SO… HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
We have officially started our new lives. We all have our resolutions stated, our diets, our business plans, our ideas for what ever our dreams may be. I have heard a lot of talk on radio stations, and of course the memes are in full swing, but you know what I mostly noticed. It’s all negative, self deprecating, designed to fail talk.
I don’t know what it is about the human ego, but we seem to be fundamentally designed to accept failure. Most people are much more comfortable with self deprecation than we are accepting a compliment. If someone says, “wow, you look great, have you lost weight?”. The receiver automatically feels uncomfortable and makes up some excuse about being sick, or “maybe a little”, or brushes it off as if it’s no big deal. But it is a big deal. Anything that you work hard at is.
For some reason, especially with Americans, there is something innately in us to underachieve. It’s actually the opposite of what the American Dream is all about so I don’t really get it. People are proud of how little they do and/or accomplish. As if being sick and broke is a mark of freedom. They are free from the rat race, or free from the socialized ideals of what’s important. They’re not going to be one of those people who eat healthy, or God forbid RUN. They aren’t going to be one of those people who works to get the promotion or start their own companies.. those people clearly have an ego problem.
I don’t know if it’s all the old 80s-90s movies that made the bad guy the person with an unhealthy need to win the poster-person for ambition so now anyone that wants to make themselves better must clearly be the jerk who thinks they’re better than everyone else.
And there’s a certain amount of outside sabotage that goes along with it. Those who are trying to “better themselves” are being told that it’s OK to be fat… it’s OK to be you… no being fat will kill you. It doesn’t make you less of a person, but it’s not OK. Or it’s OK to be minimum wage worker.. if you try for that promotion then you’re trying to somehow leave other’s behind.
Even those who are successful in whatever aspect of their lives still feel the need to put down anyone who wants start. Slim, healthy people make fun of overweight people who are beginning to exercise. As if “who does that person think they’re fooling?”. Why do they have to be fooling anyone? Why does their life choices to try to be better at something automatically put others on the defensive.
I saw an article about a woman who spent 100 days facing her fears. She later did a TEDtalk about it. I was amazed when I saw the comments how many people put her down because they didn’t agree that her fears were important enough. That her doing things that others do all the time shouldn’t make her important. Why not? Why can’t she be important just by being important? To quote The Doctor (Who) “In 900 year of time and space, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important”.
Why is life more about keeping other’s down than helping each other up? Perhaps everyone resolution should be to be more inviting and supportive of others, bringing up the status quo instead of bringing everyone down. Just a thought.
I have a friend who has been stuck in a rut for some time now. He took some advice from another life coach that he talked to. (It’s not good to coach your own friends…. they’ll get mad at you for calling them on their crap) This person gave him a list of different things to do for two weeks to “cleanse his bad luck” or karma or what have you.
This person uses modes that I don’t use myself, things like lighting certain colored candles and pouring salt, it’s all very pagan traditions… which is fine, just not my cup ‘a. Anyway… the whole point is to get the person to try new things and to spend more time in their own head. There is a lot of sitting in silence and meditating.. which I do believe in.
One of the days he had to eat as a vegan. No animal products. No meats, no cheese, no butter. He had no idea what was left. He was at my house for the evening, kind enough to watch my son while I had to go out for a bit. I told him that I had some pasta that he could have. His response… “Sauce has meat”…. um… not all sauce. Not my tomato and basil sauce… and “Why is the spaghetti different colors?”. It’s a tri-colored, veggie based pasta….. Nope… he wasn’t going to try it.
Now the whole point of this exercise is to try new things. To get out of your own head. To believe that things can be done differently. Not eating animal products for one day is not going to change your health or do anything for you except… get you to think outside the box and try something new. That’s how we change.
Now I love my friend, and this is not written to knock him.. as I said, never coach a friend, they will take criticism as an insult, but it is to point out that you only get out of coaching what you put into it. You can only change your life as much as you’re willing to change yourself. I have had this problem myself for years. I had spent over a decade denying my habits and my weight issues. I spent many years in crappy relationships hoping the other person would change. I am in no way perfect, but since losing my father I have learned that you get from life what you put into it. I want my son to learn the good habits and the best self thoughts.
If you want to be healthy.. you have to BE HEALTHY. If you want to be rich, you have to do the work.. you have to find your niche, you have to take a chance. If you want a fabulous relationship.. you have to let go of the old ones. You can’t change other people.. and you can’t change your life without… CHANGING YOUR LIFE.
Thoughts create reality….. also known as “Positive Thinking”. I have found that there are two types of people who don’t believe this theory. Those who already think positively and those who refuse to think positively.
I see it all the time. I have conversations with people who are well accomplished. Who have a strong self value. Who understand that if they work hard they can accomplish anything. Then “Positive thinking” comes up and they start commenting about how “You can’t think yourself to success… you can’t just think, ‘I’m successful’ and become successful… that’s all woo woo crap that con artists use to delude the desperate out of their money.”
I tend to respond with… “oh… so you never thought that you were good enough to finish school and get a great job?”. Oh course they did… they thought positively about the idea of how their life would turn out… but they did the work.
Yes… you have to do the work. Thoughts create your reality when you do the work… that should be implied. This mantra is for those who don’t think that they are good enough to accomplish things. They need to think positively. They need to believe in themselves. They don’t need to think “My husband is great and him beating me is great” that is not positive thinking. They have to think, “I deserve better than my husband is giving me, and I can do better by myself than with him”. Then she needs to believe it and leave. They don’t need to think, “I can pay all my bills on my minimum wage job”. They need to think, “I am smart and talented and deserve to get paid accordingly in a job that I find rewarding”. Then they need to believe it in order to get the new job or get the education to start a new career.
Those who are successful already tell themselves these things. They already believe it. I use the example, say someone hands you a puzzle, one of those brain teasing 3 dimensional puzzles, and says, “I think it has all the pieces”. You may spend some time trying to put it together and if it gets too difficult you may say, “It must be missing some pieces.. this isn’t working”, but if they tell you that all the pieces are there you will be more willing to put in the extra effort because you know that it is solvable. Then there are others that will keep trying till it works regardless. If you are sure that you can do something you are more likely to accomplish your goal.
Then there are those who won’t even try regardless of how many pieces are in the box. Those are in the other category that don’t believe in positive thinking. They are the ones that are so low on themselves that there is just no point to thinking positively. It’s not going to work no matter what. They are too stupid, or they have horrible luck.. or they’re just not the “type of person” that can succeed.
With this type of person it is almost impossible to get them to understand the concept of “Positive thinking” because they’ve never done it. They’ve never seen it work. If you think positively and prove to them that it works, then you just have better luck, or your rubbing your fortune in their face…. or you’re just better than them and they get it.. and now they feel worse.
Those are the people that need the help the most.. and are the most resistant to it. You can’t change someone that doesn’t want to change… but for the average person that just has a bad streak of self doubt the idea that thoughts create our reality is game changing. If you believe something enough you will figure out a way to achieve it, as long as you DO THE WORK. It’s that simple.
Have you ever known someone whom lost a boat load of weight, I’m not talking like 10-20 lbs. I mean like 50-100 lbs, and managed to keep it off? The first question people always ask is how they did it, and they are always disappointed when they are told the person changed their eating habits and/or exercised. No one wants to do that.
Everyone wants to change.. without actually changing. These same people will see the new and improved, healthier person out at dinner or a party and say, “oh, you can have some cake”.. or the drink.. or what have you, “you have to live a little” or “a little won’t kill you” or something along those lines.
I have always found this extremely disparaging. It is a way of completely undermining the work the person has done. It’s not easy to “stick” to a healthy diet. It takes A LOT of work. Most people have to over come addictions, and other mental health coping mechanisms to get there. It really does take changing.
I couldn’t imagine someone saying the same thing to an alcoholic. “Oh, wow, you haven’t had a drink in a year! That’s amazing! Let’s celebrate with shots. One won’t kill you”. It’s a slippery slope. Now that’s not to say that someone who has lost weight can never have a piece of birthday cake again. I mean… maybe the person does decide that their addiction is too strong and it’s best not to, or maybe they feel that they have dealt with their habits enough that they can indulge on an occasion, but the point is that it’s the healthy person’s decision on how they handle their food intake. They know what is and isn’t OK for them.
I don’t think that most people who try to encourage the healthier person to “Live a little” is trying to bully them or sabotage them. I think most people are just trying to include their friends. I think that most people just want to act like the food is not a big deal, but it is.. to some people, and pretending that it’s not doesn’t help anyone. That being said, there are some that go the other way. There are those “friends” that don’t want you to succeed because they haven’t. You know the old saying, “Misery loves company”.
If you are on your path to a healthier you. Whether it’s weight-loss, substance abuse, or even getting a better job, be careful of your peers. Be careful of those who seem to always lead you down the path of the dark side… with those cookies. You know the voices that you hear in your head that say it’s ok… you can just have one… well, they are hard enough to ignore. When you hear them from those who love you it’s even more challenging.
If you want to change your life, that mean you have to CHANGE your life. It won’t be easy. There is no magic pill. You can’t half-ass it. But you can become what ever you imagine yourself to be… you just have to do the work.
It amazes me how many people that I speak to who say that they believe in science don’t actually believe in possibility… They only believe in the science that has been proven thus far. Which includes many “theories” that have just as much evidence as others but doesn’t sound woowoo and therefore is more believable.
For instance, my favourite topic, Quantum Physics. There are certain elements that are completely acceptable now that even Einstein thought were completely ridiculous. We now KNOW that matter can be both waves and particles, this has been proven in a series of experiments. It has been proven that matter characteristics change depending on whether or not it is being observed and that there is a certain amount of human consciousness that goes into the experiment when a person watches it. This, again has been proven by blind experiments. Yet, when someone says that humans have the ability to change or create their own reality this is considered crazy.
It has been proven that our thoughts create chemical reactions in our brain. If we think thoughts that stress us out our glands secrete cortisol… also known as the “fight or flight” hormone. If we think sad, depressing thoughts that stress us out our hormone levels spike and we physically feel all of the symptoms that correlate.
Then, of course what do we do? We listen to sad music, sit in the dark and eat crap food. This creates more cortisol, the darkness creates melatonin (a hormone that helps us sleep) and our insulin level spike and crash… all of which makes us more stressed out and the cycle continues. Some think that eating chocolate will help as it “mimics the feeling of love”, which is true to an extent. There is a chemical in chocolate called phenethylamine which stimulates the nervous system activating endorphins and creating a euphoric feeling… do you know what else does that? Exercise, and thinking happy thoughts… neither of which leave you with a sugar (insulin) crash later.
There is a huge epidemic going around now with opioids. I remember the first time that I was prescribed one. I had impacted wisdom teeth one of which cracked a tooth in front of it and caused excruciating pain. When the doctor gave me the script he told me that “it won’t kill the pain, but you just won’t care anymore” and that’s it.. that’s how it works. Opioids trigger a release of dopamine that just makes one feel happy.
After I had my son via C-section the nurses were adamant that I needed something.. Vicodin, Perks, Oxy… anything to help with the pain. I told them that the Motrin was just fine. I wasn’t in a hurry to fuzzy my brain with a newborn and except for the actual movement of standing and sitting when ab muscles were strained the most I really didn’t feel much discomfort. As it turns out holding a baby, feeling the love, and bonding by breastfeeding actually releases oxytocin into the system. The thoughts alone create the hormones that amplify the feelings. This is a fact.
Now I’m not saying that there is no need for pain killers. I do understand that some people have severe chronic pain and that it makes it very difficult to do things like exercise and think happy thoughts and that their bodies can’t make enough endorphins to counteract the pain. I also know that this can be both physical and psychological pain, but that doesn’t mean that you stop trying or that you let the darkness take over.
I read an article the other day about how “thinking positive” actually hurts and is counter productive because lying to ones self can actually cause more harm and people need to feel their pain. Well, I half agree. I agree that lying to yourself will cause more problems.. and I agree that people need to deal with their issues head on. What I don’t agree with is the author’s idea of thinking positive.
Positive thinking is NOT pretending everything is great when it sucks. If you have a crappy job, are in an abusive relationship, or just lost someone or something dear to you then you can just think, “Oh, everything is so wonderful”. That’s not positive thinking.. that’s delusional thinking. Positive thinking is acknowledging whatever bad thing is or has happened and understanding that it is not the end and that it can get better and spending your time and energy on thinking about the good things. Either remembering the lost loved one and the good that person has done.. or thinking about your next option with a job or relationship.. but never giving up.
The more that a person thinks about their future and their life the way they want it, the more “Happy Hormones” their brain produces. The more happy hormones a person has the more likely they are to DO something.. anything. They will start to believe that they deserve more. This brings us back to the Quantum Physics. Your consciousness creates your reality. The world is as you perceive it. If you only see the bad things the world is bad. If you only see the good the world is good. The more good you see.. the more good you’ll do.. and so on.
Beliefs are a very powerful thing. Our entire existence resonates around the things that we believe. We believe we are beautiful or ugly… we believe we are smart or stupid.. we believe we deserve good things or that bad things will always happen to us.
“I think therefore I am”. One of the most famous philosophical understandings of all times. If we are capable of thinking then we must exist, and the things that we think must make us who we are. If we think that things can only get better, then we will keep trying till they do. If we think that things can only get worse, then we’ll give up. Seems pretty simple.
Well, what about bigger beliefs? What about religious and spiritual beliefs? They too make us who we are and affect how we deal with things. Before my father died I was a bit more agnostic. I acknowledged something was out there, but I didn’t really know what. I’m still not sure, but I have turned my belief a little more towards religion. My son started Catholic school, and we started to attend Mass on Sundays and I like and appreciate the idea of the afterlife. I like and appreciate the idea that my father is looking down on us… or checking in on us in some way and seeing how we are doing and is proud of us.
I had an interesting experience this past weekend in which we had gone to a party with some of my son’s father’s old high school friends. It was mentioned that our son goes to Catholic school and I later heard one of the women talking to my son’s father about it. He was saying how he hated it and that he thought the whole idea was stupid, but kept his mouth shut around my son. That is fine, he doesn’t have to believe the things that we do. My brother is a complete atheist and feels much more comfort KNOWING that when we die our bodies get eaten by worms and that’s it… no mystery.
I was raised to understand that everyone has their own ideas, and their own beliefs, and that no one really knows for sure.. it’s what resonates with you best that works. What bothered me about the conversation between the woman and my ex, was the tone of disapproval. I don’t want my son growing up feeling that way.
The next day my son, who is 4, and I were putting together a puzzle. I had found it under a stack of books and told him that I had forgotten about it. That “Papa” had bought it for him when he was a little baby and was too young to use it at the time.. but it was perfect for him now. After we finished the puzzle he looked at it somberly and I asked him what he was thinking. “I wish Papa was here to see us do this”. That little sentence broke my heart… but thankfully he has been learning about God and Heaven and I was able to say, “I think Papa is watching us from Heaven and is very proud of you”.
Now, I don’t KNOW that’s true. I don’t KNOW that my father isn’t just the pile of ashes in the urn on my piano and that’s all that’s left… but I do know.. that doesn’t comfort me, and it doesn’t comfort my 4 year old…. and doesn’t hurt anyone to for us to believe that Papa is watching and proud of us.
My son was at his therapist’s office the other day. In his little life he has had a lot of loss and sometimes we all need help coping with the grief that comes from that. Since he’s so young he spends most of his time to just playing and avoiding questions that make him feel uncomfortable. This last week his therapist noticed that he was apologizing a lot. This is not like him. He usually apologizes when necessary but not unusually so. She mentioned that it is a sign of anxiety and feeling guilty about things.
I thought about this for a while, and tried to evaluate what had been going on in his life lately that may have made him feel that way. After a bit I realized that it wasn’t his anxiety at all. It was his God father’s. I love my friend and he is a wonderful person.. but he apologizes to inanimate objects when he trips. I told him that I was getting ready to take my son to school and his response was, “I’m sorry”.. for what? Not only did it not involve any behavior that he had to apologize for.. my son going back to school is a good thing. We are all excited.
My friend blamed this behavior on being in the customer service industry… but that’s not the case. There is no need to apologize for good things happening even in customer service. In his case he is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. He is always expecting bad news.. and he is always first to take blame.. even for things that aren’t his fault.
I don’t know where he learned this, but I want to make sure that my son doesn’t pick up this habit. I want my son to apologize for things he’s really sorry for, not just pay lip service. I want my son to feel comfortable in his own skin and with his own actions. I want my son to look forward to people’s news. I want “Guess what?” to be a question of excitement not dread. It’s important to teach empathy and awareness.. it’s something else to create anxiety and guilt.. or a fear of being wrong just for being oneself.
I saw a meme on Facebook that had plenty of likes and I understood the point, but no. Yes, If you have the money and the time available, by all means get out there and help. Go for it.. do what ever you can… but that’s the point. Do whatever you can. Some people feel as though prayer is a waste of time, but any positive energy sent to those in pain is a good thing. Even if you don’t believe in the power of vibration.. the law of attraction.. or the power of prayer, I imagine you must understand how it feels to see that others are thinking of you and hoping for your well-being.
There is a reason that people hold vigils for someone who dies. There’s a reason why memorials are constructed… and sympathy cards have become an entire market. People need to know that others care. People need to know that they are not alone.
So yes, even if you can’t afford to give the extra money. Even if you can’t jump the next plane to Houston… You can give. You can do good. You can send your prayers.. support… energy to those in need, and let them know that they are not alone. Let them know that there is always hope. Let them know that you care.
Some conversations take you further down the rabbit hole than you were intending to go. I was talking with a friend today. He had taken a picture and wanted to send it to one of his best friends whom he met through NA (Narcotics Anonymous). He was trying to think of a clever caption to put with the photo.. so I through out some silly one liners and he said, “No, that’s not the way he and I joke… it has to be drug related”
I was absolutely stunned. These are people who are fighting an opiate addiction and they spend their time sending each other jokes about drugs… I mean isn’t the point of making friends and branching into the programs to stay away from drugs?
I have spent the last 2 years of my life dealing with my own addiction to food. I have been learning about all the ways to change your life for the better. Almost every expert will tell you that the only way to truly change a strong habit like that is to change your mindset. To not think of yourself as that person anymore.
A lot of people talk about positive thinking… but you can’t just tell yourself “I’m fit” or “I’m not an addict” and expect that to change your life. You have to retrain your brain. You have to picture yourself fit.. you have to picture all the new habits that you need to develop to become that person. You have to retrain your brain into thinking of yourself as the person who works out regularly.. that chooses fresh fruits, veggies, and lean proteins.. instead of the person who thinks of themselves as sitting on the couch eating pizza.
One of the first things that is discussed when changing habits is changing your surroundings. One needs to understand the pitfalls and the triggers to the unhealthy habit.
As I’ve said, my issue is with food. If my trigger is Friday night movie and pizza with my family… or that friend that I always get dessert coffees with.. or that birthday party every weekend with cake.. then I have to learn how to work around them… or to take myself out of the situation.
The funny thing is I’ve discussed this with said friend and he agrees with me.. about my issue. He agrees that when I hang around with certain people we escalate the cravings and talk about food.. we almost egg each other on and give each other permission to eat badly. I’ve had to put my foot down and stop these conversations. I’ve had to cancel plans.. I’ve had to make better choices. My addict friend thinks this is wonderful and that I am smart for understanding this.
When I pointed out that he does the same thing with his NA friend he just scoffed and told me he’s fine. They’re just jokes. It doesn’t affect him…. funny thing is… he was high when he said it.