Monday, December 10, 2012
While the judgement of others is often distressing, judging ourselves is essential to progress. We have all heard the old saw about insanity being defined as doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Yet how do we change if we don't carefully examine our actions, reactions, attitudes, and honestly decide if we have done the right thing, handled the situation best?
The whole process has to start with what we did wrong, which is usually manifested in a negative result. For some it's eating the wrong thing. For me it's usually saying something I shouldn't. Very few of us eat the Reeses thinking it's the right thing to do, and are anguished when the scale judges us with a "surprising" opposite. We KNOW it's wrong but do it anyway, and then we concentrate on the negative feelings engendered by doing something wrong. Our society these days, however, concentrates on not "hurting our feelings", but there is no chance of improvement with that.
I liken it to a sports team. After every game, the players go over the tapes of the game. They don't do it to make themselves feel better, and they don't concentrate on all the good plays so they don't have to deal with the bad ones. They look for every single failure, and they figure out how to do it differently next time. If you watched a quarterback throw a ball behind his receiver time after time, you wouldn't feel inhibited about thinking he isn't doing a good job. You'd wonder why he doesn't practice doing it the right way, a million times if necessary. The coach isn't going to say "Oh you poor baby", he's going to say "get to work". And that work isn't going to involve how well he pats himself on the back every time he throws the ball to the wrong person. It's going to involve actively, carefully, intentionally practicing in a careful, precise way, the right moves over and over and over and over until he gets it right. If he doesn't he will lose his slot to someone who is willing.
Careful weight loss doesn't involve competing with others. It's not like only 100 people can lose weight this year, can you be one of them? It doesn't involve any special talent, any gift not available to every single person alive. There are probably some people who would do better with that pressure, but I'm sure not one of them.
At the end of every day I take an inventory of my day. I take note of progress, but I also note everything I could have done better. I cannot take back words I wish I hadn't said, but I can note the situation and figure out how to do better next time. I can decide that I need to avoid certain situations, that I need to have a better attitude in certain situations, that I need to ask for help in certain situations. And then I go about the process of how to do those things. What words can I say to myself when my mother is pushing every button I have? While words cannot make me fat, the aftereffects sure can. I need to see the signs of impending trouble BEFORE they happen and deal with them, rather than wait until after and wonder why why why. I have met many who believe that it doesn't matter what they do as long as they feel appropriately miserable about it, that the misery is sufficient penalty. Personally I'd rather do without it.
I do not judge others, not their bodies or their hair or their cars. I do judge myself, but it's an inventory rather than a self-flagellation. In that lies progress.