Let’s face it; we all have outside influences that affect us every day of our lives. I know I do. Daily, sometimes hourly, there seem to be obstacles that just get in the way of my journey.
I want to share with you a very personal situation that affected my journey in a very negative way.
At the end of the summer of 2011, I started a new job. This job was something that I’d set out to attain several months before. I spent several hours in phone conversations with the management of this company. Many of these phone calls happened very early in the morning--good thing I’m an early riser! This job was everything I wanted. I would be working for a company I’ve had a relationship with for several years. I would be working from home, and talking to people, helping them to improve their own understanding of how business operated and how I could help make it better. These are all things that I wanted and, quite frankly, things that I am good at. I was told it could take several years to fully learn all the different software adaptations available within this company and I was willing to move as fast as I could to learn it all.
I found out quickly that I’d made a huge mistake by taking this position. I was given about two weeks before I was reprimanded for not knowing enough. I started receiving daily phone calls from my supervisor telling me that the work I was doing had no value. I was told that the phone calls I was making trying to improve relationships with current customers had no value. It didn’t take long before I realized that everything we had talked about in our pre-hire phone conversations had nothing to do with the daily job they expected me to do. The overwhelming stress started to affect my health journey. The downward slide hit very quickly, and before long, I felt like not only did my work performance hold no value, but that I no longer held value. The stress of the job was taking the focus of my life away from where it should be.
Talk about an outside influence affecting my journey! I let this situation affect me in so many ways and thought I was on the verge of a breakdown, to be honest.
The first way this situation affected me was in the form of emotional eating. I’ve stated in the past that I am an emotional eater, in fact, I wrote a blog about it. I admit that I turned to emotional eating with the hopes of bringing some comfort to my misery. It was like second nature to reach to the snack shelf, 4 or 5 or 8 times a day. Looking back on it, I honestly can’t believe how easy it was to turn right back to food. Such a volatile relationship that we humans have with food, isn't it? Food is something that our bodies need to fuel us and yet we sometimes abuse ourselves with it. I knew what I was doing was wrong. I had lost control and was fighting to regain it again.
In addition to the emotional eating, I’d stopped running! Actually, I had stopped working out altogether. That is really hard to admit to myself and to others, but it’s the truth. I had let this influence affect my life so much, that I’d stopped doing the thing that keeps me centered. I mean, I wasn’t cross training, I wasn’t on the elliptical, I wasn’t running, nothing. I felt too physically sick to do any of the above. I knew what I needed to be doing, I just didn’t feel well enough to do it. I had convinced myself that my nerves were too shaky to do ANY fitness. So there I was doing exactly what I knew NOT to do. I knew what would happen, and sure enough, it did.
As a result of the emotional eating and not working out, I managed to gain some weight back very quickly. So there I was, in the middle of a serious situation, watching myself do what I’d done for years before. I had gone back to eating my life away, while making every excuse in the book about why I couldn’t exercise. I had to do something and I had to do it quickly. Thankfully, I was not the only one noticing this rapid decline in my personal health. With my wife’s encouragement, the decision was made to leave this job after only two months. Once I was able to step away, it was then I took inventory of this situation.
I learned that I am much more aware of my negative ways of dealing with stress than I thought. I wasn’t mindless during this time; even though I resorted to my old habits, they didn’t last long. I had learned to turn to my support system at home and took control of things eventually. Yes, I made drastic measures to change the situation, but sometimes that is non-negotiable. I’d come too far on this journey to allow an outside influence to ruin it for me. Using the power of positive influences, the negative ones were pushed back and my life was brought back into balance.
You see, sometimes negative influences can be seriously crippling. Even though I knew better, that influence caused some ugly habits to come rushing to the forefront of life again. I turned to my support system and changed the situation completely.
Spark Friends, I’m sure there are many readers today who may experience something similar to what I did. Share your stories; let us support you in those cases. I’ve said it before, what makes SparkPeople so special is the people itself.
How do you handle negative outside influences?