Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Values and beliefs are the first building block, according to the book. I blogged a little about mine yesterday. I have to admit that I'm guilty in my life of skipping the next building block: purpose and vision!
Seriously, when I was a kid, I had one goal in life. If someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I could have answered with one word: "Happy". I pretty much was a happy child. As long as I felt secure and loved, and could pursue something to engage my curious mind, I was indeed happy. I loved to read. I loved to work puzzles and play games.
But kids don't always feel secure and loved. In the course of growing up, I found my coping strategy: please the adults around me, so that I will remain secure, no matter what else changes. My mom's relatively long illness when I was 3 and 4 years old bounced me between caregivers in the family, and this is probably at the root of my people-pleasing. It truly served me well as a child, made me a good student, and has also led to a degree of career success.
But taken too far, this thought that my purpose and mission in life is to make everybody like me, or even to please this one person (spouse, in my case) can become self-destructive. Not everybody is going to like you, no matter what you do. And if you try to keep doing things to please someone who is unable to be happy, you just end up as a manipulative co-dependent. Yep! Fell into that trap.
I won't go into the gory details, but that phase of my life ended when I hit bottom, sometime in the past decade. I ended up leaving the church of my birth and upbringing, which added to the stresses on my marriage of nearly 22 years, and its dissolution. Contrary to what I might have thought before, this actually freed me to be a better parent to my son, and he made amazing strides in the years following this split.
So, now, how DO I envision my future? I spent decades of my adult life trying to be everything I thought I "ought" to be, and being miserable, because I just plain could not do it all.
One thing that I kept trying to do was lose the weight, as though that would magically solve the rest of life. News flash, as most Spark people have already learned: it doesn't. I dropped 80 pounds in 1989 - 1991, kept it off for nearly five years, and still fell back into the comfort of compulsive eating.
But I had seen a glimpse of the fit me. I had learned something about myself: I DO have an athlete inside. I LIKE this me! I have since battled my way back to that fit self at one level or another three times. I want to be this me for the rest of my life.
But I need to feel GOOD about this me. I need to feel that I am fulfilling my purpose in life while being this me.
In keeping with my values and beliefs, here is the vision that I am beginning to form in my mind:
I am a fit, maturing woman. My son and his wife do not have to worry about my health and are free to move where their own life purpose draws them.
I will have a secure retirement fund, whether I choose to stop working or not. I will be able to engage in activities that need doing, AND in things that are just plain fun. I will never stop learning and growing.
I will serve as an example to my adult child and to anyone who crosses my path as someone who extends a helping hand not just to those closest to me, but to others in my community and in the world. That helping hand will NOT make these people dependent on me, but enable them to become independent themselves.
I will NOT expect myself to save the whole world or beat myself up if my offerings are rejected. My worthiness is internal, not based on the approval of others.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I did do some thinking yesterday, as I walked and jogged on the treadmill. And more thinking as I walked the perimeter of the basement at my office (it's icy outside, not going to risk breaking a leg) on breaks today.
What are those deeply held beliefs? A few came to mind.
I believe in individual freedom and responsibility.
I value (crave) security and independence (my own).
I believe in tolerance and forbearance.
I believe everyone has a right to choose his or her own beliefs, but that freedom ends where my nose begins, if you know the old story.
I believe in sharing what I have learned with others who want to know, I'm not into keeping knowledge secret.
I believe that every person I meet has a story to tell, something to teach me.
I believe I have a responsibility to make the world a little better, right where I am (bloom where you're planted).
So... how do beliefs such as these fit into goals for healthy living?
... to be continued ...
Monday, January 18, 2010
My personal new initiatives rarely coincide with the calendar. Or maybe they do, just not in the standard way. I eagerly awaited the arrival of The Spark, along with everyone else who pre-ordered it. But when I got it, I waited until I finished my last book before starting it.
That happened yesterday. The calendar coincidence is with a 3-day weekend, so I suppose that these things happen when I have some time to ponder.
What I am finding in the first chapter is fairly standard of motivational literature: you need goals, and those goals need to be in harmony with your own deepest held values and beliefs. You can find this in the day planner kinds of literature, in self-assessment things, even (gasp) in commercial weight loss programs like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. It's there, but you have to spot it, determine it's important to your success, and use it.
I have to admit I'm a bit of a junkie when it comes to self-help and motivational literature and programs. I love them all, they juice me up; it lasts for a while. It's also why I keep changing programs over my lifetime, I'm still searching for something that will last "the rest of my life." It's guaranteed that eventually this will happen, because I won't stop searching before I die.
Examining my own deeply held beliefs and values can be a sticking point. You see, I'm a bit of a chameleon around others. I know those deeply held beliefs and values are there, but I have a hard time articulating them. I'm almost afraid to put them out in front of others without robing them in a vocabulary I think my audience will "like". Yes, I'm a people-pleaser.
I wonder how many of us who struggle with self-care are indeed people-pleasers? We say what we think the audience will best accept. Our hallmark is tolerance and acceptance. We get nervous or anxious when people don't take things "right". And we get really anxious when we address multiple audiences that sometimes conflict with one another in their vocabularies!
What do we really want to accomplish with our words and actions? I think we deeply crave that tolerance and acceptance in return, and are deeply fearful it will not be forthcoming. Sometimes I feel like a bit of a sham, using other people's terms for things that for me don't even have words!
So, today is a day of reflection... finding within me those values that I most prize. Hunting for a new future vision that I'm afraid to put down in a collage. My son is an adult, married, on his own. My ex lives half way across the country. I'm only ten years away from retirement. I had a sea-change in religious beliefs in the last decade.
Do I even have an identity, beyond serving the needs of others, and if so, what is that identity? Who am I?
Too big a task for a single day, but too important not to start.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Got the blood test results in the mail today... NORMAL! Yes! So, no need to head back to that dude any more.
Also, today was weigh-in, and I was only 0.7 pounds above my original goal. I talked it over with my consultant, and decided to take my goal weight down another five pounds, to 145. This is not an unrealistic goal. Healthy BMI for me is about 140, add five pounds for time of day and clothing at my normal weigh-in time, and there we have it.
So, another month or six weeks to goal, provided I keep working at it.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I kept my appointment, he asked a couple of questions, had his nurse draw blood to test the vitamin D and calcium levels, and said if the tests come back at acceptable levels, no need to followup with him any more, just have my family doc do the calcium / vitamin D level checks with my annual checkups. Which he was doing anyway. That makes me HAPPY! One less doctor in the rotation!
Work was particularly stressful yesterday, and I found myself craving soda... but I didn't cave then. Nor did I cave today when my luncheon appointment was canceled and I had to catch a meal out because I didn't have my packed lunch with me. I'm proud of me. It is now 18 days since my last fizzy drink!
Speaking of the canceled luncheon, it was in a good cause: the lady who had originally scheduled it "dumped" us for her Air Force son, fresh home from Iraq! No one can be upset with that happy occasion!
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