Have you ever experienced a “shift” in yourself and you have no idea how or why it happened? You may have struggled your whole life with something and then it seems like suddenly, the struggle is gone and you are FREE.
I know it must be God’s grace when that happens. What else could it be?
I have struggled all my life with my weight and being obsessed with getting on the scale, even though I was never really overweight. As I look back over the years, it seems like I tried every kind of fad diet around. I always wanted to be thinner than I was. When I lost weight, I felt good about myself and when I gained weight, I didn’t feel good about myself. I constantly compared myself to others and how thin they were.
When I was about 12 years old, every week I accompanied my mother to the doctor and was prescribed diet pills. As sick as this sounds, it almost felt like a bonding experience. The sad part was that I was not overweight and have no idea why my mother thought I needed diet pills. That went on for several years and I remember driving to the doctor to get my own diet pills when I was 17 years old. It is truly a miracle and I am grateful that I never became addicted to the pills and stopped using them on my own.
So here it is 60 years later and I was still struggling with body image and getting on the scale. Even though I understood intellectually that it came from being prescribed diet pills at a young age, I couldn’t seem to move beyond it. It was like I needed to be a certain weight to feel loved and valued.
It didn’t matter that I now had a husband who loved my body just as it was. I prayed and meditated and affirmed that I loved my body just as it was. Despite this, every few days I found myself needing to get on the scale and it was always the same feelings. If I gained 2 or 3 pounds, I didn’t feel good about myself and if I lost 2-3 pounds, I felt good about myself. It felt like a vicious cycle that I just couldn’t break no matter what I did.
I didn’t want to be attached or obsessed with being the perfect weight, but didn’t know what to do about it other than pray and ask for help. I came to a place of acceptance (even though I didn’t like it) that this was something I would struggle with for the rest of my life.
I don’t know what happened or how it happened (other than God’s grace), but I no longer have the need to get on the scale and see how much I weigh. I now know that the number on the scale is just a number and has nothing to do with my self-worth or how lovable I am.
I can’t tell you how FREE I feel after all of these years of struggling and not feeling thin enough or good enough. The only way I can describe my new attitude is that “IT DOESN’T MATTER ANYMORE.” When you have struggled with something for almost all your life and made it so important and now it doesn’t matter, it is a tremendous relief.
I can see this attitude of “IT DOESN’T MATTER ANYMORE” seeping into other areas of my life. I am not taking things personally and am able to let things roll off my shoulders more easily. I am able to recognize my ego thoughts more quickly and see the truth. I love my new attitude! There is so much that doesn’t matter that I have made matter during my lifetime. I have given my power away and lost my peace by wanting to please everyone and wanting to be perfect.
As I reflected on this, I would like to share what DOES MATTER TO ME. My relationship with Spirit is number 1 and to know that I am in alignment with God’s will and am a vessel of love in all of my relationships every day is what matters. I want to remember that I am Love and that Love is all there is. I want to remember that I am ONE with God and there is no separation. I want to remember that I am always guided and protected when I trust and surrender.
Love wants us to be free, to love ourselves just as we are (with all our imperfections). I am grateful that I didn’t give up and kept trusting in the power of Love to heal me and free me. Is there an area in your life that you need God’s grace to heal and free you?
I experienced something this week that brought me back to my family of origin, if you will. Growing up in an alcoholic/dysfunctional home, I learned certain behaviors that I wasn’t aware I was still exhibiting in my adult life, until now.
For example: If my father confronted my mother about something she did, she would deny it and then turn it around about something she didn’t like in him. They would end up arguing about what he said to her and the problem that was brought up in the beginning was never resolved.
When I confronted my ex-husband (who was not an alcoholic) when he forgot to bring the milk home after he said he would, he would say, “Mrs. Saint, you never forget anything, do you?” I would then defend myself and we didn’t address him not bringing home the milk.
I still get defensive sometimes, especially when I “PERCEIVE” that someone I love is making a judgment about me or they don’t approve of something I‘m doing or not doing. Talk about giving your power away because I know what others think of me is none of my business.
Here is what happened with Larry and I. I love to listen to soft music playing in the background when I am in the house. I feel comforted, relaxed and peaceful.
For the most part, Larry likes quiet. Since we are both living in the same house, I respect his need for quiet and keep the music quite low. I don’t like the sound of the TV playing, but that doesn’t bother him. He loves to eat his lunch in the TV room to unwind and relax. That has not been a problem for us because I like to sit outside on the lanai looking at the ocean.
When he asked me this question, “Do you think you are getting enough”quiet” with the music playing all the time?” I didn’t blink an eye and came at him with a vengeance. I not only REACTED but ATTACKED him and said, “What do you mean by that? What do you think I do when I sit outside every morning? I have plenty of quiet time. I like the music playing in the background because it relaxes me and makes me feel peaceful.”
Instead of not reacting or taking it personally and just listening to his perspective, (which was not right or wrong), when he asked me the question, I turned it around just like the alcoholic turned things around when confronted about a behavior. I said, “I don’t like the TV playing and see you in there for hours at a time. I don’t judge you or complain about that.”
Later that evening, I realized how defensive I was and apologized for my behavior. He accepted it and were both able to let it go. As I thought about it and prayed about it the next morning, I realized that my reaction was so strong not only because I felt judged by him, but because it didn’t appear that he trusted me to know what was good for me That was the bigger issue for me.
I know it shouldn’t make a difference because it was only his perspective and that doesn’t make it right or wrong. Even if I am being judged by another, that doesn’t mean that I have to defend myself or make myself wrong. I can’t tell you how many years I did that to myself
I brought it up to him again because it didn’t feel settled and because communication is so important to the both of us. I said, “Do you think you were being judgmental about me playing the music?” He said, “No, I don’t think it was judgmental, but just an observation.” It is understandable that we both have different needs and perspectives and we are learning to communicate and respect each other in that way.
As we discussed it further, he realized that he sometimes likes the music playing, but not all the time in the house. He wanted me to turn the music off when I was outside or left the house, which I agreed to do. That was very different from, “Do you think you are getting enough “quiet” with the music playing?” Rather than saying what he wanted – to have the music off when I am not in the room, he projected it onto me that I wasn’t getting enough “quiet” time.
I feel like this was an “awakening” for me because I had no idea this behavior that I learned in childhood was still playing out. I want to be open, to listen and not defend myself and take things personally. With God’s grace and my willingness to change, it will happen
Lately I’ve been having trouble discerning what to write about. Usually I have an idea that’s been floating around for a while and the words just start coming. It hasn’t been that way the last couple of weeks. When we decided that I would contribute to Pat’s blog there was an understanding that I would try but I didn’t want to start stressing out if I had nothing to contribute.
Last week I contributed and the week before that I did not. This week my thoughts have been pretty scattered and I felt I had nothing to contribute, so I informed Pat that I wouldn’t be writing. She was fine with that and told me not to worry about it but suggested that I could perhaps share what I was experiencing.
When I decided that I wasn’t going to write the blog, a funny thing happened. My ego started having a ball with this. It started with, “Hey, you have a responsibility to contribute and you are not living up to your responsibility. Pat can’t depend on you. What about the people that look forward to reading your stuff every week? You are letting them down. Is this process too difficult for you? Is there too much soul searching for you? Is it too difficult? Do you just not want to do the work?”
I don’t want this to sound like it’s a “poor me, poor me” because it isn’t but it is very hard work to strip away all the defenses and perhaps knock down some walls and let others see how vulnerable I am. In all honesty, this worlk has to be done week in and week out if someone wants to contribute to a blog like this. In the end it’s worth it because whether anyone reads it or not, I learn a lot about myself, that I didn’t know before.
Pat shared with you her reaction to my comment about having music playing all the time and my inquiry if she had enough quiet in her life. Well, I said it, so I have to do the work to understand why that makes any difference to me. After doing some work on it I realized that what I really wanted to communicate is that from my perspective it is easier to hear the silent voice of God when we have silence. The lesson I learned is “Larry that’s your perspective, keep it to yourself.”
I know you all have had similar experiences in a friendship or relationship, it’s not always easy. If we can learn more each day how important love, compassion, patience and forgiveness is we will have a happier life together.
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