THROWING OUT THE GARBAGE
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...
"LOOK IN THE MIRROR – You probably do this already and probably with a certain amount of disgust." – K-I-S-S Guide to Weight Loss; Page 39
When I read this line it struck me that here is something that lies at the heart of our problems that we need to address. While the above line was inserted into the text almost as a throwaway, used to lead into a valid discussion on self evaluation, I think it nailed another critical point.
When I was in grade school, my academic life was hard. I thought I was stupid. If you would have told me that the average IQ was 100, I would have expected that mine would have been well below that, rather than more than half again as high. Every time I brought my report card home it was a nightmare. Dad would yell, and Mom would fuss, and I would feel like a complete idiot.
My low point came in sixth grade, when I had Mrs. Hackett as my teacher, who was fresh out of college, and I am sure she didn't have a clue what to do with an academic loser like me. I spent the time in class reading books instead of doing my class work. I read biographies about George Armstrong Custer, Alexander Graham Bell, Chief Joseph, and others. I learned a lot that year, but not what I was supposed to learn. I still remember many things I learned from my reading; but my final average was an 'F' in 6 of my 13 graded subjects, with straight F's in Science (one of my very favorite subjects today), and in Social Studies. I can still remember that Social Studies was on South America, in which I had no interest at all. In addition to 6 final F's, I had 3 final D's, leaving only 3 C's for Art, Physical Education, and Reading and one C+ in music. I look at it now, and I see that my grades in English, Health, and Science lay in ruins, and my grade for Arithmetic had been seriously damaged. My report card looked like a tornado had laid it to waste.
I think the most confusing thing to me at the time was when my father would tell me that according to my teachers I should be at the top of my class. The top of my class? I couldn't even stay on the bottom of my class; I was left behind to do the grade again.
What does this have to do with looking in the mirror? My perception was wrong. I was not dumb. I could have been at the top of my class, as I have since demonstrated in other classes. But I could go nowhere as long as I perceived myself as being stupid. I am reminded of a saying that my DWLZ friend Carole has in her signature line on Dotti's message board: Success comes in cans, failure comes in can'ts. If you perceive something as being a certain way, it will most often be that way.
It is very common for people, especially women, to look in the mirror and only see their faults; even supermodels and movie starlets do it! This is neither wise nor helpful.
No one is perfect, and so naturally you and I will have faults. Even if a mythical person could be perfect today, age would take care of that in time anyway. It is not only absurd, but it is destructive to expect to see perfection in the mirror, and then beat yourself up for not having it.
It is one thing to look at yourself and say, "I would like to lose weight, and tighten up my muscles to improve my appearance." But it is quite another to say, "I think you are disgusting!" Even if you lose the weight you want, and you tighten up the muscles, there will still be imperfections. Imperfections are part of life, and we will always live with them. They can even be something that highlight our individuality and make us special to others. They are part of us, and they always will be.
If you are overweight right now, even seriously overweight, you are just as special today, just as valuable as a person, as you will be when you reach your goal weight. I recently gathered together some pictures for a project. These pictures were taken at various times over the 30 years that Dotti and I have been married. One of my favorites was of Dotti and I taken in 1995 at a going away party as we were leaving Massachusetts. I weighed close to 240 pounds, and Dotti, 11 inches shorter than I am, was at 245 pounds. Dotti was laughing and she looked so beautiful in that picture that it just melts my heart to see it. Dotti doesn't have to be thin to be wonderful, and neither do you!
A weight loss journey is not about changing your value as a person; you are one of kind, and losing or gaining weight will never change that!
Let's consider some self-help projects you might like to tackle. Perhaps you would like to learn to read music, and play an instrument. Or maybe you don't drive and would like to get your license. Would you like to learn a foreign language? Climbing a mountain, or running a marathon just might be in your future if you want.
Let's assume you have a desire to do one or more of these things, but so far have never taken any steps towards making it happen. How do you feel about that? Do you reasonably assess the situation and realize that you just haven't made time for it yet, and that you may do so in the future, or are you disgusted with yourself for not having done it already?
Do you see that learning a skill, or improving your physical conditioning may be valuable, but they do not define your value as a person?
When you take on a self-help project you should be excited about it. You should be filled with urgency to get it done, so your goals will move to the top of your daily To Do list. You should embody enthusiasm, focusing upon your project as something very important because it will lead to results that you are eager to enjoy.
This is what you should feel about your weight loss journey! These clear, clean, and wholesome emotions will pull you right along to goal. Nurture them and keep them vibrant in your life.
But what of disgust? Where does it fit into your happy project? Disgust will only lie in wait for a weak moment to take you down into the failure of quitting your project. Disgust has no place in your healthy self-portrait. Look yourself in the eye when you look in the mirror and smile, because you are worth a smile. See the positive in your image and focus on that!
Disgust and self-loathing are emotional garbage that will putrefy and poison your journey and your life. Look up, and see your goal. There it is right before you; you can reach it! Whenever you find negative thoughts trying to come between you and the view of your goal; grab onto them and just like you would any other garbage, throw it out!
This garbage cannot be recycled nor reclaimed. It must be destroyed for good. Send it down the garbage disposal. You don't let garbage sit around your kitchen where it will stink and draw flies.
You are NOT disgusting. You are a valuable person, with intelligence, feeling, compassion, and you are attractive. Accept it and move on.
Look in the mirror and tell me what you see. That is your face, and it is your smile. (Make sure you start with a smile, because it is so nice to see!) Those are your eyes, each with its own sparkle of light. This is you. You are unique and wonderful! Embrace yourself with healthy acceptance, because you stand before the mirror worthy of that acceptance!
You can use a weight loss journey to make changes in your life—because you wish to make them. But those changes will not alter your personal worth an iota. You can be proud of your accomplishments, and reaching your goals. You can be satisfied with the results, but it is still you who will be looking back at you in the mirror then, as it is now.
Here are a few things a weight loss journey can help with:
A weight loss journey cannot:
Never forget that you are what you think and what you do. When you act lovable, you will be loved. When you act friendly, you will have friends. When you act with dignity, you will be respected. This is true, no matter what you weigh.
As I mentioned above, Dotti was the most beautiful woman I knew when she weighed 245 pounds, and she was loving, friendly, and lived with dignity; so she was loved, had many friends, and was respected. Her weight never changed that. Today, she is nearly 60 pounds lighter than she was in 1995; and she is now losing on her way back to goal—as a nonsmoker(!)—but she is still the wonderful Dotti that she has always been. Dotti was never disgusting because of her weight, and neither are you!
Take heart and take out the garbage. You are going to love living in a space that is uncontaminated with it. Enjoy!
Copyright and disclaimer
Disclaimer - - This essay is not meant to be a substitute for any professional advice, guidance, or counseling. We are not doctors. Any information contained hearin reflects our own opinions and experiences. It is not intended in any way to serve as or take the place of medical advice from a physician.