A balance of Mind-Body-Spirit

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Self Esteem

Julie mentioned this in a previous comment and I am so glad you did, Julie, as I think it is an incredibly important subject. Honestly I think that is the cause of a lot of overeating... feelings of inadequacy and eating fills and emotional void.

Also the media keeps shoving these pictures in our face of a perfect body (skinny) and it starts so young with girls. It is a never ending cycle.

On the UC list (some of you are on) we have been talking about Flylady, who is a woman with a loving method of keeping your home orderly. FLY stands for Finally Loving Yourself. I think this is the best part of all the wonderful things she does.

I know from experience what it is like to beat myself up, compare against others, feel I am not measuring up. She talks about 'finally loving yourself' in giving yourself small goals, and really appreciating your self for what you do do. Forget perfection. Embrace the moment, live life, love your family and all your imperfections.

For me it comes back to being a child of God. He made me. Even if I was the perfect weight and did all I could humanly do to perfect my body, I still would not measure up to the magazines. I have super broad shoulders so look like a linebacker in those cute little cap- T shirts. I have large bony shins and white skin just like my dad and gramma. I have my mother's side German nose, which is knobby on the end. Nothing like J Lo's.

Someone made me this way... who? Why? Am I beautiful? I am to God. I must be or he would not have made me this way! That really has to sink in with me and I have been pondering it ever since faith became important to me, which was a decade and a half after I first noticed I was not really 'beautiful', around age 14.

I also think about St. Paul and his 'affliction', whatever it was. He had one that drove him nuts. Scripture don't tell us what it was. But about 6 years ago when I was really frustrated with dieting and finding my good weight, I shared that with a trusted friend. She said, maybe that is MY affliction, like St. Paul had his! What? Would God use something so superficial as that to reach me? God uses everything. He created everything. He knows every thought, not matter how trivial or silly it is.

Then, I think, it is probably very, very good he did not make me beautiful. I am so selfish now, imagine how vain and uber-selfish I would have been if I was gorgeous and men had been falling all over me. I would have been doomed and never listend for his voice.

So, I think it is about finally loving yourself. I still struggle. I like it when I am trim and dress and clothes fit well. I like to look good. But then I also realize that if I am not that good-looking, it doesn't' matter.. I don't have to look at me... everyone else does! Ever think about that? What we really should want is other people to look great, since we have to look at them! ha ha

But, now, what I am really trying to do is think about the balance- mind/body/spirit

Focus on a balanced life- feed my mind. I know how to do that, and luckily enjoy it. And if we keep great ideas to keep us interested, excited and sharing. (and not bored.. that leads to eating!) It also helps me get outside of 'myself'. There is a larger world than just ME ME ME. :0

Body- Ok, the toughie.. WHY do I want to eat right and exercise?
As I approach 50 this year, there is a shift. I have more friends with health issues. I see parents and other elderly passing away. I see quality of life issues. I know I can't prevent them all, but I want to treat my body as well as I can. For me and my family.

When I was about 30 pounds overweight 2 years ago, the final straw was movement. I could not run around move, play with my kids. I was awkward and I really didn't like that. It was affecting the kind of mom I wanted to be.

So, I want a healthy body that can also give as much to those around me as I can.

Also, I have to admit it, I want to feel good. I have more energy. I have less stress. I can do more. I am happier. I am better to those around me. I know saints have suffered and still were sweet and maybe that is what God wants me to do.... suffer, maybe be really really fat and still learn to be sweet to others. Wow, that would be tough for me. Oops.. I hope I didn't give Him any ideas!

But I also like to be slimmer, because I feel better about myself. Not only slimmer but the weight training you were talkinga bout Julie... I can just FEEL better walking through the grocery stores, like my muscles are working in tandem, smoothly and I am not dragging and off balance. If this makes sense to anyone.

And spirit- the ultimate goal. I would give up the other two for this. I know ultimately I would. But what is God asking of me? He knows I am human and I think I function better if I am healthy. God wants what is good for me. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He wants us to be healthy, but not vain. It is only with his help I can do that.

But, like I said, he didn't make me too beautiful, so I never will get too vain....

Finally (on this tome..lol) I want to say, I really am beautiful. Ok, this sounds weird, but the past years I have been able to look at people and see real beauty in them even if they are not beautiful by worldly standards. I think this is gift from God as I grew up in the midst of pop culture of the 70s and 80s. I think I have learned to see people's souls, to know each one has a beautiful soul that has been tarnished by the world, and the body God gave them is just vessel to carry it.. and even so the body is an image of him. Ever notice how beautiful Mother Teresa is.. when she is really not? Or Mother Angelica?

If I stand next to them, who is the most beautiful?

Wow, did I ramble....what do you all think about beauty and self esteem? Does any of this relate to your thoughts or issues?


Julie said...

Cindy...you've identified the most important point!

I have been 'stirred' too by the same realization that above all, the most important thing is that we are God's and that he made us the way we are...on my part, I'm somewhat guilty that I haven't taken care of what He made in me the way I should have and that's what I'm trying to correct..

Even though I've always 'thought' I wasn't affected by popular culture's definition of beauty...I'm beginning to wonder how much damage, on a subconcious level, there really is...

Physical beauty has never been a priority for me...I've been thinking about this a lot lately...I remember thinking as I a kid or rather 'accepting' at some level that the pretty girls deserved the cutest guy and striking myself off that list, I just continued my merry way...I grew up in Van Nuys,Ca and remember this Armenian girl starting school...she was so pretty...thickest eyelashes (something I always felt very inadequate about in me...funny what gets to us, huh)and long jet black straight hair (my father has Peruvian Indian background...but...nah...I had to get curly tendency frizzy hair that takes forever to grow!). I was only about 8 at the time and I just mentally accepted that this was the epitome of a pretty girl and even though I was 'loved' as a friend by the majority of my peers, I kind of felt...for some strange reason....that she now deserved the best...now the best...in the 8 year old world of mine included...Anthony...he was new to the school too, from San Francisco...Anglo-American, bluest eyes...I used to get along with him like a house on fire but had stiked myself off the 'crush interest' list because I thought he'd never look at me in that light...So I started match-making for these two 'beautiful creatures of mankind'. I was successful to a degree but Anthony used to always like to hang out with me at recess and lunch when he could until he had to move back to 'Frisco. The day after he left, I was approached by one of my closest 'guy' friends who started to tell me off about how badly I'd always treated Anthony...puzzled...I argued my defence and was then told that all I ever did was push him away when he had had a long time crush on ME! (THUMP!)

The memory of this has been 'rewinding' in my mind over the last couple of weeks that I've been trying to deal with 'myself'... Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and like you've mentioned...beauty...or my definition of beauty...is deeper than the surface...

Not wanting to ramble...but...gee...this stirs up so much inside...I see that I've let the wrong self-evaluation and sel-esteem settle deep inside me and I want to deal with it!

I want to be...really... who God made me to be and now that the kids are a bit older, I'm getting the time to stop and think about me and in the end, I can see that these areas that I haven't dealt with are quite obvious to my kids and in a way, if they see that I don't deal with it (which is something I've always told them to do: identify and deal with your problems) then I'm also sending the wrong messages to them.

My daughter especially...she is a gorgeous girl but she has been going through self-esteem and self-respect issues and that has made me reeeeeaaallly start looking at what messages I'm sending her, because it's useless saying one thing and living another.

Similarly, the lethargic...bumper bar feeling I have about myself has gotten to me...Have I allowed the bumper bar for a reason?

I remember not liking the attention of creepy married men that gave me a 'second' look at family parties and while out and about after I turned 13...it used to make my blood curl!You remember..the late 70's early 80's....arrgghh. Then again, I had asked God at age 10 or so, that if he ever really wanted me to get married, that He please give me a man that really loved him and I basically went through my teens not obsessed with finding a boyfriend because I knew in the heart of hearts that God would bring him to me at the right time!

God...has a sense of humour! He not only brings me a husband but a Brazilian one! Brazil! The culture of "BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE"! AGGGGGGHHHH!

I remember looking at my husband in a crowd of guys and again mentally thinking 'ohhh cute' and in the next thought thinking 'he'd never look at me'. Hubby being a country boy and Brazilian had and still has a 'look twice at' physique. He had a terrible childhood of rejection because of an accident to his eye when he was an infant...but I never really 'saw' that... to me, he has the most gorgeous hazel colored eyes...which I love but he grieves because they are the cause of so much pain because of how people react to him!

I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CHUBBY! So...as the years went by it only got worse.The only time I was 70kg which for my body type looked good, was when I broke up from a disastrous first relationship with another Brazilian and had drowned my sorrows in exercise and diet. For the first time in my life...I felt outwardly confident. I even gained myself a husband!

But over the years and the wrong mentality, I let myself go! And it makes me shiver to look at what I see in the mirror.


I developed a lot of insecurities from having endless amount of women looking me up and down with the 'b......iest' expressions then look over to my husband and outrageously flirt with him...like saying...oh get rid of this, look at me! It really is not in my head...they do it all the time! I even had a best friend who lost 40 kgs and whose husband had always treated her badly about her weight...I was so proud of her and her achievement but would you believe that she started to hit on my husband!!!!

I have all these issues that I know that I have to deal with because I know God is allowing them to come to the surface for a reason....like you mention, Cindy, we are mind, body and spirit and I have to let God heal me in all three.

By the way, Cindy! Personally, I think you radiate beauty! Look at you! You are lovely!

Leonie said...

Cindy, love your rants and your pic. I go through stages of not liking then liking myself....Julie, I;ve had people hit on my dh, too. I'm no sex symbol as no one EVER hits on me! lol!..But got into this whole fitness things not for looks but for health and fitness so try to keep that focus...not always easy...

Chris said...

Re: Creepy married men or any men giving unwanted attention. I had the same issue and I find that my weight protects me from this unwanted and stomach churning attention. I wish I could lose my weight and not have to deal with this. Unfortunately we can't control other people's horrible responses. Does anyone have the answer?

Julie said...

Chris....I don't have the answers...but I've often wondered if the 'bumper bar' is a hiding thing, myself!

How do you get over the...call it...fear...

I know that God is more than capable of walking us through this but I guess that's why he puts us together...to help each other understand and work out these things...so we grow in other ways as well!

I want to lose the weight for my own health and enjoyment of life...I know that in the depth of my heart but as I begin to deal with this...these 'concerns' keep coming up...that's why I'm stopping to think that maybe it's a 'red alert' to deal with rather than let it continue 'eating away at me', so to speak!

Like, Chris...I'd love to hear of how any of you have overcome this or are dealing with it...or have read about it!

Leonie said...

I think a focus on health is the issue, not looks - and to be honest, even with losing weight, I am still no sex object so there are still no unwanted advances. My size didn't protect me from anything, there wasn't anything to protect from. Instead, my size was a barrier that ended up working against me, it stopped me from truly being who I am. I wasn't as free to move around and experience the joy of things like cl;imign trees because of my size. Now those things are open for me again. Truly liberating, and not in a looks or sexual sense but in a qua;ity of life sense.....

Cindy said...

I never really had a lot of advances either, even when I was slim, etc. The few I aid have I just find kind of funny now-- one guy I worked for as a college intern tried to trick me into an affair.. and I just know every college coed that worked for him got the same treatment at one time or another.

It really is rather pathetic... though it was rather unsettling at the time I just imagine him about 80 now and pinching the nurses at the old folks home... :9

Leonie said...

roflol!...All your thoughts have been so interesting, that I have ended up posting about them at my blog....

A balance of Mind-Body-Spirit

Thought for the Day

"Good friends are good for your health."

~Irwin Sarason

"Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! And happy people just don't shoot their husbands!"

Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde