Choose To Be Present

Roll call in middle school. The teacher called out names in alphabetical order. When we heard our name, we responded “present.” That may be one of the only times I paid attention in school. Most of my time was divided between talking to my desk-mates, writing and passing notes, daydreaming or doodling in a workbook. I said I was present, but I wasn’t.

A good part of my life was spent trying to improve myself, constantly looking for books with detailed instructions on how to make something happen that I wanted to happen in my life. Mostly it was about losing weight. I thought the weight made me different than others. The only problem was, sometimes I wasn’t overweight, but I still perceived my body as problematic. This was just another way of not being in the present moment.

Mind-drifting and distraction may be a tool that allows us to function in a situation where we feel overwhelmed or unsafe, but we don’t have to stay in this mode. We can choose to live in the present, accepting everything as it happens, even if it is unpleasant or confusing.

When I first tried to be present, I took a hard look at the truth of my life. I saw myself as a person who was just trying to make a decent life the best way she knew how. It was difficult to accept that bad things happen and that I may not be right all the time. I wanted to make everything perfect, not just for me but for my family, for everyone if I could.

I’ve learned that being present is not about trying to be present or mindful as much as it is about allowing whatever happens to just happen. That is, I can allow things to happen without reacting to them or trying to make things the way I think they should be. Even if I think someone else is wrong, I can let them be wrong. I don’t have to judge them, give my opinion or make corrections.

This also means I don’t have to worry about what others think of me. I don’t have to get angry or upset. I can choose to not feel guilty about past mistakes or stupid things I do. The less I react to my behavior and surroundings, the better I can see it for what it really is and make adjustments to bring my life into a healthy state.
I am not suggesting that you can be completely immune to hardship or pain. I am saying you can allow yourself to feel however you feel without determining if it is good or bad. Not judging yourself, or others, is one of the first steps to acquiring a healthy state of mind.

Being in the present is very do-able. But you have to figure out how to accomplish this your way. It’s good to read about how others have overcome obstacles and learned how to be peaceful. But I don’t think there is any one sure way to do this. If you have the desire to live in the present moment, you have already learned most of what you need to know to make it happen. Trust yourself and let it happen.

I used to think that if I accepted myself the way I was at any given moment, then I was settling for something other than my best. But I found I must accept myself the way I am now to find the love and self respect which will push me into my full potential, my best self.

Thoughts on building a core of happiness, click here.

If you struggle with bingeing or overeating – start here

 

It’s not my job to judge everyone, its my job to love them.

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Person In Training

Pita – “I’m tough, Creasy.”

Creasy- “There’s no such thing as tough, there’s only trained and untrained.”

This dialogue is from the movie ‘Man on Fire’.  Creasy, played by Denzel Washington, is teaching nine-year-old Pita (Dakota Fanning) to be unafraid of the sound of the starting pistol as it fires a shot to signal the start of a swimming race.  This scene turns out to be the crux of the movie because, later on, Pita gets kidnapped and her training with Creasy (spoiler) may be what saves her life.

While coping with depression, anxiety and eating disorders, I remember thinking I was tough and resilient.  I figured I could just ‘tough it out’ and eventually overcome my problems, but year after year, I struggled.  I had the desire, the determination, but I had the belief that I was born with certain personality traits, that these struggles were just a part of who I was.

I innately knew my parents didn’t teach me about self-esteem, integrity, or what it took to be successful.  They did the best they could, but they were busy fighting their own demons and trying to make ends meet .  They had the belief they were not meant to be too successful or even too happy.  I followed in their footsteps until I finally realized that just because I wasn’t born with certain qualities or hadn’t been taught them, didn’t mean I could not acquire them at this time in my life.

Many people fall into the category of thinking all they need is toughness and persistence to ‘make it through’ their ordeal.  Each day they hope for a better outcome than yesterday, they think persistence and determination is all that is needed.  Persistence is a great attribute to have, but if you are persistent in going the wrong direction, you will never get where you want to go.

I don’t believe life is made to be “toughed out.”  I believe we are made to thrive and be happy.  And the only thing we need to make this happen is a belief that we can learn how to overcome our weaknesses.  This takes our undesirable behavior out of the realm of shame and puts it, blamelessly, into the realm of acquiring knowledge.  Once you step out of that sphere of guilt and self-loathing, nothing can stop you from obtaining what you need to be happy and healthy.

You can train yourself to be content, to stop bingeing, to love yourself, or anything you desire.  Any attribute you think you lack, you can acquire.  You don’t need to have been born with a special personality, you don’t need to lose weight first.  You don’t need tons of people around you to tell you to ‘hang in there.’  You can do more than just ‘hang in there’.  All you need is the belief that you can teach yourself those life lessons you thought you missed out on, and you can fly.

Assess the attributes you think you need to be successful in whatever you want to do.  Be honest, don’t underestimate your good traits.  Find sources of inspiration and teach yourself to pay attention to the positive messages.  You can be trained or untrained, its up to you.

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“My past has no hold on me unless I let it.”

`buddha words

 

 

 

 

Do You Have What It Takes?

If you’ve read any other posts from this blog, you know I believe anyone can cultivate any trait they desire. You may not believe it just yet, but you were born with the characteristics of integrity, persistence, a positive outlook, a thankful spirit, self-confidence, and many more.  You didn’t miss the boat if you had a crappy childhood or made bad decisions in the past.  You don’t have a character flaw or some defect in your brain. You can cultivate characteristics you desire to be successful in any endeavor you choose.  All you must realize is that you don’t need to DO anything to earn these traits. You possess them already, they are just waiting to be acknowledged.

Success can be defined in many ways.  To some, it’s a great paying job, to others its completion of a creative endeavor, to someone else it may be getting healthy or overcoming a setback.  For me, overcoming binge eating was a huge hurdle. And I’ve had days, in the past, where getting out of bed meant I had a successful day.  But whatever you call success, we all have some common characteristics that make it happen.  It could be hard work, determination, persistence, confidence or desire.  It could be changing a process or creating a daily habit.

Whatever you think it requires to be successful, there is one underlying belief which is the foundation for any positive trait you desire.  This is a knowledge that you are valuable. And I’m not talking about a value that comes from prior successes and accolades from others.  I’m talking about a belief in the core of your being that you are okay, that no matter what happens, you have everything you need to do what you want to do.

You may say, “How can I believe I’m valuable if I feel so unworthy?” or “I feel like I have a hole inside that can’t be filled with anything.”  Well, here’s the revelation- just because you don’t feel worthy or significant doesn’t mean that you aren’t worthy or significant.  Your feelings don’t reflect your value.  They only reflect the thoughts and beliefs you have learned during your experience of life.  And no action on your part, good or bad, will change your inherent value.  You are a valuable human being whether you believe and feel it, or not.

What Happened?

We all start out with confidence as kids, but life happens, and we end up second guessing ourselves.  I remember, in seventh grade, being chosen to represent my school in an oratory contest. I had a month to practice and knew I could win.  I was so excited, I ran home that Friday afternoon and read the speech to my mom.  She promptly told me I would have stage fright.  I know she didn’t mean to quench my enthusiasm, she just meant to warn me that it would be different up on the stage.  But that word ‘stage fright’ stayed with me.  By Monday morning, I had convinced myself that I couldn’t possibly get up in front of hundreds of people because I would have stage fright.  So, when I got to school, I found myself explaining to the nuns why I couldn’t do this.  They quickly dismissed me and found someone else to represent the school.  I was heartbroken and ashamed.

I wouldn’t say this event was the cause for my struggles throughout life, but it was one of a myriad of events that made me question my value.  I found myself thriving on the encouragement and positive feedback from others.  The problem is, when you look for the approval of others, you end up doing things you think they want you to do and not what you were really meant to do.  It took a long time to realize my confidence had to come from inside me, that it was a direct reflection of my inherent value.  All I had to do was see it.

Applying this to my eating disorders, I came to terms that my exterior body was just a fraction of the totality of me.  And my complete persona is different than anyone else on this earth.  I don’t have to fit into anyone else’s idea of beauty or goodness to be a valuable person.  I don’t have to eat what everyone else thinks I should eat.  I just need to eat what I think I want and need and go from there.  Sometimes I eat too much or too little or the wrong things, but I am confident that my body and I will get it right in the long run and I keep chugging away each day.  And whatever happens, I remember this…..I am a child of God. I don’t have to do anything to earn the grace that God offers me. All I have to do is reach out and accept it.

For more information on how to start the binge free process click here

“Confidence may not be what you think it is.  It may not be the self-assurance that you have talent or that everything is going to work out, it may just be the willingness to take a first step and see what happens.” MDphilbeach

Perpetual Motivation?

Just like it’s easier to clean your house when someone is coming to visit, its easier to eat normally when you are properly motivated. But continual motivation does not come from wanting to lose weight or fit into smaller clothes. Appetite overrides those reasons easily. And motivation doesn’t come from disliking your own body or being disgusted with yourself. (why would you want to help someone you don’t like?) Lasting motivation doesn’t even really come from wanting to be healthier or be your best self.

All these things may inspire you to change something in your life. But when there is no substance to back up the initial surge of motivation, each time you start a diet or make a change in your food or exercise habits, something inside you thwarts your attempts. When you feel stressed or things just don’t turn out like you planned, you lose your mojo.

So how do you ‘stay motivated’ to do the right thing?

The truth about motivation is that it is inconsistent. Its very nature is fleeting and unfaithful. We look at others who accomplish what we only dream of and wonder how they stay so motivated. But it isn’t motivation that keeps them going. It isn’t even their routines and habits. It’s much more basic than that. Motivation is just the key that starts the engine, but your beliefs are the fuel that keep that engine running.

Imagine you know a person that gets on your nerves. Maybe they’ve said unkind things to you or kicked your dog, or they burp in public. For whatever reason, you don’t like or respect them. Now imagine they asked you for a really big favor that would benefit them and puts you in an uncomfortable position. Would you be inclined to help them? Probably not.  Someone being mean to you is not a very good motivator for you to do them a favor.  If they had not been mean to you and treated you with dignity and respect, would you be more willing to help them?

It’s the same for yourself, even if you desperately want to change, you will find it difficult to help yourself if you don’t already like who you are here and now. When you are busy berating yourself and feeling guilty for eating or being overweight, you want to change because you are anxious to be a better person. But this anxiety can blind you to the fact that you already ARE an awesome person. You are already one hundred percent good just the way you are. Getting thinner and healthier will make you thinner and healthier, it will not make you any more valuable than you are now.

So, the secret to staying ‘motivated’ is self-acceptance, self-respect and self-love. No amount of eating right or weight loss can give you these things. But if you can realize them now, as you are, you will be able to do the things you set out to do.

Once you stop the guilt and shame, you will be immune to fast food marketers and food pushers. You will be able to walk into a buffet and eat only what you want and not crave anything else. You will be able to walk into the supermarket with a list of foods and not come out with two boxes of donuts that you will demolish on the way home. You will be able to keep cookies and other treats in your panty without being afraid of eating them all at one sitting.

This is a miraculous feeling and it is within your grasp, no matter how abnormal you think you are, no matter what you have eaten in the past and no matter what anyone has told you. It IS possible to eat well without trying to restrict certain foods, without counting calories and without using sugar free and fat free substitutes. When you accept that you are a valuable person just the way you are, you will find you will naturally have what it takes to take care of yourself and your body.

For  more on Binge Free Living click here

 

Be bold. Don’t beg God for favors. Ask once and thank him that it is already on its way. WIN_20180226_10_11_05_Pro