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Gentleness, Kindness & Tubby Tubby Two By Four


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's been a funny thing over the past year that the word "gentleness" keeps popping up in my life. You know those clay hearts with words on them that you find at inspirational/self-help bookstores? I received three of them with the word "gentleness" over the past year from three different people. I gave two away - the last thing I need is to be "gentle"! and finally surrendered and kept the third one.

Gentle is not a word I would use to describe me. I tend to be an aggressive, go-getter who sets her sights on her goals and goes after them. I get noisy about political causes. I'm a late-in-life student who is outspoken in the classroom. I try not to be the "bull in the china shop" (as my mother would say). I don't want to be overbearing. But I'm not "gentle" because the world isn't gentle.

Somewhere there's a part of me that believes that my weight is a lack of willpower, a moral failing on my part to be a good person and eat and move like "everyone else" who is skinny. Of course most of me knows that it is more complicated than that: genes, a lifetime of being too big/uncoordinated to participate in sports, negative thoughts based on negative feedback from others, eating as comfort since I was a child, a lifetime of bad habits.

But still that thought about willpower persists, and so I think that I *have* to be hard on myself about losing weight. If I am nice to myself then I will let myself eat all those things I shouldn't eat. But this is toxic thinking and is literally weighing me down.

I *want* to be kind to myself, and gentle when I make a mistake. I don't want to be critical and mean and bossy with myself (or anyone else). Most of all, I want to be open-hearted and loving, not just to people that I like, but to everyone...even the people who judge me or make fun of me. I want to "embody compassion" the way that Buddha/Jesus/Gandhi did.

When I was a little kid there was a song the kids at school used to sing about me. Maybe some of you know it? The first line was: "tubby tubby two by four / can't get through the kitchen door". I think that song has been following me around my whole life, for 37 years. I can still hear it.

Really?? Those were just KIDS. Kids do mean things. I don't need to take all of that personally and internalize it and let it make me feel ashamed. I get to grow up (finally!) and be me, this size I am now, and embrace all the amazing good things in my life -- my loving mate, my incredible friends, my supportive sister, my darling nieces and nephews. I want to be here NOW not stuck in the past.

I want to choose kindness, gentleness for myself. I want to affirm that I am loved and loving, show myself the same compassion I strive to show others.

The most profound way I can think of to do this is to be gentle with myself about my journey toward health. This journey can't be about me getting to a size where I am "acceptable" to others. It has to be about me finding self-acceptance on my own, regardless of what I eat, how I move, or what I look like.

I want to be healthy so that I can have more energy, sleep better, travel more. That is a gift I give myself, out of kindness, in gentleness. It is going take time, probably a long time, but I can start now, today, this minute. WOW!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
YDAVIS23 1/11/2012 9:13PM

    I think it's a matter of reframing "gentle." Gentle is treating your body with respect. Gentle is listening to limits. Gentle is forgiveness and gratitude. Being hard on yourself only leads to more emotional eating (for me anyway) and it just spirals. Forgiving, giving thanks, moving on, are a key part of the journey. I am interested in seeing how this whole thing unfolds for you. Your first two posts have been very insightful and I am excited to see where this path takes you.

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SGBEAR1970 1/11/2012 3:59PM

    I know I am way too hard on myself - so good word. Gentle. Not mamby pamby gentle but the real deal gentle. Thanks for the blog.

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