there for her whenever needed.
Except for one friend. Her friend Belinda offered none of the support of her other friends.
In telling me the story at this point Andrea looked at me and said, “What Belinda said to me changed me forever and is the reason why I look and feel as good as I do today.
She said Belinda reached into her purse, pulled out a small digital recorder, placed it on her coffee-table, pressed the record button and said “I want to tell you something. And I’m going to record it and I want you to keep this recorder and listen to this recording as often as you need.”
Andrea paused, pulled a small recorder from her pocket and put it on the table between us.
She pushed the “Play” button and a female voice began.
“I couldn’t love you more if you were my own sister. And because I value you as a friend and I love you as much as I do I’m going to tell you the truth, as I see it, the absolute truth and only the truth.
“So here goes.
“You’ve been having these episodes because you lead a crappy, and unhealthy lifestyle. You are fat and out of shape and every day the way you continue to live the way you do, you become less and less healthy.
“Here’s what you need to understand:
“You’re fat because you choose to be fat.
“You’re out of shape because you choose to be out of shape.
“You’re a victim because you refuse to accept responsibility for your life and keep blaming everyone and everything you can think of.
“You’re unhappy because you have chosen to be unhappy and, to be honest, you’re no fun to be around.
“You’re depressed and you pull everyone around you down with you.
“You’re always complaining about how difficult everything is and I’m tired of listening to your whining.
“You’re weak. You start things and give up easily. As soon as things get tough, like a diet or having to work out, your first reaction is to quit.
“You have no self-respect. You have no willpower. The only power you have is the power to give up.
“We have all played a role in this by listening to you, comforting you and generally enabling you and I for one am not going to be around you anymore until you grow up, own your own reality, and do something about it
“It is time for you to grow up and stop being like this. It’s time for you to do what you need to do, to put up with the pain of getting up early and doing something. It’s time for pushing yourself instead of indulging yourself.
“It’s time to quit whining, suck it up and stop being a princess.
“If you don’t like what I’m saying, too bad. I have failed you as a friend because we should have had this conversation a long time ago. If I didn’t care about you, and love you, I wouldn’t be saying this now.
“I would be like all the others – putting my arms around you instead of kicking your ass.
“What are you going to do? Spend the rest of your life feeling sorry for yourself and stuffing junk down your throat until you get so big you explode?
“Continue to live your life in pain? Depressed, with no energy, where your whole body hurts after walking up a small flight of stairs and it takes you 5 minutes to get your breath back? Is that what you want?
“Because I love you and care about you here’s what I’m going to do.I’m going to back away from you and stay away from you because it is too painful for me to watch someone I care about destroy themselves needlessly, act like a helpless victim and feel sorry for themselves when they could instead, grow up, toughen up, suck it up and turn their life around.
“If you ever decide to do what I’m saying, I will help in any way I can, but I can’t be your friend if you don’t do this, because friends care about friends and I care about you and, as I said, I am not going to stand by and watch you destroy yourself simply because you’re lazy and weak.”
At this point Andrea touched the Stop button on the recorder, sat back and smiled.
She said Belinda had stood up, hugged her and walked out of her apartment.
Andrea was shocked. She could not believe a friend would talk to her like this.
She was furious.
She vowed never to speak to Belinda again.
And then a strange thing happened.
She found herself listening to the recording again and again.
And slowly her anger began to wane and was replaced by a grudging realization that Belinda was right.
She had done this to herself.
She could fix it.
She could change.
And so she did.
And it was hard.
And every time she wanted to quit and was tempted to slip into the fridge for something more comfortable, she pulled out the digital recorder and listened to Belinda’s voice.
And renewed her efforts.
Over 30 months, Andrea took 227 pounds off her frame. More importantly every part of her life improved.
Her energy level rose, she woke up each morning feeling refreshed, the aches and pains became distant memories, and her outlook on life changed to the point that she found herself to be constantly upbeat and cheerful.
Along with the cheerfulness came new people and new friends and she quickly learned that it’s much easier to attract and retain friends when you put out attractive energy.
I asked her why she had dropped by for a visit considering we had only met briefly a few years ago and she told me that during the workshop I had said many of the same things Belinda said and that she had written me off as an idiot.
She had recently started reading my blogs and wanted to drop by to let me know that she now spends a lot of time talking with, and listening to idiots like me and Belinda.
I have been called an idiot more times than I can remember but never before has that label made me feel so good.
Till we read again.
P.S.My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
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