During a meeting with my mentor Dr. Joseph Michael Levry, founder of Naam Yoga, he said to me: “When people talk about you negatively, it is a sign that you have made it. People only talk about people negatively when they feel threatened by them. And when someone throws a stone at you, turn it into a precious stone.”
Back then I laughed and asked, “What are you preparing me for?”
Last week Natalia Petrzela – historian, writer, and professor at The New School in New York City, and one of my premiere intenSati leaders – published the article, “The Making of the Celebrity Trainer” as part of her monthly fitness history column on Well+Good. After reading this great piece, I scrolled to the end of the page and read the comments. This one caught my attention, for obvious reasons:
I sense some snarky jealousy against very successful trainers who are loved and respected by their students and followers. My guess is that your own lack of success in the fitness industry – both in results for yourself and for others – make you really mad. Writing unfounded remarks is your way of venting. So much for yelling BS affirmations of peace and love – judging from your venom they are blatant lies. If you are such an impartial “researcher” why don’t you also take Ms. Moreno down? Not only does her weight keep creeping up in a body far from feminine or desirable, but also her well known plastic surgeries aren’t necessarily a testament of how good her fitness method is. She isn’t a happy person either but just another envious woman who cannot tolerate other people’s beauty, accomplishment or success. – Eleanor
My immediate reaction was shock. How could someone be so mean and for what purpose? Then the lesson came. I realized that it actually did not affect me. I read that comment in class all week to my students – and it felt good. The rock was turned into a precious stone. Not only did it turn into a good teaching moment, it relieved me from the fear of getting negative feedback.
Nearly two years ago I invested $20,000 in creating an intenSati downloadable workout. I never released it because I didn’t think I looked good enough. And that is not what I told my friends, students or family members – I wasn’t even honest about it to myself. I was flooded with fear of releasing something to the public that would possibly have people post negative things about me or how I look. I wasn’t worried about the content, but that I couldn’t handle it if people started commenting negatively about how I looked. After reading this post, not only did I realize that I can handle it, but that it is what I think about myself and the choices I make in my life that really matter.
Yes, I got my boobs done. Yes, I had excess skin taken off my belly that was a result of losing 60lbs, yo-yo dieting, and having a baby. That was never a secret. I am ok with that and I stand by my decisions. Six-pack abs or a cellulite-free bikini body are no longer my goals in life. There is a price to pay for me to be thinner and I am not willing to pay that price. I don’t want to spend more time at the gym and I don’t want to eliminate all sugar from my diet. I am happy with the choices I made, and that to me is true success.
So in honor of this great lesson, I will be releasing the video I was too afraid to show a while ago. Thank you, Eleanor, for showing me that I am free. What you say about me makes no difference. You are not the first, nor the last one to comment negatively about me and no longer will the fear of not being liked by others stop me from conducting my life’s work.
If you have been afraid of getting negative comments, not being liked, being made fun of, or not being perfect, I encourage you to find the strength to simply be yourself, do what you love, and love what you do. Not for applause, but for a cause. The world needs us to step up, show up, and be seen exactly as we are. Together we can change the world.
I love you just the way you are!
This article originally appeared on SatiLife.com, Patricia’s online HQ.