Tuesday, July 2, 2013

When Your Mother Says She's Fat

This is a good read, with several good lessons.

Part one - don't use your kids to vent about your own baggage.

Two - don't be like this lady and her mom who had all kinds of negative feelings about their bodies, but never realized they did not have to keep thinking and feeling that way.  We have habitual thoughts and feelings, sure.  It's not easy to become aware of them, and it's even harder to change them.  But these thoughts are neither necessary nor useful - so when you've had enough of them, freaking change them!

How?  I recommend Tony Robbins' work.  Where they come from is simple - anything that you do, you do because your unconscious mind associates either pleasure to the activity, or associates escape from pain to the activity.  IOW - if a thought delivers you from a more painful thought, or a feeling delivers you from a more painful feeling, that's a win as far as the unconscious mind is concerned.  Thinking can change these associations over time.  But what really wins over the UCM is emotion.  The more intense the emotion you associate to a behavior, thought or feeling, the more likely it is that you will repeat/stop the behavior, thought or feeling (you could say any thought or feeling is a behavior in this context).  Passion, hope, desperation, anger, inspiration, a mission, a vision - it matters not which, if it is strong and you can associate that emotion to the desired behavior, and do it again, and again, you will change.  Conscious goals with support from the unconscious mind are the most powerful human force.

In other words, you are not a victim of your thoughts or feelings - you created them to help you feel either more pleasure or less pain (usually bad feelings are a distraction from a worse feeling).  You can change them.  Self loathing will not change habits that don't serve you.  Your own sense of high standards leading to failure will not change habits that don't serve you.  Positive beats negative, but only positively motivating emotion.

It's hard, but it's liberating just to know you can take control and to start taking action, so you don't have to be stuck in some battle with your own unconscious mind that you think you can't win and therefore just give in to - when you could be winning, changing, and modeling how to do the same for your progeny.

Lastly, this is a good example of what we learned in Psych 101 is called learned helplessness.  If you try starving yourself enough time, you'll think it is not possible to lose fat.  If you try any diet that can't work for you often enough, you'll come to believe it is not possible for you to lose fat.  You may even associate your own failure baggage - I'm not strong enough, I'm not disciplined enough, I'm not tough enough, whatever - to the whole effort, and not even be willing to try any diets any longer.  Effort becomes more painful than simply accepting one's fate.  Then come the rationalizations ...

Don't give in, don't quit, don't accept the circumstances, never stop trying to find the lifestyle that will serve you and your goals and dreams and passions - as Churchill would say about the most important words in the English language:  "Never, never, never give up."

And if you hunger for a bit more of the writer turned politician's inspiration, I recommend:

"We shall fight on the beaches; we shall fight on the landing grounds; we shall fight in the fields and the streets; we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

PS: My dad used to finish that WC quote with something like this:  "And if they reach this island they will know, they have not fallen in with the lambs, but into the lion's den."  Brings a tear to my eye every time I think the thought.

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