When I was a runner. And other things that never happened.

I have this image in my head.

I wake early, just as the sun is peeking over the mountains. I silently slip into workout clothes -- shorts, a tank-top. I lace up my running shoes. I step outside, and the brisk air chills my skin as I begin to jog in place. The sidewalks are empty, the roads are clear. And I run. My legs take me effortlessly wherever I want to go. I am a runner.

Problem is, in my mind, my body isn't mine. In my mind, gone are the war-torn feet, the sore knees, the strained neck and shoulders. Gone are the curvaceous hips, the thighs that jiggle with each step, the doubled-down sports bra toting chest. Where my body once was, I am suddenly a statuesque Amazon, solid and slim. It's not my body. Instead, it's what I always thought my body should be. Somehow, in that body, I am limitless.

For many years, I felt boxed in by my body, somehow confined by my physical form. Whenever I felt particularly self-loathing, depressed or overwhelmed with what I thought was an unlived life, I would invoke that Amazonian image. I would tell myself that I would workout a little harder, a little smarter, eat better, or less, or strategically, and, somehow, I would finally feel free. 

In those moments, I firmly believed that it was my body that was holding me back. Mmm... ok, some days, I still do.

But, if I'm honest with myself, I know that it's not my body that holds me back. I know that I am not hemmed in, constricted or limited by my figure or the way that my clothes fit. I know that I am not defined by the fact that, in reality, I am not a runner. Hell, I hate running. It's not my weight, my height or my dress size that stops me from achieving my dreams and living a truly phenomenal life.

It's me. And the falsehood that I choose to believe.

I am confined by a picture in my head of what I should be. Limited by my perception of beauty, strength, and what it looks like to be free, I should all over myself. It's a mess.

To believe that I am somehow less or limited, just by virtue of being me, is the most tragic, truly limiting lie that I could ever swallow. Rather, it is in authenticity that freedom is discovered.

That life that I pictured for myself, that image in my head, is not only an illusion and a trap -- it's also not a life that I want to live. If I strip away the should, if I unwrap myself from its tangled vines, I get a glimpse of what my life could look like. And it's pretty freaking magnificent.

Rather than a runner, pounding the pavement with each early-morning run (have I mentioned that I hate running?), I find clarity in daily long walks, energy on the tennis court and flexibility in my yoga practice. Rather than getting caught on the sharp edges of my "flaws," I let my strong core -- built from years of side-splitting laughter and heavy lifting -- reveal solid strength and grounded centeredness. When I free myself from the layers of self-loathing bullshit and life-limiting lies, I find that I don't need anything else to build the life that I deeply desire. I have it all. Clarity and flexibility, strength and centeredness, laughter and energy. 

And those ingredients create a pretty deliciously magnificent life.

Have you ever felt like your body holds you back? Like your lifestyle, your body or your past keep you from creating a career that you're passionate about, meeting Mr. or Ms. Right, living a life that you absolutely love?

Grab a trusted love one, a good therapist or a quality coach, and take some time to peel away the layers of should and reveal what could. What instilled beliefs have kept you confined, have stopped you from living a life of freedom? Take them apart, thank them for their input and then face firmly forward. What qualities, strengths or resources do you already have that can become the building blocks of a truly magnificent life? Write them down. If you need a little help, ask your most trusted loved ones for their input. This is your glory board -- a testament to your most phenomenal self. Post it somewhere that you will see it -- and share in the comments below!

Want more? Check out the Freedom Sessions and ride the freedom train all the way to a life that you love.