Tuesday, March 15, 2011

your own worst enemy.

i'm going to admit it, right here and now: the last month of pregnancy is taking a toll on me, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

i've decided that i am absolutely my own worst enemy.

i knew this before, because in this journey of healthy living, it seems the only one who can really make me feel good and terrible about myself, like a total failure, is myself. 

it's that persistent, pesky voice of self-loathing that really gets me, the one that violently refuses to acknowledge positive efforts and instead focuses persistently on any small measure of human frailty or weakness, pointing them out as the sum total of my character.

normally, when this happens, i can DO something about it. i can arrest it by taking control of certain things, especially things about my physical world. i can go to an extra gym class, making me feel strong and limber and capable. i can watch what i eat and the weight will come off. the math works, and i feel more in control.  i can get a good night's sleep. 

i don't have that kind of control right now. 

in any way.

for me, that's a challenge that goes beyond the lack of sleep or the painful hips or the pregnancy waddle or the assortment of the other humbling and unpleasant side effects. it's all mental.  to try to get outside of my own head, to try to flip the switch from something negative to something positive, is very difficult for me.

i don't think this is foreign to anyone's experience, really.  i bring it up not to call attention to myself (i really don't need to do so...i get plenty of stares wherever i go nowadays), but to suggest that we stop that voice more quickly than we normally do. 

we often tend to let this voice of self-loathing, self-deprecating criticism derail our progress far too often.  we listen to it more readily than the many outside of ourselves who tell us the positive, good, happy news that we are beautiful, accomplished, dynamic, strong, incredible--or whatever it is that is the particular truth we refuse to believe about ourselves. 

i don't care who you are: self-loathing gets you nowhere fast.  it might motivate you for a while, but in a short amount of time, it will turn every choice into a war fraught with guilt and instability.  it creates a gaping chasm that can never be filled, because no matter what you do, you can never make your worst enemy happy.

so what do we do? when we're doing our best, and we still feel the encroaching shadow of this negativity, what do we do to flip the switch?

i've been thinking about this, for obvious reasons.  i have decided that, though i can't work the plan that i normally work in these situations, i can take control. i can shift my focus.  for me, that means making a more concerted effort on developing the elements of my life that i do have control over: my spirituality, for example, is one of the aspects that i am choosing to focus on. i will be reading my scriptures more often and making more of an effort in my prayers.  i can stay busy with the many other things i have in my life, like my work, which make me feel accomplished. 

i can actively choose what i focus on.  so can you.  what you choose to let inside your head, what you choose to allow yourself to get wrapped up in, is what will become your focus. 

do you want your focus to be positive or negative? i think we all know the answer to that.

it doesn't make the other stuff go away.  i will continue to get bigger. i may have to continue to fight the feeling that, somehow, that's a bad thing.  it's the last month, and it's the hardest.  that's okay.  we all have the things that make us cringe, that bring us to our knees. 

i think it's what we do with those things, how we react to them, how we fight back, so to speak, rather than surrender, that sets us apart and determines our level of success.

so tonight, i'll read a chapter of scripture. tomorrow, i'll grade some things and i'll do yoga if only because i will spend 50 minutes breathing deeply.  i will go to church and try to serve others.  as i do, i'll try to maintain my focus on what i CAN do, what i HAVE done, instead of what i can't control or what isn't working well.

in the process, i believe i'll begin to feel much better about everything. 

flip the switch, y'all.  don't let that voice take over.  it's just not worth it. 

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