Monday, January 28, 2013
I'm feeling sad for my husband Steve this morning, who has also always struggled with his weight. Both of us have gone through ups and downs in our 20 years of marriage- sometimes he does really well with his nutrition and fitness, sometimes I do and sometimes, when it's really great, we are both on board at the same time. Right now it's me who is in that "right" place, I guess you'd call it.
When it's me that's feeling motivated, I struggle with how to interact with Steve. He has a tendency to want me to really give him a hard time- kind of drill sergeant: "Come on! Stop being a baby- you can do this!" Like that. Sometimes that works. Right now, though, because of a lot of things that have happened to him professionally, he's got a bit of a broken spirit and can't seem to get motivated to start taking care of himself. I'm at a bit of a loss.
I have to admit too that there are times when I am "getting on the band wagon" that I have less patience with him about not taking care of himself. This is distinctly different from what I said above- me acting the drill sergeant with him can be what HE needs, not necessarily how I feel. What I'm talking about is how I sometimes feel- I start thinking, "why can't he get a handle on this?' I just think- come on! Get with the program- we need to do this together! I am quite sure he can feel my disapproval and, when I reflect on it, that pains me the most to admit- that on top of all the self-loathing he already feels, the last thing he needs is that from me.
I know from my own experience that until I get to that place where the motivation comes from within, there's NOBODY that can force it down my throat. It's really arrogance when it comes down to it- my own arrogance, "Oh, I've got this." Well, guess what? It might behoove me to stop and reflect how that arrogance gets thrown back in my own face when I'm the one that relapses. Which leads me to the next thought on spouses and weight loss... when I'm the one not motivated.
There was a time about 8 years ago when Steve lost about 50 lbs. He was running all the time and I, if it was possible, had a new husband. He was the thinnest and most fit he'd ever been our entire marriage. And I was the most afraid and insecure I'd ever been about our relationship. Now, I want to point out he has never done anything to justify my fear- this was all my own imaginings.
And unfortunately, for a long time throughout his journey, his own motivation had the complete opposite affect on me. I didn't want to eat well, I didn't want to exercise. It was a complete mind game I was playing in my head. I was afraid his weight would get lower than mine (he's only 5'4" to my 5'2", so not a difficult thing to do). A husband who weighs less than his wife?? How embarrassing. I started to resent him, but couldn't find it in myself to look inside.
The thing we have to watch out for with any loved one that's in a different place is how not to sabotage the other's journey to wellness, and this can be hard. Just realizing the differences in where Steve and I are here in the last 3 weeks and going through the process of exploring my feelings about it, PARTICULARLY knowing I'm committing to this journey longterm this time, I'm much more connected to my deep love and compassion for him. This has also helped me realize the compassion I have for anyone going through this journey. I see that my role is to keep myself well and moving forward on my own journey and to also be a stand and and opening for others to step onto the ride with me WHEN THEY ARE READY.
It's hard to explain, but there are people that I have come across in my life who, just being around them, without them saying a word, would just be an opening for me to be a better person- to take that scary step I might otherwise not have taken had they not been in my life. Who they are is love and compassion and standing for you to be the best person you could ever be; being with them has you doing things you never imagined you could do because they stand for you living your hopes and dreams- they see you more than you ever imagined yourself to be. That's who I am committing myself to be for Steve and for anyone I come across, not matter what their journey.
Love to all.