Want Change?

I’m just going to leave these two little sentences right here…

According to Beisser’s paradoxical theory of change, personal change tends to occur when we become aware of what we are as opposed to trying to become what we are not.

It is important that we accept who and what we are rather than striving to become what we “should be”.

*mic drop*

 

Source: Theory & Practice of Group Counseling

The Struggling Dichotomy

THIS! This is how I feel almost every single day – a struggling dichotomy. One minute I feel like a beautiful princess… the next, an ugly witch- frightened of my own reflection. Most of the time, I am living a good life of the princess – my inner peace exuding through every pore. I make choices that lead me toward my goals. I am “being the change” I want to see in the world, and I am happy and content.

Then, with little warning, this visibly wounded victim surfaces. The witch is a hypocrite. She finds excuses for all the things she can’t do – laying blame anywhere but on herself. She is angry, and she is destructive. The witch will judge others to lift herself up, and she will sabotage any plans laid by the princess. And, she will hang on to the control of the body as long as she can.

One step forward, two steps back…

The truth is, the princess is used to losing the battle. The witch has been in control most of their lives. The princess is even the one that created the witch many, many years ago as a defense mechanism during the dark ages of the kingdom. She relied on her so much for a while, that the witch gained power and control. Eventually, the princess wasn’t around much. I don’t think she even knew she existed any more.

But, one day, the princess awoke from a long, long sleep. She realized what a mess the witch had made… in fact, she almost destroyed the entire kingdom with her destructive ways. The princess took back control, and locked the witch away where she couldn’t harm anyone else.

But, eventually, life started throwing punches, and the newly awoken princess still didn’t have the skills to duck and dodge. So, she would let the witch out to punch back then tuck her away back in her cell. Although it worked for a little while, the witch began gaining control again- manipulating the princess with her malicious whispers of untruths.

The princess worked very hard to learn the skills she needed to handle conflict so that she could once and for all be rid of the witch’s control. She tried throwing water on her, but it turns out her witch can swim.

Most days now, the princess doesn’t hear from the witch as much. But, when the princess is exhausted or faced with a difficult situation, the witch busts out of her chains and ensues with destruction. Except, now all of the witch’s hate is aimed at the princess herself. Her sabotage turned inward. Because, if the witch can’t be in control, she will do her best to destroy them both.

The princess knows she is winning this war but not always the battles. It would be so much easier if she could just send the witch away – never to return (maybe to the land of flying monkeys so the witch could have some friends). But, the witch is a part of her – so, she must find a place for her in the kingdom. The witch too can be a contributing member of the kingdom in the right job setting… she just doesn’t get to sit on the throne anymore.

Autopilot

Our brains make over 60,000 decisions a day.  So every chance they get, our brains run on autopilot… which, most of the time, means we are following an instruction  “manual” from our childhood. Our parents taught us our behaviors, our beliefs… down to the detail. We watched and learned.

Really.  It’s crazy, I know.  But, it is also true.  Think about it.

My husband leaves the TV on all day for background noise, because his mom does…

I turn the TV off if no one is watching, because my mom does…

Toilet paper roll over the top of the roll…

We all eat the same thing at dinner…

You have to work really hard to earn a lot of money…

We have to buy certain brands of certain foods, because other brands are unacceptable…

You make Thanksgiving dinner with Granny’s dressing…

You put the toilet seat down when you are done…

You brush your teeth twice a day…

No one is happy unless mama is happy… ok, well, that is a universal truth, but I digress.

I could go on forever….

 

My point is, our brains are on autopilot most of the time.  Some of our thoughts are outdated, and we just haven’t bothered to open up to the possibilities. There is a big world out there, full of opportunity.

Is your life headed in the direction you want?  

If yes, then congrats to you!  Keep it up.

If no, then you can change it. It is just a thought or two away.  Really. You CAN make it happen.

Future-Focused?

“I’m going to lose the weight.”

“I’m going to make more money.”

“I’m going to let go of the past.”

“I’m going to leave this relationship.”

“I’m going to get out of this debt.”

Do you see what all of these statements have in common?  They are all future-focused… which is great, because living in the past doesn’t serve you. But…. you can future-focus yourself straight into stagnation.  If you are going to do it, then you are never actually doing it.

Change your thoughts about your goals to create massive action in the present.  When you live in the moment, the here and now, you make your goals a reality. Ask yourself, “Is this choice going to get me closer to my goal?” If the answer is no, then make another choice.

Truth Be Told

 My kids tell me all the time the “facts” they have learned from the internet.  I often argue with them, telling them they need to be careful and shouldn’t believe everything they see on the internet.

Then I started thinking.  We didn’t have the internet to give us our information.  But, who is to say “word of mouth” learning was any better?

Do you really think that gum will stay in your stomach forever if you swallow it?  If you step on that crack, will it really break your mother’s back? Will an apple a day really keep the doctor away? Don’t even get me started on holiday traditions…

When I started researching food and diets, I came to the realization that a lot of the things that I  “knew” were true my entire life… weren’t.

Did you know that counting calories doesn’t work?

Did you know that low fat, low calorie food does not make us thin?

Did you know that it is actually high insulin levels in our bodies that cause weight gain?

Did you know that snacking should not ever happen?

Did you know that you won’t kill your metabolism by skipping breakfast?

Did you know that you don’t need to fuel your workout?

Did you know that most of the “facts” we have learned about food and what is good for us just isn’t true?

 

Me neither…

But, now I do.

Knowledge is power.

It’s Data… Not Drama

Today we are talking about the scale. I am here to tell you that it is your friend, not your enemy! Just wait… hear me out!

The scale is a measuring tool.  It collects data. That’s it. There are no emotions or judgments involved in weighing yourself.

If you are being emotional about the scale, stop it!

You should weigh in every Friday (or whatever day you choose) and, you should record your data. Write it down.

All that number means for you is whether or not you lost weight.  To figure out why, you will have to track your food. That is where the evidence is lying.

Remember that the scale weights your muscles… your bones… your fat… your blood… your organs… your water… and any food left over from the last 24 hours in your body. It’s NOT a measurement of how fat you are. That’s emotion talking.

It is simply a number to compare to last week’s number Use it that way. Do the math, and decide you need to change what you are eating or not.

 

So, step on up with confidence!

What Would She Do?

I know who I am now, but who do I see myself as in the future?

I see me – but a better version.  I have very specific ideas about who my future self is and what she does.

I want to be her.  She seems really awesome.  But, there is a problem.

There is a disconnect.  That awesome future self is always in… the future.

I keep waiting for that day to come that I am her.  It never does. My future self is always sitting right before me, just out of my reach.

So, I’m going to utilize the WWMFSD? Strategy.  What Would My Future Self Do? When undecided, I will ask myself that question and choose that action.

For example, should I eat those donuts? WWMFSD? The answer is nope! And I want to be her, so…

And bam! Just like that, she is one step closer to me. After about 1 million more choices like that, I might actually become her.

I wonder what her favorite book is. I wonder what her favorite activity is. I wonder where her favorite vacation spot is. I wonder how she can help me next.

Who is your future self?

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Because I’m Happy…

OK. So, now you probably have that song stuck in your head, too.  Sorry… not really.

I was browsing through old photos today, and I started to notice a pattern…

Besides my ever changing hairstyles…

Besides my ever fluctuating weight…

Sometimes, the smile on my face was genuine.  Sometimes, the smile was just for the camera (if there was even a smile at all). Sometimes, I was really happy.  Sometimes, I really wasn’t.

For so many years, I allowed outside circumstances to control my happiness.  

It didn’t matter if I was overweight or at idea weight.  

It didn’t matter if my hair was long or short: brown, red, or blond.

It didn’t matter if I was on vacation, visiting friends and family, or hanging out at home.

The happiness I found never lasted, because I was expecting others to make me happy… and that is NOT their job.

Happiness is my job.  I have learned that fact.  I am the only person that can truly make me happy.  If I’m not, I can’t blame anyone but myself…. and I always have the choice to change how I feel.  

These days, I choose happy.  Every. Single. Day.

Are you happy?

How Do You Handle the Sadness?

I go through emotional cycles as I am sure most of us do. Right now, I am in that down cycle – that “glass is half empty” view on life. There is no joy, no excitement, no love of life that usually seeps into my soul each day. I’m used to it. I know it will pass.

But…
I self-sabotage with eating comfort food.
I don’t pay attention to my intermittent fasting.
I sleep way too much.
I don’t write.
I can’t make a decision without an emotional back-and-forth in my brain.
I don’t exercise.
I don’t create.
I just avoid.
And, I don’t care…
Until the fog lifts (sometimes several days later).

Then, I’m mad. How could I allow myself to mess up so bad?! I was there for it. It’s not like I took a little vacation from my body and came back to find chaos’ aftermath. I WAS RIGHT THERE for it all! And, I didn’t stop myself!

I’ve decided to make myself a thought chart. When the fog lifts, I will write down all of those positive thoughts I usually have that keep me on track each day… create a manual for myself. Then… maybe, just maybe, I can make it through the next low cycle just following the manual. On the other side, I am hopeful I can be proud of my actions.

Self-Esteem Queen

Today, I was challenged with an interesting insight into myself. I have almost always let others dictate my self-esteem… my worthiness as a human being. Crap in my past started this extremely detrimental path that I walked for most of my life. Recently, I dealt with the crap. The reward was a sense of release and freedom – no longer letting those things control me and how I felt about myself any longer. For a long while, I was full of confidence and really didn’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thought about me. I was proud to be me- even with all my flaws.

But, without me noticing, those few, judgmental coworkers started eating away at my new found confidence with their underhanded, tacky “compliments” over the last few months.

Yesterday, I went shopping by myself. I recently cut and bleached my hair. That, along with my weight, made me an insecure, young preteen all over again. I watched everyone that looked at me as I passed by. I watched my reflection in the store windows. EVERY, SINGLE THOUGHT going through my head was negative. “They are staring at me, because my hair looks stupid.” “They think I am fat and ugly.” “OMG, my reflection is hideous!” Etc, etc, etc…

What the heck?! What happened to that confident 45 year old woman who had finally found strength from within? She, evidently, is on a vacation… leaving the insecure one in charge.

So, the lesson I learned today: it’s a process. I am not perfect; I never will be. Even if I’m at my ideal weight and my hairstyle is featured in Vogue, that insecure girl can take over at any time. She has before… I’ve lost all the weight before (more than once).

I remember the comment ONE PERSON made to me many years ago that sent me back spiraling down this path of self-sabotage. In retrospect, it was a very stupid comment. I doubt she even remembers saying it. But, I allowed it to take over my entire existence at the time.

But, I say “No more!” I can’t change those judgmental, life-sucking, gossiping women. I can only control how I react to them. It is hard. I am dreading going back to work and seeing one individual in particular. So, that means I’m already letting her get to me and influence my self-esteem , and I haven’t even seen her yet. But, it is a process… and I will win in the end.