Write Seven Posts in Seven Days, she said. It Will Be Fun, she said.
You know, Jen, when I hear the words “seven days,” this is what I think of:
One is a horror movie, the other a grating ear worm. This does not bode well for my writing enthusiasm.
But since it’s been forever since I blogged, and I often feel really guilty for not blogging, and I often start posts and don’t finish them because I’m too concerned with whether or not I’m making sense or my writing is any good, and I know from experience that just sitting down and writing without really worrying about being any good actually helps you write more and write better, I figured, okay okay, I will write seven posts in seven days.
So here is —
When last we spoke (or rather, I spoke and you listened… or you read… or maybe you just got a couple paragraphs in and decided to do something more productive with your time, like clean hair out of your bathtub drain…), I was trying to decide what sort of resolutions I wanted to tackle this year. And I decided on New Year’s Day to go on a diet. Then I posted my intention on Facebook, because once you say you’re going to do something on Facebook, well, you have to do it!
I’ve had a bit of back-and-forth success over the past two months, and I’ve lost about 13 pounds so far and am feeling really good about reaching my goal of losing a total of 80 lbs. by the end of 2014.*
If you’re a longtime reader of my blog (or if you’ve spent any time poking around in the archives), you know that for many years I passionately hated diets. For a long time I just could not diet because of what it did to my thoughts and emotions. Like most women, my self-worth is tied to how I look, but it’s also tied to how I perform, and my crippling fear of failure kept me paralyzed when contemplating trying anything new, especially something quantifiable, like dieting or weight loss.
So I just avoided it. Occasionally I would think about maaaaybe trying to lose weight but as soon as the crazy wound up I stepped waaaaay back. You might say that’s not the best way to deal with the things that scare us, and maybe you’d be right in other circumstances, but I think I did the right thing.
I focused, instead, on learning (not just saying it but really getting it) that what I look like, whether I am fat or fit or physically desirable, has nothing to do with what I have to offer the world.
Beyond that radical idea, even, I realized that what I have to offer has nothing to do with what I can actually DO for someone else. I don’t have to earn anyone’s approval or love.
I started out in life as valuable, because I am a person, made in God’s image. And what I accomplish, or don’t accomplish, does not add to or subtract from my value.
Yay, right? YAY!
But beyond that, even…
I started to realize that when I am focused on what I lack I tend to compare myself to other people (women especially) and look for ways that they are “better” than me or I am “better” than then, silently passing judgement on their looks and weight and what I thought those physical characteristics said about them as a person.
And I suppose that it’s no big surprise (though I didn’t realize it until I got about halfway through writing this post) that the more accepting I became of myself, the more accepting I became of others.
And when I am kind to myself, I am able to be kinder to my family and friends. And complete strangers. People I don’t know and don’t understand and find very difficult and frustrating.
You see, that’s the thing about being harsh and unforgiving. When we hold ourselves to impossible standards, when we are unforgiving and angry with ourselves all the time, it darkens our relationships with others.
So that’s how I ended up here – finally trying to change my outside because I finally – actually – mostly like who I am on the inside.
* Before anyone asks, yes, I really do need to lose about 80 lbs. My starting weight on January 1 was 222 lbs., which makes my goal weight about 142, well within the projected “healthy” range for my height.