Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Build-ups for Grown-ups :)

Did I mention I'm not completely there with resilience yet? I'm still working on being the best version of me, and there are still moments that surprise me. Even when they shouldn't.

As you might have seen in my blog previously, I have always struggled with my weight. It's hard because of the physical and health factors, but it's also hard because it's one thing that I just don't seem to be able to get control of. When you're the kind of person that likes to be in control. That is tough.

Last night, I had a talk with a very wise lady who knows a lot about health and well-being. I could tell that she was really interested in helping me. Through our conversation, I figured out that when it comes to my weight, it seems that self-esteem is part of the problem (although, I think I've always known that). I really don't know why that is; I grew up in a stable, loving home without any real trauma in my childhood. It's perhaps just something that's wired a bit funny in my brain. 

Anyway, this lovely lady picked up on the fact that I'm a bit negative on myself. She suggested that I put up a post on Facebook asking for affirmations. My first thoughts were all negative: "that sounds like stupid attention-seeking behaviour"; "what if no one responds"; "is that really an authentic thing to do"; " wouldn't it seem a little needy". Which is of course why I had to do it. Right there and then, before I talked myself out of it. Even then, I drafted my post a couple of times, removing the "I'm sorry to bother you" and the "you don't have to if you don't want to" and "I know this seems silly" elements that I added.

Here's what they said...
I was absolutely blown away by the response. More than 50 people took a moment to say something nice about me. Stuff I kinda knew, but also stuff that I never realised that people noticed or liked about me. It was an absolutely amazing feeling to read these responses. This is the kind of stuff that people never get to hear. I'm so lucky!

As I thought about it even more, it struck me as odd that we don't do this for each other more often. As a primary school teacher, I (and most teachers I know) engaged my students in these kinds of feel-good activities: write something nice about your buddy/classmate/partner; anonymous kindness notes; etc. We also occasionally do it with each other in schools via 'secret buddy' programs, etc. But really, we hardly ever do seek validation or positive feedback from others. Sometimes, the only time people say nice things about us is after we're dead. And what good is that?!

And then, if and when we do receive positive feedback or compliments, we find it really hard to receive them. We laugh them off or make a joke; or wonder what the other person's motive is. Or is that just me? According to Guy Winch, compliments can make people with low self-esteem uncomfortable as they contradict a person's own feelings about themselves. Hmmmmm...

Anyway, for me it was a wonderful exercise. These comments made me feel lovely. But also gave me some more things to think about and work on. One person said to me "...the best way of improving your esteem is to not only listen and smile at all the beautiful things people have said... But to then truly believe them and transform all of this to your inner voice." That's my next challenge.

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