Weighty Matters

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Personal Myths

on August 7, 2015

I’m feeling good.  Whether it’s the acupuncture treatments in my ear to help with the food compulsion and cravings, my own work to get myself in a better, more sane place with my eating disorder, or a combination of both, overall I feel really good.  I’m eating well and following a food plan.  My mind is on an even keel and I’m not under siege by obsessive food thoughts.  Since I’m not eating compulsively and/or stuffing my face, I’m not beating myself up and thinking mean things about myself.  This is all terrific.

Physically my heel and knee also continue to improve with lessening pain.  I can move around more easily.  The fact that it doesn’t hurt me to walk is a big motivation to be more active.

The DietBet thing is underway.  It’s fun.  I’m trying out the low carb/high carb approach on alternating days.  It’s a manageable food plan.  I lost a couple of pounds this week.  The weight loss is a bonus.  The reduction in the compulsive eating and the crappy thoughts and stress that accompany the behavior are the real boon to my well being.  So, all in all.  I’m giving myself and my current state of being two big thumbs up!

I was reading an article today that talked about personal myths.  These are things we say about ourselves, believe about ourselves that aren’t necessarily rooted in reality.  We believe them and, therefore, they are very real to us and as such can strongly influence our actions and emotions.  Depending on how deeply they are ingrained, and how negative they are, they can do some real damage.

Huh.  I just realized something.  Because all of my personal myths are negative and make me feel bad about myself, it only just occurred to me that some people might have overwhelmingly positive personal myths.  Beliefs that give them a huge bolstering uplifts.  Can over-inflated positive opinions of self also be damaging?  Hmm.  Let me think on that for a bit.  Perhaps they can be.  What if they engender huge feelings of entitlement or beliefs that the world is all about you so you should always get what you want all of the time?  Do they then set you up for huge disappointments or resentment and anger when the world doesn’t play along?  I don’t know.  I’ll have to think on that, but right now I’m more interested in my own personal myths and how they’ve affected me over my life.

The biggest myth for me is believing that nothing I say, do, achieve is ever good enough.  When I buy into the myth, these are the results:  There will always be something more that I could have, should have done.  If I do something, I think I could always have done it better.  If I fail to achieve a goal, it is difficult for me to maintain a healthy perspective.  I decide that I suck at whatever.  If I veer from an objective, it’s because I’m weak, lacking, worthless, etc. etc.My self-esteem is always at risk.

I spent a lot of years believing these things, being miserable about the feelings, and seeking comfort, distraction or oblivion in excess food.   For years, I didn’t understand that I was inflicting this pain on myself by accepting these false feelings as reality.  That’s how low my self-worth had fallen.  Once I was aware and began to work on my understanding, I could begin to see the myths and fight their fiction.

Yes, I am much better.  My self-esteem is far healthier than it was many years ago.  I believe in myself, my talents, my abilities.  My confidence is strong which reduces a great deal of the stress that I used to feel.  Seriously, when you don’t believe in yourself, you stress constantly about whether you’re going to be able to pull off the normal, every day tasks involved in your job, your relationships, your activities, your life.  That stress just feeds into the mess and escalates the issues.  I can’t tell you how many nights I’d wake up out of a sound sleep and enter a state of repetitive, obsessive worrying about things that I had to do.

Now that only happens sometimes in extreme situations.  The difference, and the quality of my sleep, are profound.

Still, it’s always a battle.  Personal myths don’t ever completely vacate their territory in our heads and spirits.  When I feel them ramping up their presence, I need to make a conscious effort to face them and diffuse their power.  It’s like fighting the food compulsion.  The compulsion arises and triggers a want for food/eating.  If I don’t stay aware and recognize the compulsion for  what it is, that want can quickly become a need, translate into the action of eating and, Bam!, I’ve lost. Same thing with the personal myth.  When one tries to encroach on my self-awareness and self-esteem, I need to identify it as fiction and not give it power.  Easier said than done sometimes, but it’s a winnable fight.

Do you have personal myths?  Do you know what they are and recognize them when they rise up?  Have any techniques for dealing with them that you’d like to share?

 

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