Monday, March 26, 2007

It occured to me...

today, that most women have or have had an issue with weight. And while I would agree that the United States probably has the fattest people in the world, I would also venture a guess that it has most of the unhappiest.

This is a sad thought. We wrap so much of our happiness into our appearance. We care what others think of how we look but do we really examine how we feel about how we look? And what influences our thoughts about our appearance? Media? The comments of strangers or worse yet, family or friends? If we are loving and caring people who do good than can't we be happy? And won't that happiness and contentedness affect the way we eat, thus influencing our weight?

My mom and I were discussing this on Friday while we were driving. I have had issue with my weight for years. Since about junior high. Probably seventh grade to be exact. I had stopped growing around then and I had gained some weight. This is probably about the time my dance teacher told me I was getting heavy. I had never told my mom this before and she was appalled by it. Considering that my former dance teacher had gastric bypass surgery a few years ago and is basically back at the same weight she was prior to the surgery. It's not uncommon for dancers and gymnasts to have issues with weight. But I don't think I did until before junior high. My mom is a graduate student right now, getting a degree in counseling psychology, so she likes to get to the bottom of things. She's been practicing on me for years. So she was trying to get to the bottom of this. Now, she tends to be biased. She will love me no matter what and thinks I'm a beautiful person inside and out regardless of my weight. If I got to be 300 pounds she would probably say something. But she lets me be.

My point is that I have let my weight dictate some many facets of my life. But primarily how I feel about myself and the way I talk to myself. And this is wrong. It's easy to recognize this and difficult to change. I have a number in my head, as many women do, of what I think I should weigh. What I want to weigh. And whether or not it's realistic doesn't matter. It's there. I've decided on it based on a variety and combination of influences. Many of which are probably not realistic either. But it's there nonetheless. And everyday I think about this number and how I'm not there or even close. And how the journey down is long and hard and even I doubt that I can be successful. But still I keep the number close. I stay hopeful and cling to the unreality of being successful. And it's ironic to me that I have accomplished so much, but yet I cannot come to terms with or accept the body God has given me. And this is sad.

It is not just women who struggle with weight. Have you ever seen the Biggest Loser? Men struggle also. Morgan has a number too. And while we can both look at each other and love what we see, we cannot look in the mirror and love what we see. When we look in the mirror at ourselves we see our reflection. Our outward appearance. We don't take into account WHO we are on the inside. Which is the larger part of our beauty. We don't see ourselves as others do. And that's the hard part. I don't think we can. Somehow we all must form a view of ourself that takes into account our appearance and WHO we are. Our morals, our values, our beliefs. At some point it's important to look at yourself and say "I am done beating you up." So often we would not ever say to another person the things we say to ourself. And why is that? Why can't we look in the mirror and say "I love my blue eyes." "My hair looks good today."

So here's my challenge for everyone reading today. This week, each day, tell yourself something good. That you like something about yourself. Either how you look or something you did that satisfies you. If you are like me, a perfectionist, this is even more difficult. But do it anyway. Start small. Praise yourself for flossing your teeth!

Because at the end we cannot go back and change anything. It's not worth living a life filled with sadness. What is it you keep saying Maggie? You are creating your own happiness? I think that's it!

8 comments:

Michele said...

I love your challenge!!! This will be hard for most people to do, but I am up for it!! I am going to try hard and tell myself something nice in front of the mirror instead of the usual negative crap!!! Thanks for putting this in my head Heather!!

Miranda said...

Wow, it seems like I should say something but I don't know what to say. It makes me sad to think that you are sad.. I guess all you can do is try to change one thing at a time. Its easier that way. All I've done is eat one fruit a day. Nothing else has changed. It's too hard to go all or nothing, the failure rate is to high for me. and BTW I think you're great the way you are. And mom would wait till 300 lbs, I'd say something at 200lbs!

Monica M said...

Wow - very inspiring!

melissa said...

this post touches base with me. and I too have let outside appearance dictate a lot of what I do or dont do in life..which may lead to less happiness. I love your challenge, but it will definitely be hard for me ;)

toners said...

What a profound entry. Does it help to know that I completely agree with you? I can't remember being praised at all about my looks by either of my parents, but I can remember as if it was yesterday my dad standing in our kitchen saying, "look at her! what a mess!" and just looking at me with complete disgust. And here I am...

BonnieRose said...

great post heather.... loved it.. and ur right.. I have so many good qualities.. time to focus on some of those as well.. i agree... part of me does wanna lose some weight tho, it's that that will help to give me a longer life, and well.. I wanna be around on this earth a little while longer, u know?? hugs

Maureen said...

qonderful post today Heather. I'm gonna work on your challenge. Its so true. I've had an issue with weight most of my life. I was even called names in foster care by some of the kids. It still hurts deep inside. Thanks for the wonderful words and challenge.

Colleen E said...

Good for you Heather - you said it so well. We all need this message about every part of our lives...and it does stink that weight is such a difficult issue. Hang in there - you're not alone!

LOVE LOVE that turq. blue necklace. So beautifully done.