Friday, August 21, 2009
A fellow SparkPeople member posted this quote today:
A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds -- Francis Bacon.
When I read it I was convinced I must have been wise for a short while this afternoon when I stopped at the grocery store. I'm usually more outgoing with people when it's my choice than when I feel forced into gestures of friendship. And so it was today. While I shopped I said hi to several employees and told them what a good job they were doing. It never hurts us to do this and makes people feel appreciated.
Then I turned down an aisle and encountered my wise moment. Another shopper and I began talking about our pets when we saw the cat and dog food in each other's cart. Like me he also had taken in strays when he could not find their owner.
After we chatted for several minutes, we had to get on with our shopping and reluctantly said our goodbyes and nice talking with yous. Then he surprised me as I began to move on. "You know," he said, "not everyone is like we are. Many people wouldn't have bothered with these pets. But you probably saved the lives of five animals by taking them in. Bless you for that. Have a great afternoon." Surprised, I thanked him and then he walked away.
I mentioned how I try to encourage employees by telling them that what they do is appreciated. But here a stranger was telling me the same thing because we both were animal lovers. To be thanked by a stranger in the middle of a grocery store, a man I simply happened to make an effort to say hello to, had me walking on clouds as I left. I suppose for that encounter, as Mr. Bacon said, I created an opportunity, an opportunity to spend time with another person who shares the same compassion toward strays as I do.
As a result, my spirit was uplifted and my heart filled with a sense of camaraderie. I am certain that the positive feeling I now have, and a stranger's kind words, will be recalled every time I look into the eyes of Brownie, Kitty and Little Thang, my three cats, and Baby the Boxer and Thumper the Shepard, the two dogs.
Because they all get along well with each other is, I believe, a testament to their knowledge that they have found a safe harbor where someone cares for them and feeds them and brushes and plays with them.
In turn, today I found a safe harbor where a stranger cared about me and what I have done with these homeless pets. That may have been an isolated wise moment for me at the grocery store, but it is one I will not soon forget.
And now I pass along what was unexpectedly offered to me today: Bless all of you for your support and encouragement. You may never know how much it means. Have a great weekend.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
What is your point of reference regarding your journey to fitness?
I read another member's blog this morning where she explained that she was at the weight she had set as a goal for herself. Now, she wants to lose more and realized that she had set a goal that was too easily reached. Her point of reference changed.
An old joke tells of a car race between representatives from California and those from New York. The car from New York finished ahead of the one from California. In the New York newspapers it was reported that New York finished first while California came in dead last. In the California newspapers it was reported that California had finished second while New York came in next to last.
It's all in the point of reference. Both versions are accurate, just framed differently.
I talked via email with another member who had lost three pounds. The way she described her weight loss was to say, "Two more pounds and I will have lost five pounds altogether."
Or take the employee who began working with his company in August. In September, when he was asked how long he had worked for the firm, he answered, "Next August will be one year."
Both of these people are correct. It's their point of reference that's different than that of most people.
The next time you feel as if you are not progressing, try changing your point of view and see if you feel better, perhaps more focused and happier with yourself and your situation. If you have lost 2 pounds but want to lose a total of 10, say to yourself and others, "Eight more pounds and I will have lost 10 pounds altogether."
By looking ahead we will lead our thoughts from what has passed -- the two pounds, for example -- to the future. By changing our point of reference we may see the road of our journey more clearly and with a more positive outlook.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Recently I heard a conversation between two young teenage girls. One was trying to convey how she had felt about something that had happened. "And, I was like...So she goes, like...And then I was like..." I'm sure you've heard similar remarks.
While it may appear that the art of conversation might be, like, you know, like waning, her comments did get me thinking about the word 'like."And what I wondered was: If I wasn't me, would I like myself?
I think I would. I consider myself a person of some intellect with a well-developed sense of humor, a curiosity about many things, kind, considerate, polite and, well...you get the picture. I think I'm an OK person. Just as you probably think of yourself.
Then I began thinking of my closest friends, people I've known for years, and wondered why I enjoy their company. Actually, why I crave our time together and the cards and emails and telephone calls we exchange.
I think it's because we share the same personality traits. I'm comfortable with myself and I'm comfortable with them. This doesn't imply that we don't enjoy being with people whose lives are different than ours. Just that we feel more comfortable with known factors and routines. And, our friends are known commodities. We know what they are like and how they will react. Which is pretty much the way we would react to something.
What does this have to do with our attempts at weight loss and better health?
I wonder if we are ready for the new person we will become when we reach our final goals. We'll be different physically, often drastically. We will also be different mentally and emotionally. We will be more confident and self-assured and likely more outgoing. We may think we won't change, but don't we already feel different about ourselves when we lose just a few pounds?
The point I'm trying to make, perhaps clumsily, is if we do not like ourselves now how will we enjoy the new us when we reach our final weight loss goal? How can we expect others to like and respect us in the future, if we don't like ourselves now?
The self-respect we will need starts now, today. Believe in yourself, now. Have faith in yourself, now. Have respect for yourself, now.
And ask yourself one question: Am I someone I would like as a friend if I wasn't me?
Monday, August 17, 2009
We are all on similar pathways to a common destination of fitness, better health and weight loss. Along the way, at some point, we will need inspiration, understanding, and encouragement.
These things will not magically seek us out. We must be active in searching for help when we feel defeated. We need to ask for help, not simply go along and expect caring support to simply appear when we need it.
Sure, we can read articles, and those are a great aid, but there is something more effective than impersonal articles -- other people sharing the road to our common destination.
SparkPeople is an interactive site with members who are ready and willing to offer inspiration, understanding and encouragement to others on a daily basis.
The caveat? We must ask them for help. We must ask them for their thoughts on overcoming problems we face with our fitness routines and with our lives. Sometimes, we must ask them for prayers.
Seeing before and after photos of someone who has lost 150 pounds, or reading a member's blog or post relating how they can now bend over and play with their children, is inspiring.
Knowing that we are not alone, that others are facing the same challenges, is encouraging and lessens our anxiety. Being inactive, though, serves no purpose. Being inactive does not allow us to pass along words of encouragement to someone who feels hopelessness or loneliness, someone who feels as if they will never reach their goals.
Being interactive, however, will energize us and make us feel part of a group that spans the world. Being interactive will make us new friends and let us learn of exciting people, cities and countries. Being interactive will show us that we are not alone on our journeys. Being interactive will help us gain speed toward our destination.
We should join groups, become active in their huddles, reply to posts and begin new ones on topics that interest us and reply to members' blogs when they move us and when the writer needs our encouragement and support.
It has been said that no person is an island. We do not live in isolation. We need to interact with others for our health and well-being.
We need not feel alone and defeated. Not when there is a world of people to offer us the inspiration, understanding and encouragement we all need from time to time.
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