I'm sort of shocked that "I Got Called Fat" has turned into the most popular post I've written and published on this blog. I kind of expected a "well then, stop whining and jump on a treadmill" reaction from at least one person. But, interestingly enough, it seems to have resonated with a number of people.
Which tells me something that I already kind of knew to be true, but always hope it's not.
We all see the worst in ourselves. Sometimes to the point where we minimize or can't even see the good. It's like we're not allowed to think well of ourselves. We accept that God forgives us our sins and weaknesses, but we can't forgive ourselves.
My friend once said it was like God was whispering love in one ear and then Satan comes in and starts whispering hateful lies in the other and we shush God to better hear the vile things Satan is saying because somehow it makes more sense and is easier to believe.
My daughter and I have talked about it. She says that if a girl is pretty or has the perfect figure, she still has to say she is ugly and she still has to say she is fat...otherwise, she's called stuck up. Self confidence is not something to be proud of or attain to. And if they are saying these things out loud, whether they believed them at first or not, eventually they will. And heaven forbid that you actually look for the positives! Why then are we shocked that an alarming number of teenagers-both boys and girls-are struggling with image issues, self injury, and eating disorders?
Why are we doing this to ourselves? Or allowing others to do it to us?
Do you know that if a person has a good experience at a restaurant, the person will tell-on average-one other person. If that person has a bad experience at a restaurant, the person will tell a minimum of five people and-on average-usually seven. Child psychologists say it takes a minimum of five positive comments to negate one negative comment.
When Bree and Trey were smaller, we had a rule. If one of us said something that hurt the others feelings, we held up five fingers. And the person who hurt our feelings said five nice things about us. The idea behind it was to make all three of us more aware of the power of our words
"Negative is natural. Positive is on purpose."
I read this on the "I Am Second" Facebook page and thought "YES, how true!"
Positive takes work. When it comes to myself, others, situations. But I also think that it's like other habits, the more you practice it, the more natural it becomes.
Have you ever had a positive experience at a restaurant and asked to see the manager so you can brag about it? Watch how warily he/she comes walking up to you. Watch their face while you rave about how awesome the food or the server was, like they are waiting for the "but" and the nastiness to come. The realization that it isn't going to happen, that this is actually a good thing happening to them. Watch them walk away standing a little taller. It happens so rarely to them.
The next time a cashier is taking too long or the person in front of you had 5000 coupons, instead of snapping at her, be kind and understanding.
Practice being nice to yourself! Just for the heck of it, start every morning thinking of three good things about yourself or end your day pondering the things you got right. Or even the five finger rule, every time you think something negative about yourself, try thinking of five positive things about yourself.
Again, it is a choice (I keep using that word...must be trying to learn something). For whatever reason, negative is easier and more believable in the same way it's sometimes easier to jump back in the pit than stay on the firm path. Obviously, having let all my insecurities and quirks out there for everyone to read, I don't do a good job at this. But I'm trying.
So here goes:
1) I got called a good writer. Three times in the last two days. Since this is my second favorite compliment, it was a big deal to me. (In case you are wondering, "good mom" is number one)
2) I am still overweight but I've lost 30 pounds and broken a lot of bad eating habits. I've also recognized that I am a stress eater and have come a long way in working on that.
3) I haven't had a cigarette since 2005. Most people who know me these days who didn't know me then would even be shocked to know I ever smoked, but I did...for 14 years (starting at 18).
4) I am not a perfect mom...but my kids know, without a doubt, how incredibly much I love them. And they are awesome. (And they get a lot of credit for #3)
5) There is a lot of love in my life. I am loved...in ridiculous ways. By God, my kids, my family, my friends, several of the girls. When my Aunt Penny or Uncle John tell me how proud they are of me, my heart swells because they know how far I've come. When Jane gives me a hug, I'm pretty sure I'm close to heaven. And when my kids tell me they are proud of me, forget it. Trey will probably never tell me out loud again that he thinks I am a good Mom...the last time he did, I cried. LOL And I get the chance to pour love out. When people trust me with their stories, it overwhelms me with what they are giving me...and people trust me a lot (maybe they recognize that I'm broken and have no room to judge). In ministry and everyday life there are so many people to love and opportunities to show it. I am a lucky, lucky girl! (And if you don't like "lucky" then insert "blessed")
So there you have it...and I'm going to keep doing it...though, in future, probably in my journal. Feel free to start your own list. Share it with us, your friends, or with yourself. Write it on your mirror if you need to.
Make it a resolution. Practice positive on purpose. There is enough negativity in the world without our contribution.