I got this from my friend Erma this morning. She references our talk which followed my having experienced a paradigm shift during my therapy session.
Good morning! As you were talking yesterday, I wanted to shout out, "Wow, Sara, you're already losing lots of weight. I can hear you; you look so much lighter already." The image I saw was you walking over to the scale in your home, and then you standing on it and you were really pleased to see what it said. But it wasn't numbers. It was a message about the fact that you had lost burdens, thoughts, opinions, everything that has been weighing you down and that you were in fact much lighter now. You had lost a lot of weight by letting go of all the things that were not yours to carry. Your composure was serene and content with a small nod of gratitude. It was amazing! And so are you, my friend!
That’s the realization…that I am actually OK with myself right now. I actually love who I am, and the pressure to do more, be more (or less if you consider that one of the issues is weight loss!), and keep achieving comes from the expectation of earning and pleasing. Now I will share how I got there.
Last Friday I wrestled with thoughts to stop smoking (yes, I am dealing with this again). There is some shame around this, and yet, as I neared the end of my pack of cigarettes I had feelings of panic. So I asked myself “would there be a situation where I could see myself quitting?” I knew if someone asked me to do it for them based on their need that I could and would stop for their benefit. That bothered me, and so I asked myself why I couldn't do it for myself. Deep inside, I heard this reference to being a “big girl” and doing whatever was asked of me. Being a big girl is really about performing for someone else. I can hear and sense the feelings about being a big girl for daddy or mommy, or the teacher, or my grandparents. Being a big girl is linked to wanting or needing or expecting to be helpful...be useful, compliant, obedient, responsible, pleasant,… And I realized that I did not want to be a big girl. In this, I mean that I recognized I was identifying with that little girl presently, and that I did not want to stop smoking.
Yesterday, I saw the connection to my comforting myself (through smoking for instance) and this big girl memory. I’m taken back to age three when I gave up my finger sucking and the pillow I snuggled (I’ve mentioned this in other postings) after my mother asked me to stop (“Big girls don’t suck their fingers…”). This pattern of my willingness to do this “tough thing” as in denying myself of some pleasure for instance so that I may get approval and love (and not feel rejected?) dates back to this time which is why it surfaced again. Without the main means of comforting myself at age three led to a lifelong replacement in food, and later, in cigarettes. It’s a pretty clear connection why these would become my default, go-to means of comforting.
I brought all these thoughts and feelings to the therapy room yesterday, completely expecting to deal with my hesitancy and move towards doing “the right thing” of quitting smoking and getting on track to lose weight. That was just a logical expectation to me. Of course I would need to do these things…the sooner the better…because I need to work on that next step, the next level, get that approval, keep seeking more. By doing this, it will lead me where I need to go and to be. And at that place is where I will feel loved and be accepted and have it together. It wasn't about being physically healthier, but about meeting an external expectation.
It all shifted when Debra asked me this question, “Are you ok with where you are? Do you love yourself right now?” I paused…for quite a while. Tears formed while I meditated on that question, and she wanted to know why the tears. The realization that I am happy; that I am ok with myself brought some of the tears because it seems almost audacious of me to be ok with myself; actually, absurd that I could feel ok, especially at this weight. Yet, there it was…an acceptance of who I am right now. It is a product of all this wonderful love I have felt from God. I just hadn’t seen it or realized how it is shifting the way I see myself. I suppose it is the layer effect, and this one was now exposed in all its richness.
The link to being three is the feeling that I am being asked to change something that I am ok with. I’m pretty sure that I was ok with my finger sucking when I was three; others weren't. Oddly enough, I’m ok right now just as I am. There is an external pressure to have me change. I know that from this place of acceptance that when I do approach these same issues of smoking and weight loss that it will come from a loving place within me rather than an external one where I’m seeking to be loved. I look forward to sharing that experience as well. Today, I’m set for cruising.