Thursday, July 31, 2008
OK, so we have had some lively discussions this week on the difficulty of saying "no". I have really pondered that question. Why do so many of us find it so hard to just say no when that is what we mean? Could it be that the answer is tied up in our view of ourselves? The more we value ourselves, the more likely we are to say no when we need to. The less self esteem or worth we think we have, the less likely we are to say no when we need to. The thing about shame and low self worth is that it permeates EVERYTHING in our lives. When we do not value ourselves at all, we become desperate to get that "value" or approval from outside of us - from others. Now of course it is not possible to get self worth any place other than self, hence the name self-worth! But we certainly try and saying a simple no might make them mad at us or even not like us. Most likely not the truth, but we are too afraid to say no, when that is what we really need. How can we begin to say no if we never have and we're afraid to? First, like anything we have never done before, we have to take our fear with us and just do it the first time. Bet when I first rode my bike I was scared. Bet when I first swam I was scared too. I practiced saying no on the telemarketers. They were great for arguing about how much I needed something and I would just say no however many times it took! Secondly, we must begin to challenge the shame message. It really does permeate all aspects of life and until that message can be replaced with a healthier one, we will be doomed to unhealthy repetitive behaviors. For me, my faith and belief in what God says about who and what I am began to replace the unhealthy shameful message I believed for so long. If you can challenge yourself on these two aspects of lifestyle change, taking the fear with you as you just say no and identifying unhealthy messages (racket), then saying no will get easier and easier!
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
I started thinking what that word really means to me. Freedom from what? What am I actually free from? To answer that question I think I have to start with the opposite of freedom. That would be imprisonment or bondage. Oh yes, now it's becoming clearer. Freedom to me means freedom from bondage. Freedom from the heavy bondage of weight. Freedom from the awful bondage of shame. Freedom from the endless bondage of worrying about what others think of me. And all of this leads me to rejoice in the freedoms I have experienced. After loosing over 240 pounds, I have the freedom to move about this world in a body that allows me to. Freedom to walk marathons, to hike mountains and to whitewater raft! After working through the pain of my childhood abuse, I have the freedom to make healthy choices for myself without the bondage of unhealthy filters driving my behavior. Freedom to get clean and sober, to stand up for myself and to not eat food in an unhealthy way. After learning how to feel all of my emotions without numbing them with food or substances, I now have the freedom to cry when something hurts and laugh when something is funny. After learning how to take care of the child within, I have the freedom to behave as an adult and to meet my needs in a healthy way. Freedom to make choices that are mine to make! How did I go from such bondage to true freedom you ask? That freedom has been found in a relationship with Jesus. Before I knew Jesus personally, I thought I had all the freedoms in the world. I could eat whatever I wanted and as much of it as I wanted. I could drink as much alcohol as I wanted and I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to. I have never been in more serious bondage than those years. All the food led to morbid obesity. All the alcohol led to a drinking problem and my "free" behavior led to dangerous situations. It was only when I came into a real-life relationship with Jesus was that bondage broken. I was led out of it one step at a time. Freedom, sweet freedom! Happy 4th of July!