Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fear of Failure: Weightloss

I’ve been thinking about how my personal growth and the issues I have relate to my weight. I think I started off by believing the weight was like a barrier protecting me and hiding me from the outside world; then I thought it might be protection from dealing with the unknown (and known) consequences of being in shape – finally having no excuse to not live my life and possibly dealing with being objectified by men.

Now I have a new thought. Fear of failure. I’ve tried so many times all my life to lose weight. Nothing seemed to ever work. My weight fluctuated unrelated to the effort I was putting into it. SO many times, especially in the last couple years, I tried so hard for months – counting calories and busting my butt at the gym, just to MAINTAIN my weight. That was the worst feeling in the world. It made me feel like a failure. It made me feel hopeless and helpless. It made me feel like I had no control over my life, and no matter how hard I tried, nothing would ever be enough.

I think that is really the issue. I’ve known that I have to just tell myself I want to live a HEALTHY life and not worry about busting my butt – just do things that are sustainable without expecting an outcome. Go for walks every day. Dance and exercise. Eat right. Not to LOSE weight, but to BE HEALTHY. That way I can’t be disappointed. That way I won’t get all stressed out and upset about not losing any weight, and yet I would still be living a healthy lifestyle, and eventually the weightloss would come.

I think that’s an issue I can tackle though. It is a tough one, but it might be a good one to look into. I don’t want to feel like that ever again – feeling so helpless. Working so hard and seeing nothing in results. Having everyone around me try to give me advice that I am ALREADY DOING, and having them not believe me, because clearly if I was actually doing it I would be losing weight. I hate that feeling. I’m practically tearing up right now remembering how that feels.

I know now that the stress and misery of it all was really what was keeping me from being successful. I’d gone to the doctor and of course they had no idea what was wrong – but after doing my own research and everything, I know now that it is a very real thing – whether anyone believes me or not. THAT is my problem. Everyone has their own opinion that they try to shove down my throat – you have to cut back calories; you have to eat organic foods; you have to do XYZ. I keep trying to explain to them that those are not my problems. I’ve had to make an effort over the last couple years to eat MORE because I was punishing myself and my body by not eating enough, which puts your body into starvation mode, which causes you to GAIN MORE WEIGHT. So cutting calories is a stupid suggestion for me. I already eat HEALTHY, so those suggestions are also stupid. Everyone just goes with the generic advice for the average American and with whatever worked for them. PEOPLE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME. I know what problems I have. I know what I’ve tried and what the result was. I already have an issue with people telling me what to do, as if I am completely helpless and can’t make any decisions for myself. The fact that I’m doing everything I can and no one believes me and there are no results leaves me completely deflated and depressed.

That’s the problem.

So now I need to find it within myself to not be afraid of another failure. I need to put that same amount of effort in that I did once before, but I need to not be so hard on myself and not start getting stressed out and anxious about the results. But I’m scared. I’m truly terrified to try to put my all into this again, because it never works. All that hope, all that logic… and no results. Completely demoralizing. I know that’s a negative tape I am playing in my head – but that is what my history has proven to me. My tapes say, “Don’t even try. You’ll just get depressed and you won’t see any results, and when you give up, even more weight will pile on. You were meant to always be fat. Live with it.”

It’s actually a really emotional thing for me to be thinking about. Like I said, I am truly scared. I am scared to fail that badly after putting so much effort and all my heart and soul into something like that. Logically, now I know it is just a FEELING and that feelings can be overcome. When I get discouraged, I have to process that emotion, disprove it and keep going. Winners never quit, and quitters never win. If I stay with it long enough, it will work. Maybe for me it takes longer. Maybe for me it truly takes a completely irrational and illogical amount of time to lose weight. But it will happen. I can achieve the body I always dreamed of having. I just have to boost my morale and keep going, and I have to acknowledge that I can’t push myself too hard too soon and I can’t expect results right away or even in a specified amount of time. I have to take time COMPLETELY out of the picture. I am working to have a fit body. Time and weight have nothing to do with that. Time and a number on a scale have nothing to do with it. They are irrelevant. It’s the goal I’m working towards, and I know how to get there. That’s it. That’s all that matters.

So I’m going to be working on getting beyond this fear so I can really bust through the weight and the mental and emotional issues that are attached to it. You know what, I bet if I can conquer this, my self-esteem will be so much better – and not because of the way I will look, but because of what I will have learned about myself and my mental and physical strength.

Do you have any fears like mine that are keeping you stuck?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Voices in my Head

It’s always amazing how there are constantly new lessons to learn, new realizations to make and more growth to be had. So many light bulbs have gone off since my last post. However, today I’m going to write about the glaring problem I have right now.

The voices in my head.

No, I’m not losing my mind (or am I?). The voices I’m talking about are the negative tapes that play over and over in my head. The ones that don’t acknowledge my victories and strengths, and only attack me over made-up imperfections and events that happened in the past that I can no longer do anything about.

I’ve noticed lately that I am very cruel to myself. I never acknowledge my own successes. If I accomplish something amazing, I immediately start attacking myself over whatever task comes next. The other day I knocked out a dozen chores in one evening, and yet when I was getting ready for bed all I could think about was how I need to do more, and I started making myself feel guilty and stressed out about completing more tasks. I do this ALL THE TIME. It isn’t even necessary. I’m not lazy. I’m not slacking and irresponsible. The urgency I am stressing myself out with is NOT NECESSARY. Easy enough to say…

This week I’ve been trying to focus on pampering and loving myself, mentally. I’ve tried to tell myself what a great job I did and relish in my accomplishments before nosediving into the next one. It’s been a bit like pulling teeth. I can get maybe a second of relief before I start fighting my mind – the ongoing praise vs criticize battle.

I know a lot of this comes from how I was raised, but it is my responsibility to resolve it now. I have to trust myself that just because I am giving myself some slack and praise does not mean that I am turning into a lazy bum. It’s almost like I have to convince myself that I care and that I’m NOT lazy by beating myself up. IT’S ME! I ALREADY KNOW! I DON’T HAVE TO PROVE ANYTHING TO MYSELF! THAT’S RIDICULOUS!

I don’t know that I’ve had a huge amount of success at this quite yet, but I am definitely aware of it and taking strides to grow in this area. Even just knowing it helps a little.

Are there any negative tapes playing in your head that are no longer serving you? Can you make sure you are aware when it happens so you can take measures to replace the negative tapes with something better?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Make New Friends, But Keep The Old

I made such a small but powerful realization today. Here I am, working on my personal/spiritual growth, thinking deep down, “Now all I have to do is make some friends…”

Why do I keep thinking I have to start from scratch?? Why don’t I try to reconnect with people from my past who I know and like that just slipped away due to graduation and location changes? Why don’t I go visit them and work on THOSE relationships instead of focusing completely on making new ones?

I let them slip away because I’m horrible at keeping in touch with people. That’s because I always feel like no one wants to hear from me. I leave it to THEM to contact ME because I don’t feel WORTHY of their attention or time. I don’t want to bother them. I figure they didn’t care much about me anyway, and their silence just further proves that point.

Now I know better. Now I have the confidence and awareness that I lacked back then. Now I understand that people aren’t just going to randomly line-up at my door TRYING, BEGGING to be my friend, and that that’s OKAY. That’s not how things WORK. For starters, I had such a “woe is me, no one understands me, no one cares about me” attitude that… guess what… they may have sensed it! I was a sweet, fun girl and all, but that kind of attitude is just not worth the effort. Honestly I have no idea how they perceived me –that (the “woe is me” stuff) is not what I ever heard back through the grapevine, but who knows. Who cares. I need to reach out. I can’t always wait for others to reach out to me. I can’t always deny myself everything. I need to act and to bring abundance to me by GIVING the abundance of my love and attention that I WANT to give and am just afraid to.

So I’ve started. I’ve started contacting people I used to know and like very much, and I’m reaching out to them to see if they’d like to catch-up.

I need to prepare myself for the fact that they may not want to. This is a huge step for me in my personal growth, but just because I take the correct steps does not mean I get the outcome I desire. As I finish writing this post, it has been half a dozen hours or more since I sent out my 5 texts with only one response. Maybe they think it’s weird to hear from me. Maybe they think I want something from them. Or maybe they are just busy at the moment. Either way, I have to remain strong through this. This is exactly what I feared. But this is the correct, fulfilling and loving way to live, and I can’t attach myself to the outcome of this action. I genuinely would love to catch up with everyone I contacted. I miss them. But sometimes it just isn’t in the cards. Either way, I have to not get discouraged or sad. I have to not tell myself, “See? I was right. They didn’t care about me and they didn’t want anything to do with me.” I have to remind myself not to feel that way, because it just brings back the old feelings and old habits. What I’m doing is right, and is authentic, and if they don’t respond, that is okay. I did my best. I can move forward with an open heart and make room for new relationships, and I can know that I didn’t completely neglect the old ones. Even if I was late, it was better than never, and it comes from a genuine place. That’s all you can do. I have to love and support myself and remember that this is all a journey. I am making progress and this way of life will benefit me and others. That’s all that matters. I matter, I am worthy of love, and it will be okay, regardless.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Workplace Lessons Learned and Tested

As always, the Uni-verse is testing me on the lessons I’ve been learning. Speaking confidently; Not saying “I don’t know”; Dealing with issues when things go wrong and having confidence in myself and knowing I can fix it and it will work out; Thinking on my feet and not getting frustrated; Not feeling shame. All of these things are being tested, and you know what? It feels like such a non-issue now. None of these tests are a big deal to me now – and that’s exactly the point!

I feel so much more confident in big meetings. I don’t feel like everyone is testing me and waiting for me to fail. I have faith in myself. I know that I know what I’m talking about. I’m not worried about the perceptions of others as much, as in, I’m not afraid of it. I feel like a true equal in the conversations, and you know what, nothing changed – except for my perception of myself.

When I enter a new situation, I always feel so small. I don’t want to speak out of turn, say the wrong thing, touch on a sensitivity or open myself to questions I’m not prepared for. Sure, in the very beginning, on a new project or a new job, you may need to take some of those issues into account – but not as severely and not for as long. (I’ve been complimented on my ability to know when to talk, and more importantly, when NOT to talk. So it’s a fine line between right-on-the-money and too quiet and timid.) I’m now WAY out of that realm.

For a while I was also getting frustrated because I knew what I was talking about but it felt like no one was acknowledging it. I had a lot of “I SAID that!” moments. Here’s my advice on those moments. A lot of things come into play. First of all, you have to notice how you speak. You can’t speak timidly. If you speak timidly, either it won’t register that you said something, or they’ll hear your attitude more than your words and they’ll dismiss it because you are not confident enough. Second, sometimes the group is not on the same page with you. You may have solved the problem, but you are 5 steps ahead of them, so they can’t grasp how you got there. That’s why 10 minutes later someone else says the same thing and everyone thinks that person is brilliant. Work on analyzing the level of the discussion so you can quickly and concisely LEAD everyone to your idea. Context is everything.

Stay positive when there are problems. Not just for your sake, and not just for your boss’ sake, but because it is the truth. Think of it as “it could have been worse”, and how whatever mishap happened prepared you for next time. If you’re a perfectionist like me, every tiny insignificant imperfection is worth crawling into a hole and folding up into the fetal position. Those types need to remember this trick. It could be worse; it isn’t the end of the world; you can fix it; it helps you prepare for next time; it will be OKAY. And in the business world, the best thing for your career and your sanity is to remind everyone else of this fact, as well. It’s not lying. It is a perspective, and a perspective that gets everyone back on track and on target, away from running around screaming like chickens with their heads cut off. Remember, worry is wasteful. Worry and blame accomplish nothing. Instead of hating yourself, expend the thought and energy working on a solution. So while your colleagues are sitting around crying and pointing fingers, you’ll have actually solved the problem.

Another thing I’ve worked on a little bit is thinking under pressure. I’ve noticed I’m quite bad at that. I knew I couldn’t work with someone standing over my shoulder. ALL my attention is on them, what they are looking at, what they are thinking, what they might be about to say, etc. and I just can’t get my head back in the project I am working on. I also started doing that Lumosity site with the games that help train your brain in memory, speed, problem solving, etc. There was this one game where raindrops would appear at the top of the screen and move slowly down to the virtual water at the bottom. Each raindrop had a simple addition, subtraction, multiplication or division problem. The game was easy until multiple drops start falling around the same time, and they started coming faster. At one point, my brain just shut off. I was mentally paralyzed. It was too much. Too much pressure. That was interesting to witness in an isolated scenario like that. That’s probably not a good thing. So I need to work on that. Luckily, the Uni-verse heard my plea and gave me a small test and victory on that front. I had to do some troubleshooting at work with someone remotely, which is definitely thinking-on-your-feet stuff mixed with needing to figure out what the problem is with very little information. I NAILED it! I did have to calm myself a little at one point, but it wasn’t a problem, it was just an, “okay… breathe…” and that was it. So I think I’m making some progress there, too.

I actually have a tip on the whole thinking-on-your-feet thing. Extroverts may have a grasp on this, and may be the trick they use all the time. Here’s the trick: Let’s say normally you hear something and you need to sit and process it quietly, piecing it together in your head until you can basically SEE it. Then once you HAVE it you can continue forward. So a trick I used was to say the confusing thing back to the person. It doesn’t even have to be confusing, it can be a process that you’re trying to track down a snag in. As you say it out loud, ideas may come to you. It will also allow the other person to help clarify parts that may be vague or confusing. The reason I brought up extroverts is because I feel like extroverts just repeat the same things that have been said in the conversation over and over in different ways, haha. I’m half kidding. But seriously. It seems that way a lot of the time. Maybe that’s just them processing their thoughts? Maybe it’s a trick we introverts should try out!

Have you learned any lessons lately that the Uni-verse is now testing you on? Did you pass?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Affirmations: Stand Behind Your Words

One of the affirmations I need to remind myself of is to stand behind my words. I seemed to care a lot about whether people misinterpreted what I said or, to some extent, if they disagreed. I felt as though if I had just worded it correctly to begin with, whatever negative reaction wouldn’t have happened. So I’d get mad at myself for not communicating correctly, and then try to “fix” what I said.

That’s not the proper or loving way to view it. Stand behind your words. You meant what you said. What you said is not wrong. If they misinterpreted it, you can ADD to what you said. But don’t build a habit of doubting yourself and thinking that you did something wrong. This way, instead of feeling like you failed and then trying to desperately backtrack and fix it, you can move FORWARD and continue the conversation while remaining strong and confident instead of defeated. Move forward instead of trying to recreate the past.

This has become more and more helpful not only in my career but in life. I can tell I get less flustered when people misunderstand, try to correct me (or so they think), etc. because instead of feeling like I’m being put down, I know that I MEANT what I said and I can take the negativity in stride and continue speaking confidently.

That’s the important thing – not letting it fluster you and make you want to stop talking. That’s what it did to me before. I felt defeated. I felt like no one was getting what I was saying and I wasn’t saying things correctly. I made it about myself – something I was doing wrong. I turned it into shame; that I’m a failure at communicating. That was NOT what was happening. We speak from our own perspective at the angle we view the world in. We can’t expect to perfectly present the information to someone else’s angle and viewpoint right off the bat. If they don’t understand right away, it isn’t you. You are not a failure. Analyze their reaction to decide where their viewpoint is coming from, and then add to what you said. Don’t DEFEND yourself in your statement; just continue forward making your point. There’s a difference.