Thursday, April 26, 2012

it's an inside job

Yes, it's an inside job.

You have to be happy... TRULY happy inside. You can't rely on other factors, people, places, things to make you happy. YOU have to make yourself happy. Things happen when you are a happy, good person. People want to be around you. People appreciate things. People want to do things FOR you. Nobody wants to be around the sad sack who is having a pity party of one. They want to be happy. Happy people attract other happy people.

It's all about perspective. Or introspective (is that even a word?). My homework assignment last month was to stop the negative self-talk. While it wasn't a whopping success, I have become more AWARE when I am doing it and I make an effort to turn those negative thoughts around. That, my friends, is progress.

For example: I was meeting a totally awesome, amazing friend over the weekend for some much-needed girl time. I left my house with plenty of time to stop at an ATM and arrive about 15 minutes early so I could pick out my polish color. Then traffic happened. Like, epic Sunday afternoon out-of-nowhere traffic. It was bizarre - we were not moving more than 5 miles per hour on the highway. I texted my friend, who was fortunately on a different route and slightly ahead of me. I called the salon to tell them I was going to be late. The receptionist snootily asked me "Well... when do you THINK you will be there?" Usually, I would have responded very defensively. This time, I told him, "Well, sir... I have no control over what is happening in front of me, nor do I have any idea when the traffic will start moving again." He asked if I could get there within 20 minutes, and I calmly repeated "I have no control over what is happening in front of me. I will do my best to get there, but I cannot predict what will happen." The negative me would have told the guy he was an asshole and cancelled my appointment never to return again. Instead... I was nice. Yes, I was late but they did wait for me. Our pedicures were slightly rushed but we still got to spend time together and then have lunch and gossip more.

I am really doing what I can to cease the rude, bitchy inner me who comes out when I lose patience. I have to accept that there are certain things that are beyond my control and stop stressing about it. For instance... TRAFFIC. I can't do anything about what goes on in front of me, so I can't get too anxious about being late for something if I know I have done what I could to be early or on time (I am always at least 15 minutes early for everything... one of those OCD things).

I am a much happier person when I stop listening to that negative inner voice. I even went shopping one day, and at least 3 women stopped me in Macy's to compliment either my hair, my makeup, or ask me for style advice. It was so flattering, and awesome because that NEVER happened to me before. If I am in one of my negative mindsets, I am totally unapproachable and keep my head down. Happy me walks with pride, I own it, and apparently I look like a nice enough person for strangers to come up to me. I even find that I am dressing better when I'm just running errands on the weekend. No yoga pants and schleppy hoodie, but actual clothes that I wear to work.

So, my homework for this month is to stop relying on outside factors to make me happy. I have to figure out how to just BE happy without relying on compliments, gifts, money, or anything else to make me happy. When I'm happy, good things happen. I strongly recommend it... it's incredible how much a little perspective adjustment can change your whole world if you let it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A little motivation is all it takes...

The past month has been... well... CHALLENGING. Emotionally, physically, and mentally. My husband had quite a health scare, and luckily he is going to be fine. I had to play the role of "rock," which was weird for me, because usually I'm the one with the health crises and he's the calm, cool, and collective one. Trying to hold it all together, and not let him see my concern did play with my head a lot. Half of me wanted to focus on my diet, nutrition, and weight loss so I could be healthy enough to care for him in the event he needed care; but the other half... the wicked bitch... she was the one who told me that candy, cake, cookies, and ice cream would solve my problems.

Guess who won?

I gained a total of four pounds during my emotional breakdown, and I deserved to gain more than that. Luckily, I did not - which was a good thing. I' ve lost half of the weight I gained back, and am getting myself refocused, rejuvenated, and remotivated to keep moving South on the Scale.

Yes, the scale and I had filed for divorce due to irreconcilable differences some time ago, but I just couldn't let it go. I am consciously using the scale as a TOOL and not a WEAPON. I can monitor my daily food intake and activity using my BodyMedia Fit device, and I am now looking at the scale to measure what I have done during the day to see how it impacts my progress. Two weeks in, and I'm down 2 pounds. Not bad, right?

My next challenge is a friend and I have a contest going... we set an end date and showed each other our starting weights. We have to keep it honest because too many times I've been part of "biggest loser" contests where nobody showed each other their true statistics (whether it was online or in person, it didn't matter). It was slightly humiliating to show another woman my weight, especially when she is fabulous (and weighs my GOAL weight...) but the point of the exercise is that we are going to work together, support each other, and report back weekly. Whoever loses the highest percentage by the end of the 3 months - IN A HEALTHY FASHION - she's on WW and I'm on JC - the winner will get a pedicure.

I'm also starting to figure out a few things about myself. I am going to an Open House tomorrow night to check out a school for estheticians. What's that, you ask? Well, if you have to ask... skin care, makeup, and other spa-related services. I find that I am asked almost on a daily basis about makeup, skincare, and clothes. I *love* to help people feel better about themselves - I learned that while I was working at the store last summer. The best experiences I had were when a woman came in, looking sad and feeling bad about how she thought she looked, and after I got done with her the smile she wore was immeasurable. Sometimes she didn't buy anything, but how she saw herself after I got done with her... amazing. I loved that warm glowy feeling of being able to help someone's self esteem. I want to be able to do that more, maybe because I didn't have that "person" when I was younger so I had to figure it out myself. But, self esteem is so important in how you see the world and how the world sees you.

So... I'm looking into getting licensed and maybe it will turn into a new career, maybe it will be a weekend thing... I don't know. All I know is that I am actually excited about a possibility, which is something I haven't had in a very long time. Work should be something you love doing, and not just something to pay the bills. I am now at the age where I want to do something that MEANS something. Yes, I still have the bills to pay but I also have more options available to me.

We'll see.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Image is everything

...BODY image, that is.

The way you see yourself? Nobody sees the same thing that you do. The so-called gigantic pimple on your forehead? Nope, they aren't staring at it. The dimples on your thighs? Nope, not looking at that either.

What you see - what you choose to focus on? It's not important to anyone else but you.

Everyone has flaws, it's what makes us individuals. It makes each of us unique. It makes us SPECIAL. Yup. I said it. We are special. *I* am special.

I spent a great deal of time speaking with my therapist about my negative self-image last week. She gave me homework... I LOVE the homework assignments she gives me. It always helps me to change my perspective on things. But I guess that's why I pay her the big bucks... she knows what she's talking about.

My homework was to ignore the negative self-talk, and focus on more positive things. Stop fretting about what my husband thinks when he sees me wearing shorts to bed, don't obsess over "what everyone is looking at," and only focus on what makes me happy. And you know what? IT'S WORKING. If I focus on what makes *me* feel good, and ignore that negative voice in my head, the one that has been there since childhood that worries about the people who are supposedly watching my every move and judging me... I'm actually a pretty happy girl.

If I don't feel comfortable in an outfit to wear to work, I'll pick something else. If I start to hear a voice in my head telling me that if I eat something it will make me fat... I turn the voice off and ask myself if I really want to eat that something. If I turn the question around and ask myself how I will FEEL after eating that something... I will listen to the answer. If I know it's something that will make me feel lousy afterwards, I will choose not to eat it. But if it's something magically delicious? I may indulge. NOT binge. And I'm not going to think about what someone else thinks if I do eat that something, because it's my decision and has nothing to do with them.

Yes, image is everything. How I see myself does reflect on how everyone else perceives me. If I see myself as a failure, nobody is going to see me as a success story. If I see myself as beautiful, it will exude and people will see the beauty that is inside me. The same for you - you need to FEEL and BELIEVE what is inside of you, and stop listening to the negative demons that we all have. Focus on the positivity instead, you will be a better person for it.

It's not easy. TRUST me. I'm 40 years old and I'm still learning how to live with myself and find out who I am. BUT, anything that is worth it will take some hard work. And the physical stuff is actually easy compared to the emotional overhaul. I'm starting to see that it's worth it.

I'm worth it.

You're worth it.