I read an amazing article today that got me thinking.
"You see, it was the ingestion of cutting remarks, judgmental glances, and outright insults that were really responsible for the weight. The potato chip binges were just a means to quelling my rage and salving my hurt feelings. What was really responsible for the pounds piling on was me accepting mistreatment from others and pretending to be OK with it."
It got me thinking about the various people that I allow to be a part of my life. I am slowly making my way on this journey, but I am finding that I am being much more selective about who I share my time with. Part of that is because I am spending so much time exercising that I have less time to spend, but the other part of that is that I have begun to choose more wisely the kind of friends I want around me.
For example, the friend who liked to preach to me about my food choices. Specifically she liked to ridicule me for not eating home made food constantly. She always made comments if I used a can of something as an ingredient in a recipe or if I used frozen vegetables instead of fresh. She also liked to tell me that that nothing I ate had ANY nutritional value because I wasn't eating "made from scratch food" like her mother made. This from the person who thought her tortilla chips were made from scratch when she bought tortillas at the store and cut them up and deep fried them in oil! But my chili that I made by adding canned tomatoes, canned soup, canned beans, and hamburger to had no nutritional value! ( I grew up in rural Minnesota where you either canned/froze/preserved it yourself or bought it canned/frozen/preserved at the store for at least 6 months of the year.)
Another "friend" that I spend as little time as possible with is the one who liked to tell me that I couldn't possible understand her life because she is pretty! And sadly, she wasn't joking. This comment is pretty representative of her attitudes in general towards everybody, not just me. I made the mistake of mentioning that I thought one of our mutual friends was attractive and I had a "crush" on him. After repeatedly professing that they were just friends, the next day she spent an hour questioning me repeatedly about what I would do if he ask HER out! All of a sudden she thought he liked her and was on the verge of asking her out! (I know this sounds really jr. high, and that exactly how it felt at the time!). Coincidentally, that same evening we were at a BBQ and he was there and he hung out with me the whole time and actively avoided her! She almost lost it! He knew nothing about what was going on between the two of us, but couldn't have played it better if he had, including giving me a huge hug when we walked in and left, and being nearby and charming the whole rest of the evening!
Sadly, I am also taking a break from my oldest niece at the moment for the purpose of eliminating crap from my life too. She is 20 and I have been at her beck and call for the last year and a half while she has been in college near me. (Both parents live at least 2 hours away.) I have made emergency trips to the pharmacy and hospital, dropped my own plans when she needed homework help or broke up with a boy, paid her cell phone bill for nearly a year without her chipping in, etc. But when I call her on being unreliable when I need her help moving, I am "guilt tripping" her. She is unreliable and my family keeps telling me not to rely on her, but I didn't want to give up on her. Well, I no longer rely on her. She is family and I still love her and am here for her, but I am no longer going to expect anything from her.
I have several other friends, who in the last year have nearly disappeared from my life, because I had to spend more time on me and when I stopped doing work on their lives, decided I wasn't worth the time! I never hear from them and I have to admit I haven't missed most of them.
Now before you think I was a door mat and am friendless now, I have also deepened some incredible friendships recently. One is my boss, Flannery, whom I have written about before. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders. We have a couple of deals right now. When I don't feel like exercising, she calls my excuses what they are and "orders" me to go to the gym. She has helped me arrange my work schedule so I can get to my water aerobics classes on time and been hugely supportive and encouraging about getting out and walking. She and I also have an agreement that as I continue to shrink and my clothes get too big, she has my permission, with no hard feelings, to tell me that an item of clothing is too big and I am not allowed to wear it again! I know that I tend to wear baggy clothes to hide in, so she will tell me when I have crossed the line from roomie to hiding!
Another friend is my water aerobics buddy, Jim. He has also recently discovered the joys of exercise and taking time for yourself. He walked the Goldy's Run a week ago with me to help me stay motivated to get out of bed on a cold, rainy Saturday morning. He has encouraged me to join the exercise related Meetups in our area to find people to get out and be active with. He has been trying new activities and encouraging me to do the same. With his encouragement, I am joining a hike on Saturday and have signed up to go on a canoe trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in August with my church! He keeps taking my excuses and turning them upside down so I have no excuses left!
I have found friends who support, encourage, and engage in my journey, instead of sabotaging! I will find others who may need to be let go as I continue, but along the way I continue to find those who will gladly take their place. The thing that my negative friends don't get is that when I am better, I am also a better friend and person.