Monday, February 02, 2009
For a long time I've wondered why I always feel that I'm not good enough. I had a good childhood. I'm reasonably intelligent. I think I'm a nice person. I'm talented. So what makes me feel so unworthy?
I think I had an epiphany today. Working through Louise Hay's "You Can Heal Your Life" (yes, I have a weakness for self help books), I realized where I got some of these messages.
I wanted to be an artist from a very young age, but my parents, while proud of me, didn't think I was good enough -- and urged me to find a practical career. A common enough story; in fact, my husband shares that story with me -- and yes, I think he suffers from the same feelings of unworthiness.
I remember I won an art scholarship my senior year in high school, but my fellow students were mad at me. I'd only taken art my senior year, as before I was involved in too many other classes to have the time. So they never viewed me as an artist; they were sure I earned the scholarship because of my grades, not my ability.
It goes beyond denying my artistic talents, too. I was always the one no one wanted on their teams. I was terrible at sports, I wasn't popular, and so no one wanted me.
And I got those same messages from my parents again and again, in very subtle ways. I wasn't allowed to take the violin, as my sister did, because it was too hard. I turned out to be the musical one in the family, although in fairness, that wasn't apparent immediately.
I wasn't allowed to take french because my sister struggled with it so. I turned out to be the one with a facility for languages.
The overriding message of my childhood was to not reach higher -- to take the safe road. To be practical.
So here I sit at the cusp of middle age, not sure what I want to do. Afraid to fail, even though I've taken the plunge before and had my own business for many years.
I'm glad I've at least begun to understand some of the reasons I always feel not good enough. Knowledge is power.
The ironic thing is that I know that I am a strong person, and I have to strength to deal with the hand life has dealt me. It isn't always easy to push past the fears, though. I'd like to be earning some money again, but I enjoy being home. I'm still not sure how to balance earning money with my passions.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
I'm in a rambling sort of mood today. I've been reading a couple of books about menopause -- Susan Weed's "Menopausal years the wise woman way" and Christiane Northrup's "The wisdome of menopause".
I've had Northrup's book for several years, but I just couldn't seem to get into it -- and now I can't put it down! And I'm not suffering much from perimenopausal symptoms yet, either. But I figure best to prepare now, while I'm not suffering, than to wait until I am.
As you can see, I'm interested in alternative treatments. I like the fact that in ancient China, doctors were only paid if you were healthy. In fact, it's my animals that got me into thinking about alternative medicine, but again, I won't bore you with the details (unless you really want to know).
I was pleasantly surprised, actually, to find out that Northrup is also strong on the mind-body-spirit connection. I didn't realize that until I began to read her book.
I was also surprised to hear Weed suggest that you should actually carry around an extra 10 pounds prior to menopause. The theory being that fat produces more estrogen, and more estrogen means an easier transition. I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. There are so many reasons being overweight isn't good for you, and since my mother had estrogen-receptive breast cancer, I'd like to slash my chances for that.
But all this mind-body-spirit perusing got me to thinking about how I take care of myself. For a long time I neglected myself -- small wonder I got so heavy. It's a common enough story -- we put ourselves last, but we're only doing a disservice to our loved ones -- and especially ourselves -- in the end.
Have you ever found yourself almost bragging about how you don't have time to take care of yourself? I know I have. How I don't do anything about my nails until they're all cracked and uneven. But what does that say about me? That I don't think I'm worthy of the time it takes to trim my nails and file them?
We have to remember that we are all unique, we are all here for a purpose, and we are all worthy and deserving of love.
Another book I've been reading is Louise Hay's "You can heal your life". I've been working with a lot of affirmations from this book. Her two most basic affirmations are "I approve of myself" and "All is well in my life". I repeat those over & over at various times during the day (when I remember to, of course).
It's amazing how words really do have the power to change our lives. What we tell ourselves makes a big difference, so why not be positive in what we tell ourselves?
Yesterday I had such a relaxing morning. I sat on my chaise lounge, with the dogs snuggled on either side of me, reading, with a nice cup of tea by my side. It was wonderful. Of course, my husband wasn't here, so I could sit there quietly with the tv off, and not have to answer his questions about what to have for breakfast and so on.
Don't get me wrong, after this year+ apart I know I don't want to live alone -- although I know I can do it, too -- but there are times when it's truly nice to just do what I want to do.
Friday, January 30, 2009
This morning I got up and there was no connection to the Internet. It would have been easy to get angry, to wonder why things always happen to me, why it had to happen when my husband wasn't here, and so on.
Instead, I just calmly began troubleshooting. I'd known something was up for a few days, and had actually googled my problems just yesterday. I won't bore you with the details, but obviously, after half an hour of troubleshooting, I got everything up and running again.
It would have been easy to get angry again -- that half hour is "me" time, time I surf my sparkteams, write my blog, and son on. And now it was gone. Instead, I'm extremely grateful I was able to fix the problem (at least for now -- but I think it's a permanent fix; if I'd known what the problem was, it would have been a fast fix, too).
How much time have you wasted being angry at yourself for gaining weight? For gaining back the weight -- yet again? For not measuring up to your goals? Have you eaten to feel better when you're angry? Again, how's that working for you?
I'm not saying I never get irrationally angry -- of course I do! You'll see it if you ever cut me off while I'm driving (I'm working on that), and it's not like I'm a speed demon or anything. But it doesn't get me anything except a sore throat from screaming.
I'm not saying we should never get angry, either. We're not doormats. There's a time and a place for everything. But most of us do waste a lot of time in anger, and when we're done being angry, the problem is still there.
I feel like this is my year to really turn my life around. To work on all aspects of my life: my weight, my spirituality, my environment. I could be so angry at this move, but in some ways I'm grateful. It's given me the opportunity to declutter my life in a major way. It's amazing all the junk I've been holding onto all these years, both actual junk and mental junk. Not only that, I found an integrative medical center that looks really interesting in Albany -- something I've been looking for here for a long time, and just haven't yet found.
It's a fresh start, and that's exciting -- and of course scary too.
What are you holding onto that's holding you back?
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I was pleased to open Feb.'s "Self" magazine, and see a list of the benefits of loving your body as it is, which includes:
1. Staying healthier
We all know that stress can does all sorts of damage to your body, and there's little doubt that hating your own body is pretty darn stressful. Of course, losing even just a little bit of weight can really have big payoffs: the last couple of times I took my blood pressure, it was about 99/75 -- pretty darn good. My husband has high blood pressure, which is why we have a monitor; and I monitor mine because high blood pressure runs in my family. I really do need to get my cholesterol checked . . . see #3.
2. Helps you stop feeding your feelings
I'm there! I am much, much more aware of when I'm physically hungry vs when I want to eat to soothe my emotions. Of course sometimes I still do, but it's rare. I still have to think about it a lot, sometimes, it's not always automatic -- but it's a really big switch for me.
3. Helps you get to the doctor
Are you ashamed to go to the doctor because you're heavy? Waiting until you lose just a few more pounds before you go? I sometimes fall into that category. Mostly I don't go as often as I should because of the time-crunch, but body image comes into play, too.
I am still fat, and I accept that. But I'm also much more accepting of my body these days. Yes, there are still things I want to change -- and that's part of what keeps me motivated to reach my goal weight.
Most of the time when I look in the mirror these days I'm happy with what I see. Which is funny, because I don't weigh that much less than I did when I joined WW so many years ago. I absolutely know that I am much fitter now, and that's probably why I'm so much more satisfied with what I see, despite the number on the scale.
Loving your body isn't always easy, but it's the only way to love yourself.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I did not sleep very well Tuesday night, and after not feeling well for a few days beforehand, I was extremely tired last night. I also happened to be having a hungry day.
Have you ever noticed how hungry you feel when you're really tired? It's small wonder, really, because our brains run on glucose. They have to have it. And if their stores have been depleted, they'll send out the call for sugar. Yes, visions of sugarplums were dancing in my head last night.
I had my chocolate banana wrap for dessert. And then I waited. And I waited. And I'm glad that I did -- because I finally decided that I'd had enough. I find I'm more able to do that nowadays. Realize that even though I've planned to eat more, I'm full right now -- and either throw out the rest or save it for another day.
Never, ever underestimate how a good night's sleep will effect your appetite. It should be a priority, right up there with exercise and portion control.
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