Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Doing for others.

I am a very introverted person. I am somewhat awkward in social situations. I think when you are more inward-directed, it's easy to focus too much on yourself, whether it be overanalyzing, nitpicking, or over-thinking situations or characteristics of yourself.

I am also not the most patient or tolerant person. I am easily irritated by others and don't always take my own advice, which is "seek to understand before being understood". To combat this, I have made a concerted effort to just be nice, even to people I don't like or who I think are rude.

It's amazing how much better I feel.

Having a pleasant interaction as opposed to a tense one. Not worrying about being right. A little gesture of kindness.

I am certainly not advocating being a doormat but, for me, trying a little harder to be more positive, friendly, and kind has helped shift my focus outward and in a more positive direction.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Emotional health: Boundaries

Continuing with my Healthy and Strong theme, I want to talk about emotional health.

I think our emotional health is easy to dismiss. We stuff/ignore/invalidate our emotions. We try to pretend everything is fine and then substitute or numb out with food later.

A particularly tough area for me is healthy boundaries. It is a little embarrassing for me to admit this. I thought I had really good boundaries but I realized a couple of things:

I am prone to taking on other people's feelings and making decisions for them. For example, my mother-in-law appears tired. Therefore, I assume she is exhausted and unable or unwilling to help care for the baby in the evenings. I overexert myself trying to care for the baby by myself, running myself into the ground in the process. In reality, my mother-in-law was a little tired but totally fine and willing and able to help care for the baby. By making this decision for her, I ruined my night and made for an awkward/tense evening.

I overpersonalize. Example: my coworker is having a hard day. I ask her to complete an additional task and she snaps at me. Instead of checking in with her and figuring out what the heck is happening, I become defensive and avoidant, assuming she doesn't really like me. Totally rational, right?

This also leads into another boundary issue, or cognitive distortion: black and white thinking. I either like you or I don't. I have a hard time with gray areas or liking someone in pieces (as opposed to having to like all aspects of their personality in order to accept them). If I think you're mad at me, I shut down and shut you out. I used to think the wall I put up was a good boundary when, sadly, it is just a defense mechanism for mistrust or discomfort that helps no one.

It's hard to open up. It's hard to feel our feelings and also let others know how we are feeling. It's much easier to eat our feelings or self-abuse in some fashion. I think self exploration can be a really powerful tool towards healing emotional hurts or insecurities and opening up in a safe, comfortable way.

Monday, February 11, 2013

"Healthy and Strong"

Over the weekend, I realized several things.

1. I like to eat. I always have liked to eat. I enjoy food and snacking and desserts and fun foods. Dieting makes me very cranky and it makes me sad to watch others restrict and shame themselves over what they eat.

2. I am not living up to my full potential when it comes to exercising. I admit it, I am a tad on the sedentary side. I love just curling up and reading a book or loafing in bed watching my favorite tv show. Exercise and physical fitness has never been a thing I thought I was good at or really wanted to do. However, I think moving my body and keeping it active and physically strong is very important. To work towards this, I have picked up the Couch to 5K program to start!

3. I am very focused on being a good role model for my daughter. I don't want her to see me dieting or exercising only for aesthetic purposes. I want her to see me taking care of myself in a moderate, healthy, and vibrant way while still enjoying every bit of life.

Ergo, my new motto: Healthy and Strong

Not thin, not lean, not modelesque. Strong.

I am hopeful that this will give me a good source of motivation and inspiration besides simply my physical appearance and also help me teach her positive body image, intuitive eating (along with a little joyful eating) and enjoying moving her body in a non-punitive way.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Conversation with a coworker: body image

Coworker: “I am down to the weight I want to be but I still have this extra bit here and here (grabs hips and thighs). My pants just don’t fit right.”

Me: “Perhaps you should buy new pants.”