Posted by: Judy | March 25, 2015

Struggling to change…

A bit of stream of conscious writing:

I read about people who change 180 degrees. I can’t actually change that much without going in a direction I don’t want to go. However, I’ve often hoped for a change that is more noticeable than the tiny steps I’ve taken.

I can’t help but wonder if I’m fighting the change I want or am I fighting recognizing the changes I’ve made? Am I fighting who I am? Maybe a little… maybe a lot.

I’m afraid of being wrong. Still. I feel like a broken record on this one.

I’ve changed a lot, and yet, in so many ways, I remain the same…

Have you ever considered that you managed to hold onto your true self, through it all, and that’s why you haven’t seen the anticipated major changes?

I am who God says I am, and I’ve never stopped believing that.

Remember that core of steel? The one you talk about in your book. Maybe you didn’t really believe it. Do you now?

You spend a lot of time wondering if you’re hiding from yourself. In a way, you are… the confusion hides your uncertainties.

The confusion is easier for me to face than the uncertainties. Confusion can be sorted through. It’s tangled with curiosity. Uncertainty requires acquiring faith and knowledge. There’s an underlying anxiety. Sometimes it requires I stand when I’m afraid I may be wrong.

Confusion isn’t as much about right and wrong. It still allows for gathering information. While uncertainty means I have the information but don’t know what to do with it. It means standing, one way or another.

With confusion, no decision may be needed.

Uncertainty demands the next step be taken, left or right or straight ahead or perhaps even turn around and retrace my steps.

It may be a simple matter of semantics. Welcome to the labyrinth of my mind.

Then there are the times when confusion and uncertainty are intertwined.

I was taught to doubt myself. I’ve done pretty well at unlearning some of those habits, but I’m nowhere near perfect. Not even close. I still have a lot to learn. This isn’t a bad thing.

However, I was taught that being wrong wasn’t simply horrible but unforgivable. I was expected to know the answer the instant the question was asked. If I didn’t “ARRIVE” at the proper conclusion fast and right, then I was punished for being wrong, late, lazy, inept…

This all sounds a bit insane as I re-read it.

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Responses

  1. Maybe you can look at it as making improvements on yourself rather than changing? Semantics but it does feel a little more positive and doable.

    • You’re right. It does feel different.

  2. This one is tough to articulate, but I’ll give it a try. What I was thinking as I read this is that self-awareness can work both FOR you and AGAINST you.

    When we’ve devoted a large chunk of time and energy towards trying to improve the quality of our lives, and we see noticeable results, whether that be of a physical or psychological or emotional nature, then it’s impossible to deny that we’re obviously moving forward, and we are rightfully filled with a sense of accomplishment. With that being said, when we also see evidence that we have plenty of room for improvement, either because we’re trying to reach some self-determined goal or some benchmark for what we consider as successfully healthy, and we keep falling short of achieving that result, then we seem to revert back to being our own worst enemy. We berate and blame and beat ourselves up for what feels like a dismal failure.

    For instance, I spent an entire lifetime believing that the true mark of whether or not I was “better” (as opposed to broken) was tied to whether or not I was able to manage my weight. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that my abusive past directly influenced my weight, so, for me, my weight has always been an outward sign of something that was broken inside. Two plus two equals four; being morbidly obese was an obvious indication that no matter how much progress I made on the psychological or emotional side of the equation, if I wasn’t also eliminating the excess weight, then I was still very obviously broken.

    It didn’t matter whether the weight gain was my way of hiding behind layers of excess fat as a way of becoming invisible to others, or if it happened because I used it as a way to reject sexual attention from men, or if it happened because I was just too lazy to exercise, or because it was a very introverted form of slow suicide, or if it was as simple as a persistent and aggressive food addiction. Why I was overweight ended up becoming inconsequential in the overall scheme of things. Trying to solve the “why” factor didn’t seem to have a positive impact on my ability to manage my weight, so at some point, I had to just accept that my weight is still an issue, in that my general health is negatively affected by the excess weight.

    However, in my case, at some point I was also able to disengage from the idea that the only true barometer of my success was tied to whether or not I was able to control my weight. In other words, I found a way to allow myself permission to find some measure of peace and contentment and happiness, even though my weight has remained an issue. I won’t say that I gave up on ever achieving control over my issues with weight, but I removed that criteria as part of the equation when factoring in whether or not I had managed to achieve any measure of success. I gave myself permission to declare myself as healed and “better” (as opposed to broken), even though my weight was still very obviously out of control.

    Put another way, it seems that it wasn’t until I quit worrying about the weight side of the equation that I was finally able to appreciate the other sides of the equation, such as inner peace, and calm, and the ability to experience true contentment and joy, and laughter. Yes, I still work at improving my portion control and finding ways to add more movement into my daily routine, but the overall quality of my life has improved in significant ways, especially in the last couple of years, even though my weight has not improved.

    Some would say (and they often do) that I’m simply fooling myself into thinking that my quality of life has improved. After all, who can really be happy when they are carrying more than a hundred extra pounds around every day? I give thoughtful consideration to the idea that I’m in denial, but truthfully, I think for me, it’s become more about FINALLY understanding that “some day” is today, and that if I wait until all my stars align perfectly before allowing myself to experience the simple pleasures of life, it might already be too late. Maybe the death of both of my parents helped change how I think about what defines success, or maybe it was just a natural response to the inevitable aging process, but these days there is one thing I’m sure of … despite still being more than a hundred pounds overweight, I can’t deny that I’m happier and more at peace with myself today than I’ve ever been at any other time in my life. I won’t be presumptuous enough to declare myself as totally cured, or healed, but some part of me can’t help thinking that having the ability to enjoy life is a fairly decent barometer of success.

    With all that being said, it wasn’t too long ago that I got into one of those deeply thoughtful conversations with someone, and when they asked if there was any ONE thing I could have changed about my life, what would it be, and my answer was that I would have liked to have known what it was like to have experienced life while living in a healthier and more “normal” body, instead of only having experienced life as a morbidly obese person.

    They were shocked; they thought I would surely say that I wished all the abuse had never happened. My answer remains the same. I already know that I can survive the abuse, (because I already have done that), but if I could wave that magic wand and have any wish, it would be to have experienced life in a healthier physical body. I’ve learned to really appreciate my strength and commitment to becoming a healthier person emotionally and psychologically, and I just can’t imagine how unstoppable I might have been if I had had a body that matched my fighting spirit.

    As is usually the case, this comment is entirely too long, but if I had to squeeze it down to just a few words, I would say this: My true success didn’t arrive until I quit reaching for the bar I had set for myself, and instead, accepted that where I am today is good enough, (while still leaving room for improvement as the future unfolds). I may never manage to solve the complicated puzzle that is my weight, but I’ve decided that “some day” is right now, and it’s past time I gave myself the room I need to breathe.

    Hope some of this made sense, and that whatever part of it might help you as you keep moving forward is the part you hear, and that you discard whatever doesn’t work for you. It took me a while to comprehend that “some day” is right now, and once my brain finally accepted that as truth, everything else started falling into place more naturally. I haven’t given up on finding success with my weight, but it no longer defines whether or not I am allowed to be happy right now. I changed my definition of what happy looks like, and for me, that has made all the difference.

    • ((ntexas99)) Not too long. You covered so many things I’ve been struggling with but unable to properly express. I need to redefine what happiness is to me. I’ve known this. I’ve talked about this, but I needed the reminder. Thank you so much. Bless you.

  3. I like the improvements rather than change, too. I needed to change my operating system. You never forgot, you stayed together. You stood as my witness that the insanity was not us. You pulled me out of the cookie jar. In my opinion you need to listen to new tapes. The tapes were faulty not you. You are an amazing woman that loves God and believes that Christ is your Savior. You don’t need to change your heart. You already have your values in place and you are adding honor, integrity, sacrifice, kindness, and the list goes on. Hugs. Ruth

    • ((Ruth))

  4. This makes a lot of sense to me. I think abuse trains us to handle confusion and uncertainty in opposite ways (dysfunctional) that it functions in life. I feel more comfortable with confusion b/c I have learned to decipher the needs of my parents when it wasn’t clear. Uncertainty exists in everything and a natural phenomenon in the world. It is a bit odd but I actually learned about uncertainty in business school. There is only enough information in which everyone has access to and that information is enough. Reducing the level of uncertainty is futile (in business) b/c it doesn’t really change the course one would chose. What makes it certain is aligning components to deliver on the course chosen (strategy). Please excuse the length, what re-learning this concept in school showed me was: I am always searching to be more certain, get more data, etc. instead of aligning things that weren’t aligned. I struggle with this b/c I feel the same way, I want to be right and struggle with self-doubt. I still sometimes feel that I’m looking for certainty. xx

    • Oh, one more thing, regarding 180 change. Noticeable change is seen when one changes the course (or a strategy). Changes that are incremental like alignment are not seen in business. They are small steps with plans. The greatest innovations don’t come from the 180 changes. They come from the smallest changes (this is a proven study done in business). xx

      • I hadn’t thought about being more comfortable with confusion because it’s familiar. That makes so much sense.

        “Reducing the level of uncertainty is futile…” I hadn’t considered that. Probably because I was set up to fail… if I could simply cover every possible variable… the impossible standards set by narcissists.

        “The greatest innovations don’t come from the 180 changes. They come from the smallest changes…” This builds on what I’m learning. Thanks so much for sharing this. ((TR))


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