Thursday, January 5, 2012

First Week: Hate Loss Challenge.

"Eliminate insecurities that are weighing you down and give yourself the love and respect you deserve." - Ellen

These words, from the Introduction to the Hate-Loss Challenge on Ellen’s blog, FatGirlWearingThin are quite attractive. I think it is the only blog challenge I have ever joined. I am not comfortable with the weight loss challenges – too much enabling for my iron-fisted controlling personality. However this challenge has nothing to do with pounds that get weighed on a physical scale. This is about the weight of the metaphysical. Besides, it has the added bonus of a lovely peacock logo that I get to post on my blog! I love peacocks in their colorful glory. (Yes, NBC was my favorite network as a kid because of their peacock). 

It started with a reinforcement sheet. Mine reads

Jane is/I am 
Strong, courageous, beautiful, persistent, creative, considerate, thoughtful, unique, remarkable, open-minded, intelligent, confident, fascinating, pleasing and worth it. 

The idea is to put it in places I will see it all day long and be reminded to use the words and feel the words apply to me. It is to remind me that “January is the month that I set in motion a healthy habit to rid my vocabulary of words that aim to destroy my self-esteem." By complete coincidence, I was on the treadmill yesterday watching a season six Colombo Episode that was all about (well, besides murder), taking charge of your life with words and how powerful words are - how they control us, if we let them.

This first exercise was to think back to a time or place in your life when you formed negative thoughts about yourself. Why do you think you are undeserving of praise? Was there a specific event that caused you to change the way you perceive yourself?

I know exactly how this happened in my life. Not that date or the time or even the exact geographical spot, but how. It was the day my father first told me I was something less than stellar. The first time he angrily called me stupid, lazy or useless and withheld his love over a behavioral issue. That is the day I started identifying with those labels. When my mom began to use the same terms toward me that really cemented the definitions in my life for a long time. Oh, and ANY positive trait, applied to me, by me, was to be considered vain, conceited and pompous. So, not only was I told my value was linked only to what others said, I was not to be permitted a chance to find my own value in myself. 

As an adult, I joined a 12 step program and worked through these issues, doing the suggested steps. I learned to forgive and re-direct. I learned how to get past resentments, and fears, guilt and anger and most of the shame. The healing that came from living through the steps continues to be a saving grace in my life that I would not ever want to neglect. Yet I still find it hard to remove the resentments I have against myself so that I can let go of the perceived power of the negative labels.

Is it because you have always been reminded of your imperfections and weaknesses?

Not just reminded of them. I choose to believe them. Even when I KNEW I was better than what another person wanted me to be, I rarely spoke up for myself in a healthy manner. 

Were you taught these habits from living in an unhealthy environment?

I was taught these habits while living in a family vacuum. My parents did their best. They did not learn any better in their lives. (I had ample opportunity to know my grandparents and 14 aunts, uncles and their spouses and then my cousins). There are various levels of family dysfunction in my family. That does not make me unique. Dysfunctional families have become an almost blasé term in the years since I turned 16 and learned what it meant. Now, you are unique if there is NO dysfunction in your family. It is a constant miracle in my life that I married a man who has never sought to drag me down or let me wallow in negative reflections. He has always sought to lift me up and let me see the beauty inside me that he claims to see everyday. How blessed am I??

How can I find a way to forgive those who have hurt me? How can I forgive myself?

Living a 12 step program, I have already forgiven those who hurt me over the years of my life to date. When or if an old resentment crops up I do an inventory of it and share it with another 12 step member or my spiritual advisor. Forgive myself? That is what I am working on in this challenge. I am starting with the positive reinforcement words.

Do you have unrealistic expectations of yourself? 

Oh yes. This is something I started learning about myself just a few years ago and it has not improved. Hence, this challenge is perfect for me. 

Use of the Positive reinforcement sheet:
I have it on the fridge, inside my spice cabinet. On my office computer screen, tapped to my laptop, on my bathroom mirror. On the back of the door to my garage (since I mostly exit the house that way) and in my clothes closet. It is also in my car and I have made three copies into laminated bookmarks and I am using them in three books I currently view each day. I started the challenge a couple of days late so I have only had 2 day of reading and hearing the positive statements and thinking about them. I liked writing it and determining what positive words I wanted to define me. I am happy to be letting go of the negative terms and words. 

I hope everyone else in the challenge is getting many good things from this first week. I know I am already feeling a bit happier and looking forward to making it a habit. 

Jane~

11 comments:

Laura @ LauraLivesLife said...

I'm kind of amazed of how many of us are talking about our parents today. My parents were well meaning and wonderful, but it makes me worried about how I will treat my future children (if they exist). I want to be mindful of that and how I behave everyday so that I never have that effect on someone!

fatgirlwearingthin said...

I would almost bet that everyone reading these challenge posts is doing a bit of head-nodding. In bits and pieces - even though our stories are vastly different, they all share similarities: how the negative experience made us feel about ourselves. What wonderful work you have done here. I see the strength that is within you; it come through in your writing. Thank you so much for participating. XOXO

bbubblyb said...

I'm glad to read your words too :) I too am reading about the challenge and would like to participate but haven't quite decided yet. Going to get home tonight and decide. If nothing else I know I will get a lot out of it just reading what others are writing. Glad you're thinking good things about yourself you deserve that :)

Mom on a mission said...

I have never been one for challenges either. I like to be in charge of myself...I am a leader not a follower:) I find your post most interesting though!

Carbzilla said...

My heart breaks in recognition. Especially the part about any flattering word being the first step in my limitless conceitedness that needed to be stifled, or else.

Last night I saw my middle school teachers, and I tearfully admitted to them how they had saved my life. They just kept telling me how special I was...something I never heard from my parents.

I hate knowing that others went through this too, but it's great to know we can survive and thrive.

Hugs!

Kelly Elaine said...

It seems we both have to work on forgiving ourselves. I'm confident though that we are up to the task.

MARSIAL2010 said...

Hi Jane, I came to your blog through Ellen's post. I especially loved your comment:

" It is a constant miracle in my life that I married a man who has never sought to drag me down or let me wallow in negative reflections. He has always sought to lift me up and let me see the beauty inside me that he claims to see everyday."

My husband is the same kind of man, and we are both indeed fortunate women to have a strong, supportive significant other.

Your weight-loss story is remarkable and inspirational. Thank you for sharing.

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

Thanks for the mention yesterday!! This is such a great challenge - the Hate-Loss challenge. It is so vital in our journey - no matter where we are.

~Karen C.L. Anderson~ said...

"It is a constant miracle in my life that I married a man who has never sought to drag me down or let me wallow in negative reflections. He has always sought to lift me up and let me see the beauty inside me that he claims to see everyday."

I have said this very same thing!! I went through my share of men who were harmful to me, and I am often amazed that I was finally able to attract such a wonderful person. Kudos to both of us!

Jane Cartelli said...

Laura - I was unable to spare my children some of it. I was a practicing food addict (with all that goes with it) much of their lives BUT I notice that they are both better human beings than I was at their age, so I know this recovery does make a difference to the next generation even at a later age.

Ellen - no matter how different our lives, we all have some manifestation of a food issue in common. We are like survivors of a wreck sharing a lifeboat - a common bond that others do not understand.

Bbubblyb - You deserve the good thoughts, too.

Mom on a Mission - I am such a take charge control freak - it is good for me to follow occasionally.

Carbzilla - Hugging you back!

Kelly E - Isn't is great to know God isn't through with us yet?

Marisa - We are indeed blessed. Hope to get you hear from you again.

Diane - Will talk with you again soon!

Karen CLA - Sometimes I forget how awesome the miracle really is, like when the anxious and short tempered. Gratefully I am learning to pause and adjust my behavior more and more.

Thank you everyone for your comments!

wadiya butt said...

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