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Chapter 2: building block - purpose and vision

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BURKIEANDEMME 1/21/2010 4:09AM

    Wow! What an inspirational post. Here is to you ONEKIDSMOM and your success!!!

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KALIGIRL 1/20/2010 11:35AM

    Wonderful - thanks so much for sharing.

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SUNNY332 1/20/2010 9:12AM

    Wonderful!!! You have great vision and purpose. Good luck for success, one step at a time. Know that I too think you are on the right path and success is shining down on you.

Hugs, Sunny

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CONCHA77 1/20/2010 8:34AM

    How inspiring, Barb. Sounds like you are on the right path and going strong!
And you are happy! emoticon

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DEBRA_T 1/20/2010 8:07AM

    Wonderful reflection, Barb. Of course, I can relate to almost everything you say here and love your vision of life which reflects understanding, maturity and balance. It is mysterious to me how we get drawn back into unhealthy habits after appreciating the joy of freedom from them, but I guess, as they say in the 12-Step programs, no matter how far down the road you are, you're always the same distance from the ditch.

Here's to staying on the road, my good friend.

Cheers, Debra

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Chapter 2: piecing at values and beliefs under the goals

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 ...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NELLIEC 1/19/2010 9:52PM

    Sounds interesting!

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SUNNY332 1/19/2010 9:00PM

    I will be waiting......

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Time to reflect

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. emoticon

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMARTIEBEE 1/19/2010 11:52PM

    Wow! Very well put! And It gave me lots to think about!

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PATRISNA 1/19/2010 8:14PM

    I have to agree with you about the book. I am only up to chapter 2. I haven't been burning to finish reading it. I think possibly because feel a lot of it is a review of things I have learned. We can always use positive reinforcement, but all in good time. Where is the shiny new stuff?

I love this website, but as you say the book is fairly standard self help stuff. You and I know we have been around the block a few times so even though we embrace SP we have life experience that has shaped our views.

I loved this blog. We all need to reflect and decide what we need to imporve our selves. We are not chameleons or sheep. We decide our path. Thanks for making me use my brain. Love ya kiddo!

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MSLZZY 1/19/2010 6:24PM

    Reflection is necessary during many phases of our lives and not just at the beginning of a new year. But it causes us to look deep within ourelves to understand ourselves and our goals. What do I want? Or more importantly,
what do I need?
My goals, my wants and my needs may chamge daily or weekly but I know in
my heart that I am searching for answers that only I can provide.
You put some lengthly thought into your blog and made me think I need to
reflect more deeply. My wants and needs are waiting to be addressed.
Thanks for the reminder that I need to spend time reflecting.
Have a great day!

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KALIGIRL 1/18/2010 8:58PM

    Wow - with so many changes behind and ahead of you, I can understand searching for your identity. I can only attest that you do indeed help others, keeping the Lincoln Spark alive. I hope you find what you're looking for.

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NELLIEC 1/18/2010 3:36PM

    I, too, have been a chameleon. That is, until I figured out I needed to really know who I was and what I believed. Now, rather than being a people pleaser, I strive to be a God-pleaser because I know that in doing so, I am being true to my best self.

I managed to get more distance between my ex and myself -- the whole country. Yet, now 3000 + miles apart, we get along better than when we were married. I send him Bible verses (with his permission) everyday, and he comments relatively frequently.

May God bless you!!!

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GINABUG 1/18/2010 2:08PM

    I could have written this Blog myself! As a fellow chameleon, I will say that I am not totally ashamed of myself for this. I used to think I was just "wishy washy" allowing others to make decisions for me. That may have been true at one time, but now I think I really do care about others in a way that I want to be "gentle" with them. This sometimes means not being too forceful with what I think. It also means I respect their perspective and before I blurt out mine, I really want to understand them.

I actually found myself in a meeting last week listening to two colleagues adamantly disagreeing with each other. I was having a hard time separating what I really thought about the issue with how my opinion would affect the dynamics of the exchange and the two individuals (both of whom I respect and care about). It was an odd position to be in but quite insightful to sit and observe myself being there. In the end, I expressed myself by saying that I thought there were far more than "two sides" to the issue. Had I not taken the time to listen to both sides that were being expressed, I might not have come to that conclusion.

So, to my fellow chameleon, I say, take your time. Be gentle with yourself. And never forget that you are who you are because you care. Perhaps not coincidentally, one of my all time favorite MLK quotes is:

There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

In my book, this includes love for others AND yourself!



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DEBRA_T 1/18/2010 9:43AM

    That blog entry is more awesome than something that is awesome -- it just blew me away. Yes, it is important to find something outside of yourself that resonates with inside yourself; yes, it's hard to do that when you have an eye on whether the people around you are nodding in agreement; yes, after a while it's hard to know who you are because you've become addicted to those nodding heads; and, yes, it's still very important to know the answer to the question: what do I value? I'm with you all the way on each and every word you wrote today including the sea change in religious understanding, the constant searching for the next uplifting idea and the need to finally be quiet within myself and see what's there. I Love This!

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SUNNY332 1/18/2010 9:16AM

    Knowing God created us all for purpose is what propels me forward each day. I know he has a plan - just wish he would tell me.

In the meantime, I will take what I can from each day to give me motivation for today. I think it is the "stuff" we find along the way each day that is really the
Serendipity of Life! If we found something that would last the rest of our lives, would we get bored? I am thinking so...

I like the change that each day brings.

Hugs, Sunny

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ARMYGIRL67 1/18/2010 9:05AM

    I feel the same way. I need to find something and stick with it. I have not opened the Spark yet. We have been to busy at work and at home. Good luck.

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MAVY135 1/18/2010 9:03AM

  Today, is the first day, start on you and do a little at a time. Good luck

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Definitely... no more endocrinologist!

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMARTIEBEE 1/19/2010 11:49PM

    It must have felt very good to learn you don't have to go back to that doc any more! And to be so close to your goal, WOO HOO!!! God for you!

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GINA7249 1/18/2010 9:05AM

    winner lose one doctor. good job.

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MSLZZY 1/16/2010 7:08PM

    emoticon One less doctor!
emoticon So close to goal!
You are a winner!

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SUNNY332 1/16/2010 7:02PM

    Way to go! I am impressed.

Congrats on the blood work being NORMAL!

Hugs, Sunny

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NELLIEC 1/16/2010 6:59PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CONCHA77 1/16/2010 6:12PM

    emoticonSounds like all is well in your world!!!! emoticon

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Hopefully... no more endocrinologist!

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! emoticon 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! emoticon

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! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JGOLFER 1/15/2010 8:28AM

    Woo Hoo - one less doctor! Kudos on not drinking soda - you should be proud. That was definitely a good cause for cancelling a luncheon - how wonderful. Have a great day!

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GINABUG 1/14/2010 10:12PM

    Congrats on a very successful day! I salute you for healthy eating, and a compassionate heart!

Yea for one less doctor!



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MSLZZY 1/14/2010 9:25PM

    One less doctor-what a relief! Stay focused and give the sodas the old heave-ho!
That was probably one very happy mom!Have a great weekend.

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DJ4HEALTH 1/14/2010 8:36PM

    Glad that you don't have to see anymore doctors. Congrats on giving up soda.

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SUNNY332 1/14/2010 8:24PM

    No - no one can blame your friend for dumping you to have lunch with her Hero!

I hope that all is well and the test come back with acceptable levels.

Have a Fabulous Friday, my friend.


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