From Fat to Fit- 12 Steps to Getting Healthy Quick … Challenge #8

I took the challenges out-of-order. Today, I am writing on Challenge 8 instead of 7, because it’s my blog and I can do that if I want. And, because it has been on my heart and mind this past week.

I lost my sister to cancer this past Wednesday. She turned 50 last month. Life sucks hard. Five years ago I watched my mother die from diabetes related illness (secondary infections caused from ports for kidney dialysis, massive amounts of antibiotics, and congestive heart failure). My husband and I were her caretakers. Life sucks hard.

Watching those you care about suffer physically is so incredibly difficult. Knowing these ailments can, for the most part, be prevented, didn’t help me any. It did, however, put me on a mission a few years ago to help spread awareness. After being inundated with commercial messages, I decided to see what academia had to say about health and fitness. I became a certified nutrition consultant and personal trainer. In my world if you’re going to learn something, learn it well enough to teach it or don’t bother. I’m an all or nothing kind of person. I don’t half-*ss anything and I don’t like it when others do it either.

What I uncovered during this educational journey is that most of us are very much aware of what we should be doing in the optimal health category. We know what we “should” do, we just simply don’t do it, for whatever reason. Today, my challenge to you is to be more committed to the solution than you are to the problem. Like most of my writings, this article is blunt and direct (Caution: I might hurt your feelings. Once you’re done being mad at me you will remember my words, albeit with contempt, but remember nonetheless). I make no apologies. I need you to work hard to eliminate the excuses as to why you can’t and start committing yourself to all the reasons why you can.

My friend asked me to provide 12 steps to get healthy quick.  Quick is a relative term. When I want something I want it yesterday. Others have a wee bit more patience than I do. Others may allow more time to pass and still feel as if it is quick.  The safest approach to weight loss is 1 pound per week. You can lose an abundance of weight in four months if you put action behind the desire. I personally think four months is relatively quick, others however, may disagree.

Please note: I am a doctor but I am not a medical doctor. Before undertaking any type of physical regimen you should consult with your medical physician. Disclosure over! Let’s get started.

Below, I have outlined my 12 hard truths to a healthy lifestyle:

  1. You must first wrap your head around the idea that being healthy doesn’t happen by accident. Sedentary lifestyles and jobs do not set you up for success in this area, in fact, just the opposite is true. You must commit to living a healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life. Yes, that’s right.  I said; “FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.” (OMG, shoot me now!). F-O-R-E-V-E-R. It is a lifetime commitment.
  2. Stop wasting your time looking for quick fixes. And, for goodness sakes, stop wasting your money buying crap products promising quick weight loss and health benefits in a pill, powder, or liquid form. BOGUS! BOGUS!! BOGUS!!! These are multi-million dollar companies feeding on your desire to see immediate results without putting in any effort.  The “Give it to me now, I deserve it now” mentality. Listen, I understand people are trying to supplement their incomes with these multi-level marketing programs, and it is not my intent to take anything away from them and their entrepreneurial spirit and desire to chase the American Dream. But seriously, folks, a lot of these products are harmful. The “real” solution itself is actually very simple. But, you already know this. You’ve heard it many, many times. You just are not ready to embrace it as truth. The fact is and will always be:  You are a living organism. You function on energy in, energy out. Food is energy. Movement utilizes energy. To lose weight you must do less of one thing and more of another. Yep, you must burn more energy than you consume. Your body is an efficient machine. What you don’t use it will save (store=fat cells) for later.
  3. Take responsibility for the things you do and the things you don’t do.  That means what you put in your mouth and the amount of activity in your life. (Dang, Carol! Why do you have to be so blunt?! Because hints don’t work. I don’t encourage victim mentality. This is important. Your life literally depends on it, so listen up! Please. I SAID PLEASE).
  4. Exercise alone will not get you there. You will make a greater impact on your weight loss when you focus on eating healthier and combine that with exercise. It must be attacked from both sides. You’ve heard the statement; “You can’t out exercise a bad diet,” well… it’s true. Very true. Sorry. I don’t like it either.
  5. So, what am I supposed to do exactly, little Miss Smarty Pants? Let’s start with a simple question…. How many servings of vegetables did you eat today? What about yesterday? Yeah, that’s a problem. You MUST eat vegetables. Four to five servings per day. Variety is key. The Choose My Plate guidelines are really good guidelines. I would make a few minor adjusts to them though. Visit the website. It is a great place to start.
  6. Eliminating fat, protein, or carbohydrates completely from your diet is insane. Your body needs all three. Your body needs the right ones and in healthy portion sizes. (Healthy fats = avocado, olive oil, nuts. Clean proteins: beans, soy, nuts, low-fat meats. Healthy carbs = veggies, fruits, whole wheat, beans…).
  7. When choosing foods to consume stay as close to nature as possible. Pick products with the least amount of ingredients. Fresh is best, then frozen, then canned. Rinse anything coming from a can. Grains should be whole. Nothing bleached or enriched. We consume too much processed and pre-packaged foods. These are loaded with salt, sugar, refined flour, and preservatives (a/k/a chemicals. Hello free radicals).
  8. Stop eating meat every day. I’m a meat and potatoes girl. I get it. This is a tough one. The problem in the U.S. is we eat a lot of meat and usually high fat concentrated meats. We over consume. We are spoiled. Limit your meat intake to just twice a week and this includes beef, chicken, luncheon meats, eggs… Replace with beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
  9. When you eat meat or dairy opt for low-fat or no-fat versions. Use less meat in stews, chili’s etc. If you always used a pound of 80/20 beef, instead try using a 1/2 pound of 96/4 beef. You won’t notice the difference.
  10. Preparation and serving sizes are important. We underestimate portion sizes. Supersize is not one serving! One meal served  at a restaurant is usually enough for two people. Share (they’ll think you’re being nice *wink*wink*).  The size of our dinner plates have grown from 7 inches to 12 inches. What??? That is just crazy. Bake instead of frying foods. Charcoaling and cured meats (luncheon meats, salami, ham, sausages, bacon, meats not sold as fresh) are linked to cancer.
  11. Indulge every once in a while. Not daily and not weekly. Yes, you heard that right. You can eat the good, fun stuff. Save the fun eating for special occasions. The key to staying on track with a healthy lifestyle is what you do, whatever program you pick, it must be sustainable. If you try to eliminate everything you love or enjoy eating you won’t stick to it. I follow an 80/20 program. I function from knowledge. If I make a choice to eat something I know is not healthy for me, I do it with full knowledge of the potential risks and consequences. My goal is to stick to my program at least 80% of the time. That’s doable. And, if I eat something I shouldn’t I try to limit it to 20%. Have a bite of that cake, donut, bread, and then throw the rest of it away.
  12. Exercise. Yes, you do have the time. Yes, you do have the energy. It’s about priorities. Personally, I have to get up at 5:00 a.m. every day to make time for exercise. It’s the only way I can be sure it happens. My evenings are filled with other people, activities, and events. I don’t leave it to chance or convenience and neither should you. When I first had to come to terms with the fact that I would have to get up at 5:00 a.m. in order to manage my physical fitness program I was mad (beyond mad, down right pisssssssssed, even). I finally had to admit I can make it happen or I can make an excuse. The choice was mine. I don’t give myself a choice. 5:00 a.m. works for me, so 5:00 a.m. it is. Another time might work better for you. Adjust and until you find the right time. Fight for it. Protect it. I also have asthma and permanent lung damage. When you sleep your body makes more mucus. My lungs don’t always want to cooperate with me. It is not uncommon for me to have a coughing fit, be hunched over the trash can, and spitting out a terrible amount of thick mucus (I know, attractive, right? It is what it is) in the middle of a workout. Again, I can make it happen or I can make excuses. I take advantage of the good days and I push through the bad ones. Yet, never, never push through an injury. Listen to the cues of your body. I personally enjoy exercising. I enjoy the quiet time. I enjoy feeling strong. I enjoy the small victories when I can increase the weights. I like seeing what else my body has to give. It’s not always fun. Some days I want to push the snooze button… just one.more.time. It’s not glamorous (cue image of spitting girl over the trash can). The one thing that is, though, is necessary. There are dozens of types of exercises. I do weightlifting and cross-training. Others may enjoy biking, walking, hiking, dancing, skating, swimming… pick something you enjoy and do it a minimum of 3 times per week. For health benefits you should exercise at a moderate rate of intensity for 2 1/2 hours per week (this is the minimum amount).
  13. Rest and drink plenty of water. Your mental health and physical health are in close alignment. You need to rest, both, mentally and physically. Your body will need time to heal and restore. Muscle fibers strengthen during the repair process. When life feels overwhelming, take a break. Your brain and emotions need a time out as well. Water is a necessary ingredient of life. Remember science class? You must have water. Shoot for a 100 ounces per day (just don’t drink it all at the same time, because that will kill you…literally). Say bye-bye to the sodas and juices and drink your water. Your body will thank you for it.

Dang it! I’m an overachiever. As hard a I tried I just couldn’t provide all that sage advice in just 12 Steps, so you got the baker’s dozen instead (13). Lucky? Hmmm…. maybe.

*Cue Military Voice Here* Cut the crap and get your butt in gear. Have I said; Life is too short? No? Well, it is. Life is too short and if you don’t get a handle on this soon yours will be even shorter. It’s your health… own it! Let’s go Princess (Princess is not gender specific by the way. I use it freely to describe men and women. Adjust the tiara Mister and get going!).

EXCUSE ME

I ran out of excuses. I can no longer provide you with an excuse for your behavior.  I can no longer soften the blow of your hateful words. I can no longer excuse your silence in times of darkness.

The word “excuses” is defined generally as an attempt to lessen the blame attaching to a fault or offense; seek to defend or justify or release someone from a duty or requirement.

We make excuses for our own behavior that is a given. My hope is that we correct it more than we excuse it. But, I am also really good at making excuses for other people’s behavior. I bet you are too. Most, generally, this is a learned behavior. As children we are made to apologize for the things we do, for our reaction to the things that other’s do to us, and often even for the unilateral hurtful actions of others. What exactly does this teach us?

It teaches us to ignore our feelings. It teaches us to ignore our intuition. It teaches us that our feelings aren’t important. It teaches us we don’t matter as humans. It teaches us that sacrificing ourselves for the sake of some pseudo peaceful state is not only acceptable but must be achieved above all else. It keeps us grounded in harmful relationships. It keeps us seeking out the comfortable mayhem of abuse.

Making excuses for someone else’s bad behavior and forgiving a person’s bad behavior are two entirely different things. In my world, there are three actions that should precede forgiveness. First, acknowledgement of the behavior. Second, a sincere apology. And, third, corrective actions.  Without these present the behavior has simply been excused and will most likely continue because there have been no consequences requiring introspective review of the behavior by the offender. If the behavior works, the behavior will continue. It really is that simple. This, however, also makes you a contributor to the bad behavior. The point being, you teach people how to treat you.

People act like jerks because they are allowed to be jerks. PERIOD. No one wants to confront the behavior. It is not fun. It’s messy. And, well…. sometimes it doesn’t lead to a resolution at all but a greater divide. Is that okay? Yes, actually it is.

Listen, everyone can have a bad day, but you don’t have the right to have a bad day everyday. Nor does anyone have the right to inflict their bad upon anyone else.

I am not saying you must confront the bad behavior of all individuals. There are times it would be futile to even try. Certainly, there are times when it is just easier, and frankly, safer, to quietly walk away. Leave the church. Quit the job. End the relationship. Never addressing the root of the problem.

If you find yourself in a cyclical pattern, if a person’s behavior is hurtful to you, if it offends your personal boundaries, then it is time to say goodbye, addios, good riddance. The length of time you’ve known the individual is irrelevant. Time does not equate to a free pass to be crappy to you. You do not have to endure that person, that friendship, that relationship just to prove you are strong, capable, a good Christian, or a forgiver. HOGWASH! Value you. Find your voice. Be strong enough to walk away. Head high and integrity intact. There is a beautiful light waiting to shine upon the darkness that has been holding you captive. Let go.

Project Update – Closing in on the Finish Line

I recently took on a new art project. The blank canvas consisted of a white 1981 Chevy C10 long bed truck with red interior. I have no clue about car restoration, but having no knowledge about a particular subject that I find interesting rarely, er… never has stopped me from proceeding in the past. I’m not necessarily a “risk taker.” I just don’t adhere to the popular concept of failure as much as I do educational opportunities. How do you know unless you try? And, what is the best teacher? Experience.

Phase I of this project consisted of demo and ensuring my husband didn’t kill me because he thinks I’ve lost my mind. It wasn’t really as much demo as it was more like extensive clean up. After exercising a lot of elbow grease on the truck I sent it off with a friend for a full mechanical review and updates as needed. From a mechanical perspective, the truck was in great condition and really only needed light work to get it road ready. I had the brakes and brake lines replaced as well as all light bulbs, and we put on a new muffler.

Phase II was activated simultaneous with Phase I.  While my friend was working on the truck I went shopping. Hello? That’s the best part. I have several cosmetic items purchased and waiting in boxes in my art room for their final destination. It’s an art project, where else are these parts going to go? I have things like: new arm rests, sun visors, outside mirrors, windshield wiper arms, new door handles, etc. Can.not.wait!

Phase III consists of a new paint job. That is where I am at now… Phase III. I had no idea what a chore it would be to find a company to paint this truck. I assumed you call a paint and body shop, schedule an appointment for an estimate, and then schedule to have it painted if the price was agreeable. No! I discovered most paint and body shops do not actually do what they refer to as “restoration” work. They do not do complete paint jobs. They only do small accident and hail repair. What? Who knew this? Obviously, not me! I suspect their limited work scope has more do with getting paid (i.e. insurance coverage) than anything else.

I had to make a lot of phone calls and send several e-mails before I located a few viable sources for the full paint job (restoration work). I received an agreeable estimate last week to “bring it back to life.” The canvas (truck) is scheduled to go in for it’s new paint tomorrow. This Phase will take two to three weeks to complete. I am beyond excited. What? Color? You want to know the color? Okay. The paint color I chose is…. Just kidding! I’m not going to tell you and ruin the surprise.

Phase II is still happening. Hello? Shopping! I am still in the process of making cosmetic purchases such as new seat belts, custom upholstery for the bench seat, and a few other odds and ends. I have a list (Oh shush! I know you’re not surprised).

Phase IV will take place once Phase III is completed. This Phase will consist of a spray on bed liner, new tires and rims, floor mats, and a special grill for the front of the truck. I can see the vision. The test will be for me to make it a tangible reality. I so got this (if my husband doesn’t kill me first)!

Holiday Traditions, Must We?

I see the leaves falling and it brings into focus the holidays are soon to follow, along with a host of traditions. I am not a participator in a lot of traditions. Honestly, I don’t care for most of them. My mom, on the other hand, was huge into family traditions. We had family get-togethers for almost every holiday. I thought the entire process was time-consuming, expensive and draining. I realize my anomaly to societies most sacred traditions gives me the exterior of selfishness. I’ll accept it as a badge of honor. I’ve learned the hard way that going against the grain, the traditions, the expectations of others, often gets you slapped with not-so-nice labels.

I’m not criticizing others for having traditions or for enjoying their traditions. I’m just saying I don’t necessarily want to participate in them. It’s not personal (Okay fine! I’ll admit it. Sometimes it is personal, but mostly not). It’s just not my thing.  Spending the day with a bunch of loud people all talking at the same time, or with a group of strangers, just doesn’t sound like a good time to me.

I’ve met far too many people over the years who spend the holidays completely stressed out. Some spend ridiculous amounts of money to throw the best holiday party. Some spend ridiculous amounts of time and money to provide the best family meal. Some spend ridiculous amounts of personal anxiety and mental energy faking smiles and small talk for an entire day with people they don’t like, are uncomfortable being around, or who otherwise offend their personal boundaries. Why on earth would you expose yourself to this?

Stop it! This is madness, madness, I say.

I am a BIG fan of low-stress holidays. My need to throw down a big family, home-cooked, get-together happens only about once every five (5) years (If the moon isn’t in perfect alignment with the third star from the fifth planet of the tenth galaxy, it’s probably not the year). If the only time I see you is in exchange for a gift, a material item…. hmmm…. I think that sends the wrong message.

In our humble abode, we celebrate birthdays and Christmas is a BIG deal. All other holidays? Not so much. My lack of participation doesn’t mean I don’t care. If I love you I love you all year regardless of gifts. And, if I don’t love you, why the hell do I want to spend my hard earned money on you? That is just ludicrous.

My favorite Christmas “traditions” is the quiet dinner out right before the madness begins. I enjoy annual drives with the kids to look at Christmas decorations while eating ice cream cones and singing Christmas Carols.  I prefer spending the evenings bunked out in front of the fireplace, sipping an adult beverage, while the lights on the Christmas tree flicker in the background (Peace on Earth). I enjoy family show night with hot cocoa, the Grinch and Charlie Brown’s Christmas. Low key, stress free.

If you are tired of the hub-bub, the hustle, the bustle, the debt, the anxiety, the stress, the after holiday let down, feel free to give yourself permission to say; “No, not happening this year.” They’ll get over it, eventually. If, however, you prefer the party, the fast paced life, the loud rooms filled with people, well then… party on, friend.

School Days

I began attending two classes at the local Community College recently. As if a doctorate degree isn’t enough. I am an education nerd. I love learning new things. Learning new things keeps me sharp. I am feeding my need for new information in areas I find interesting. My current course load consists of an ecology and environmental science class along with an algebra class, because math and science go hand-in-hand, or so they keep telling me.

Two days a week I have a mid-day class. I am most definitely the oldest person in this class, other than the Professor. Most of the students appear to be right out of high school or early to mid twenties at best. I’ve already sized up the group and made snap judgements about most of those in attendance. Why? Because that’s what you do when you walk into a room full of strangers. You assess the room, the people, and map out the escape routes (Check! Check! Done!)  We have an interesting group. I don’t know their names, but I know the following:

First, there are the two young adults (male and female) who have staked their claim to the end of the table. Four seats and only two of them. They spread their materials all around to ensure no one sits by them. When class begins, and they are certain they won’t have anyone in close proximity to where they are sitting, they clean up their belongings and swap chairs. Their covert operations has been uncovered. I’m certain no one wants to sit by them at this point. The label ashats comes to mind. Their ritual has been entertaining to watch. I’m certain another ashat in the class will also eventually take notice and intentionally interfere and a take seat at their table. I hope I have popcorn on hand that day. Popcorn always pairs well when watching drama unfold.

Second, there is the space cadet. Grace upon grace upon grace for this child. This is the girl who always asks a question the Professor just answered two seconds before. And, she does it EVERY.SINGLE.CLASS. I believe she is most likely paying attention, I’m just not certain what planet she is occupying. It’s not earth. The level of patience the Professor shows this girl sends her straight up the ladder to sainthood in my play book.

Third, there is the young guy who comes straight from the gym. Workout clothes and muscles. Before the first class even began he had already made a beeline to the sweet, naive, shy brunette. If he pushes hard enough she’ll eventually succumb to his charms, and from what I’ve witnessed, he is not one to give up and walk away empty-handed. He’ll eventually break her heart. It’s like watching a real life version of a Harlequin Romance Novel, minus the happily ever after (I’m a bit of a cynic in this area. No fluff. No sugar-coating). I could be wrong, but I’m not. That rarely happens. My mommy instincts want to shout a warning, teach her how to play the game, and leave muscle boy grasping his ego like a lifeline, but it’s a different world, and some lessons you have to learn on your own. She needs to toughen up.

Finally, there is the two young men who sit in the front of the class right in front of the Professor. RIGHT.IN.FRONT. And, I thought I was a nerd? These two have first place ribbons in this category. They’ve both taken classes with this Professor before. They live and breathe this stuff. They keep the Professor engaged and laughing during class. It’s nice to know young people can still succeed in interpersonal relationships and verbal communications without the use of any technological crutch.

Some other observations I’ve made is: tattoos and gauges are cool for scientists. A majority of my classmates have skin art. Tattoos tell stories. I like studying the art and trying to guess how it fits in with their story.

Stocking caps are cool to wear in the heat of the summer. What? I know! I couldn’t believe it either. But, seriously, it’s over 90 degrees and the young men are wearing stocking caps and beanies to class  To each his own, I suppose. Besides, my attire can best be described as corporate mommy wear. I’m certain I’ve gotten an eye roll or two.

Gauges, facial piercings, and long hair on men are also in abundance. I’ve never had a guy ask me if I have an extra hair tie he can borrow, but I am certain this will happen in the near future. Stocking up. Everyone knows that if you need something you’ll find it in mom’s purse. A few of the young men will, no doubt, at some point, need some hair tie or barrettes (Are those still a thing?) to keep their hair out of their face and eyes so they can view the specimens in the microscope.

I’ve mostly learned this is a good group of young people (minus the two ashats, but they’ll grow up eventually). I have witnessed them helping out their classmates. Polite and respectful. They’ve even taken pity on the old chick-a-dee who wasn’t aware that all testing is now graded by scantrons, which requires a pencil to completely fill in the bubble on the answer sheet. One sweet girl loaned me her mechanical pencil since all I carry is blue ink pens.

As you can see, I am learning a lot of new things at the Community College. Staying open and seeing the world through a different set of eyes or perception is probably the most valuable education one can receive. As the Professor says; “Take the time to get to know those around you. You’re sharing the same bathroom facilities for goodness sakes.” Solid advice!

Shine On

When the clouds come, shine on.

When the rain falls, shine on.

When life brings you to your knees, shine on.

I understand there is a point to tragedy, some greater plan, but for the life of me I can’t fathom or understand what it is. I often question this… purpose. What is the purpose? What is the purpose of this event? What is the purpose of this tragedy? What is the purpose of this pain?

The past few weeks have been fraught with tragedy for so many people. Some lost all of their material belongings to flood waters in Texas. They must now start over from scratch. Literally escaping with only the clothes on their backs. I can’t fathom the reason why.

A dear lady was stabbed by a man who she had tried to help in the past. Being a kind-hearted servant has left her fighting for her life. I can’t fathom the reason why.

Death has knocked on my door and taken a beloved away. Grief swallows you whole. I can’t fathom the reason why.

Babies in pediatric wards fighting for their little lives. Moms who just gave birth a few days before leaving hospitals with empty arms. I can’t fathom the reason why.

The question “why” is often the only thing that remains. And, the only thing that goes unanswered. We don’t know the why. And, it just doesn’t make any sense.

In the midst of the news stories covering the tragic events of the past few weeks, in the midst of the preacher’s prayer on Sunday, in the midst of a sister’s lamented cry, I feel the words…. hope, resilience, survival. I grasp at them like oxygen. My hands reaching out, grabbing, trying desperately to catch the invisible.

Where does it come from? This hope, this resilience? How is it that we can repeatedly pick ourselves up and continue on? We know not what tomorrow brings and have no idea how we are going to get through today, yet somehow we manage to do just that. We continue on. We strive. We push through. We endure. We persevere. But, why?

We have no choice. The last few weeks are grave reminders that we, we simple humans, little in the grand design, we are not in control. Visitors, we are. Visitors in this world. Visitors in this life. We persevere because we live. Because we have no choice.

You’ve heard it said that time heals all wounds, but I’d argue that the wounds never actually heal. As time passes you learn to absorb the pain. The reality doesn’t diminish. The event doesn’t disappear. You can’t un-see things, tragedies. You can’t un-feel the emotions. It changes you.

Yesterday, I was visiting with a lady who is facing a double mastectomy due to her battle with breast cancer. I complimented her on her smile. How she shows up everyday and has such a positive attitude. Her response to me was; “It is just something I have to go through. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me.” In that moment, she taught me the true essence of strength. Shine on.

I watched the news story of the black man, a pastor, swimming in the flood waters in Texas. He was exhausted. His body weary, yet it didn’t stop him. He was driven from the inside. Relentless, he dove down into the waters. His mission simple: save others. He refused to stop until he had checked every car within his viewing range to ensure no one was in the submerged vehicles. He, himself, suffering one of the greatest natural disasters to hit the States, and there he was…. His determination, his love for others, his need to help… It shone like a beacon in the murky waters. In that moment, he taught me hope. Shine on.

Then, I watched the news story of the woman, a single mom with four kids. Her home swallowed by the flood waters. Everything gone. Clothes, car, children’s toys, her job.… Everything gone. She had no idea where she and her children would be sleeping that night. With tears in her eyes she said; “My children are safe. We’re going to be okay.” She knew the importance of life, of family. She knew their innocent eyes were watching her. How she responded in that moment will teach them how to respond in the future. In that moment, she taught me love. Shine on.

We manage because we have to. We persevere because we have to. We simply have no choice. In the midst of our toughest battles… In the midst of our worst personal tragedies… when the darkness looms over us… we may be blind to it ourselves, but others see it. Others recognize it. This little light of will shines from within us. The will to survive. The will to overcome. I see it in you. In your darkness. In your pain. In your fears. I see it in you. Shine on.

Two Life Changing Questions

I do a lot of self-reflection or at least I attempt to. One area of focus for me lately is to try to ascertain the “why” a particular trait or behavior by another individual invokes my ire. Why are you so darn irritating? (Not exactly, but you get it.) When I start feeling frustrated by someone else’s behavior my goal has been to stop, implicate my internal critical thinking mechanism, and ask myself this simple question;

“Why does this bother me?” It seems really simple, right? Yeah, well, it’s not.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts you know I don’t sugarcoat. I try to get right to the point (A quick dagger to the heart. Just get it over with already!) I treat myself in the same manner. (No sugar-coating, Princess. Answer the question and give all the reasons as to why.) In order to answer this question I have to be totally honest…brutally honest. I’ll admit, sometimes, a lot of times, I don’t like the answers. Some of the reasons are perfectly logical and legitimate and some of them… ummm… some of them are just ridiculous.

Once I’ve gone through the process of completing step one and have ascertained all (Yes all) the reasons why I find you… er… I mean a trait or behavior irritating, I then ask myself a second question;

“Do I do that?” 

This question gets a little complicated and much more messy. (Honesty, Princess. Say it like it is!)  I’ve found there are many times when I have to admit that; “Yeah, I do do that.” Augh! (Firing squad or alter… decisions… decisions…).

Then reality comes thundering down. If I do thatthat thing… that behavior… then fairness dictates I must require myself to make one of the two following choices:

  1. I accept the behavior and get over it, like pronto get over it; or
  2. I have to change my own behavior (No! No! No! I told you it wasn’t easy. Imagine a six-year-old smug girl in pig-tails sticking her tongue out at you. I am not above telling you; “I told you so.” In fact, I kind of enjoy it. Accepted behavior. You are on your own.)

My point is…? If you all could just be really nice to me and not say or do anything stupid, obnoxious, arrogant, stubborn, obstinate, sarcastic… Seriously, be on your best behavior all the time when interacting with me, even in the slightest form, that would sure save me some self-reflecting heartburn. Your cooperation is much appreciated.