Finding Your Inner Strength by Karen Gallagher

Karen Gallagher Real Talk Real Women
Looking back on the past thirty years, I can honestly say that I have been very blessed in my life.  As a little girl I grew up on a beautiful hobby farm, I road my own horse daily and when I was not mucking around on the farm you would find me at the local rink figure skating.  Even though I was an only child I was surrounded with a loving family and many supportive friends.  I was considered a little shy and introverted (still am a bit!). I had a big heart and I loved to help others.  Remembering those years, everything seemed so perfect to me.

Life in general seemed normal to me; I was young and excited for the future!  I went away to school, met my husband, fell in love, started my fitness career and assumed my life was going to play out precisely like a playbook…I would get married, buy a house, have a family, grow old together and live happily ever after.  After 18 years together our love bond broke and so did my heart.  What we had together would never be restored. I never once thought I would ever be sitting here today sharing my story about the ending of my marriage and loss of love.

I truly believe that in life we are meant to take certain pathways in order to learn and grow as individuals.  When I look back on my marriage and our 18-year relationship I can honestly say that I’m blessed to have experienced everything that I did, including the heartbreak.  Being in love is extremely special and it can sometimes be rare to find. I was very lucky to have found someone to share this unique bond with and to be married. As well, I was fortunate to have experienced the hardships over the later part of my marriage because I realize now how it has challenged me to learn more about myself and to grow stronger.

One of the most challenging obstacles as a trainer and motivator is the pressure to appear seamless everyday, all day and in every aspect of your life. Sometimes fitness professionals are perceived this way because people believe if we look great then we MUST also have the perfect life to go along with it.  At first, I felt embarrassed to share my story with others because I feared that people would judge and think less of me. I didn’t want to show people my vulnerable side, the side that was weak and broken.  I wanted to still be perceived as being strong both mentally and physically.  I used to tell myself, “You can fake this until it is all over and no one will ever know. You are a ROCK!” Recently, I have come to realize that I need to be real and true to myself by sharing my story.  Most importantly, I want to share with women how my most challenging life experience has empowered me and how fitness was my savior.

Finding Your Inner Strength by Karen Gallagher

I remember the day like it was yesterday, the day my relationship ended. I felt like a MAC truck hit me. I cried for what seemed like days until I virtually had no more tears left to shed.  I lost the love of my life – I was devastated. I felt a cold emptiness in my heart. There were some days when I did not even want to get out of bed, days were I could not eat or sleep. I felt lonely, unwanted and unloved, fearful, anxious, defeated and like a failure.  After two years of putting all my energy into salvaging my marriage, I finally felt like I hit rock bottom. I lost my partner in life and as well somewhere along the way I lost myself.  I realized that during this entire downward spiral I became this unrecognizable person – I lost my self-esteem, my purpose and passion for life, and the sense of who I truly was.  I just wanted the old Karen back.

Then I got angry.  I felt betrayed by my husband and by life itself.  I felt angry that I was in such a negative place and that I wasted two years of my life which I would never get back. I felt overwhelmed and exhausted from the emotional roller coaster I was on.  Behind all my anger were fears such as: “Will I be alone for the rest of my life?”  “How will I support myself?” “Am I worthy of being loved?”  I drove myself crazy with negative thoughts and energy and it was sucking the life out of me. I knew that I had to face my fears and look after myself.  I made a choice to be positive, surround myself with loving and supportive people, love and treat myself with respect, and keep healthy.

The end of a love relationship can be very painful and I can relate to so many women who have experienced it and have struggled to find themselves again.  What is important to know is that you are not alone and it is possible to find your inner strength again in order to put the relationship in the past and to move forward in life. You want to thrive during this challenging time, not just survive it.   You need to believe that you are more than enough, you are worthy and you deserve the best.  I see challenge as a gift in life, without challenge new opportunities cannot arise and therefore we are not forced to face our fears and grow as humans.  I want to share with you how I found my inner strength and how it has empowered me to create a new pathway of dreams.

Finding Your Inner Strength by Karen Gallagher

Stop Blaming And Forgive
Putting the blame on yourself and your spouse will only cause more harm and hurt.  I knew that beating myself up over what could or should have been was an endless battle.  I acknowledged and accepted what I did and what I did not do and simply learned from it and just let it go. Forgiveness is also so important in moving forward, you need to forgive yourself and your partner in order to recover. What is in the past is the past and holding onto negative feelings will only keep you in a negative place.

Become Clear On What You Want In Life – Write A Wish List
How do you envision your life? What do you truly want to experience and feel? Write a wishlist of what you want for each area of your life.  I focused on these areas: career, family, health, partner in life and friends.  For each, I listed every quality and how I wanted to feel.  When you start focusing on what you do want, the quicker you become to receiving it in your life.

Take Care Of YOU!
Focus on your body and how you want to feel.  Work on areas that you want to improve on or areas you want to maintain.  Make fitness a part of your life. What truly saved me was my passion and commitment to health and fitness.  It provided me with positive energy that empowered me to keep strong and confident.  I had a purpose to get up in the morning, a reason to keep strong and a reason to move forward in a positive direction. For once in my life fitness became a huge support to save me and not something I had to do for a sport, competition, shoot or for anyone else, it was for ME.  It was the catalyst that kept me strong physically and mentally and it has opened doors to possibilities and relationships in which I would have never encountered if I made the choice to remain down.

Live In The Moment
By living in the moment, you are not allowing yourself to stay stuck in the past and you are not just focused on the future. There are people who are so stuck in the past that they are not living up to their potential, if you do this you will never grow as a person.

As for the future, it is important to set goals which you want to create and build, but don’t plan every little detail in your life.

When you are living in the moment everything seems to all work out, as it is suppose to. You will be able to make decisions based on that present moment and not on past experiences.  You will make clearer decisions that will be the right choices for you.

Love Yourself
It is so important to continually fill yourself up with love, respect, kindness, support, happiness, self-esteem and forgiveness.  By doing this you will be your own support system. When you fill yourself up with goodness you can give and share these best qualities of yourself with others.  You will be amazed at the support you will receive in return and the richness it will bring.

Always remember, you are absolutely AMAZING! Create yourself and the life you have always dreamed of. Let your true beauty and greatness shine!

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Via Karen Gallagher

I'm the owner of Fit 4 Her, a Sports Conditioning Specialist, Nutritionist, Published Writer, Bikini Model & BioSteel Ambassador.