Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Overcoming Your Own Self-Inflicted Stereotype...

In the past 6 months, I have learned many things about myself. Some of them bad, some of them good. But I've told you that already. But I don't think I've actually named them...

I'll start with the bad things.

1. Control Issues - I tend to want to control situations and people. I am getting better at this but it's not easy by any stretch. (See my last post, "Control Issues".)

2. I worry. And I don't just mean casual worrying. I mean monumental, "if-I don't-have-anything-valid-to worry-about-I'll-make-something-up-to-worry-about" type worrying. I often liken my mind to the internet. I think of one thing, which links to something else, then to something beyond that, and on and on. If I think of something that many would not even think twice about, I can almost guarantee you I will have myself worked into a lather about something that could/might go wrong with the situation. Take my word for it - This is an AWFUL trait to have.
3. Another negative - and I only say that because I'm pessimistic by nature. And that is just it - that I'm a pessimist by nature. I really am an upbeat person from the outside but inside my head, my philosophy is "Blessed are those who expect nothing for they are not disappointed." I tell myself that if I think the worst, if it happens, then I was not blind sighted by it. If something great happens instead, I have been given an extra perk. But then at this point, refer to the paragraph above this one - then I'll figure out something else to worry about! It can be hell living in my head...really.
4. I'm very emotional. I have very deep feelings and when I love someone, I want to know they love me too. And if I can't tell for sure, it really cuts me deep emotionally.
5. I've always had an inferiority complex. Always. My mom cannot figure it out. She, being my mom, of course, thinks I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread. (or is it since white bread?) You know what I mean...But I do have a terrible self image. I have always felt ugly and fat and just...well - ugly.
Have you noticed I have not gotten to any good points I've discovered about myself? Well, again, reference numbers 3 and 5 above.
Okay, the reason I decided to write this post is to tell you something rather silly and I was trying to make it sound profound.
This past Saturday, I went out in public wearing shorts for the first time in at least 25 years. Yes, goofy but you have absolutely no idea how BIG that was for me. My new guy, "Forrest" has been giving me trouble about how I wear jeans in 90 degree weather. I told him my legs were too white (they just won't tan) and the nasty dark blue veins I have make my legs look like a roadmap. They are too fat - especially my knees. How in the world did my knees get so fat????? Whatever the case, I've been tanning so my legs actually have an off-white color to them now and the veins are not quite as stark against the new, softer, darker color. I 've also lost quite a bit of weight so my legs have thinned out somewhat, although my thighs and especially my knees are still gargantuan! But I found some shorts yesteday at Kohl's that not only don't look bad, they actually look good! So, I am anxious for Forrest to see me wear my new shorts. I know this sounds crazy, but somehow in this horrible divorce and its aftermath, I have found some confidence in myself in something as simple as a pair of shorts.
Today I'm wearing shorts - Tomorrow I'll be overcoming another stereotype I've always assigned to myself.
My challenge for you today- do something to break one of your own self-inflicted stereotypes...whether it be wearing shorts or running a marathon. The effect on your self esteem will be the same.


Anonymous said...

Over here from BBM...

I can identify with 1,2,4,5, and the fat thighs and knees. My mom likens them to tree trunks! Gee thanks mom, and she wonders why #5 is an issue!?!

Breaking one of my self-inflicted stereo types. Hmmm, I'm going to have to ruminate on that overnight. I'll get back to you tomorrow.

BTW-thanks for giving my never stopping brain something to think about while the rest of me tries to recharge, lol!

Martial Arts Mom said...

I see your user name indicates you're a nurse. Good people! I work in healthcare and work with lots and lots of nurses. Although I'm not a nurse, and I don't play one on tv, I have the utmost respect for nurses...tree trunk legs or not! (LOL - I'm laughing with you as I have 'em too!)I am working on trying to reduce them but you and I both know you can't spot reduce, although you can tone and that is my goal until I lose some of the fat there. I have been told by a trainer to do squats with your toes pointed out and holding a weight in your hands. Plus riding a bike is good. So, that's my plan and I'm sticking to it. Let me know what you end up deciding on rethinking your own self-imposed stereotype.

Michele said...

Thanks for writing this powerful post. I have had a rough few weeks. This post is exactly what I needed to hear.

Diver Daisy said...

Okay, so here's my comment on your post.

1. Good thing about you #1 - you have a great way with people. You are friendly and kind to people you just meet and go out of your way to make them feel welcome. And you didn't just do this to me - I have seen you do it with everyone!

2. Good thing about you #2 - you have a terrific sense of humor. You can make people laugh and smile. That ranks pretty high in my book.

3. Good thing about you #3 - you do have a streak in you that is adventurous and likes to try new things. So, you are pretty courageous.

4. Good thing about you #4 - You are honest.

5. Good thing about you #5 - You are patient and a great care giver to your children and your parents. They need you and because you are so dependable, you make their life happy and better.

6. Good thing about you #6 - I think you are fun!

7. Good thing about you #7 - You are smart and have a way with words and vocabulary. Being a teacher, I absolutely ADORE that about you!

And just so you know, it was pretty easy for me to write all this. :)

Matt "Ikigai" said...

confronting your negative qualities is an admirable endeavor! keep it up MAM and keep working toward the positive.

Martial Arts Mom said...

Wow - thanks everyone!

Diver Daisy - wow - you made my morning! I think pretty highly of you, too!

Michele - didn't really think of this post as powerful, but glad you did. And I went out and got 5 more pairs of shorts this weekend! Yay for me! : )

Matt - thanks for the encouragement. I can NEVER get too much of that!

Anonymous said...

In truth there is not much you can reasonably expect in this world (not something good anyway), least of all happiness. I don't have alot of problems with my self-image (at least not compared to people I meet on a regular basis), to me it's the world and the condition humaine that is f***-ed up, not me. You're born - this is definately not a good thing even in the best of circumstances - you live and have to deal with alot of crap and stupid people and then you die (in itself not a bad thing if it weren't for the pain and fear that usually accompanies it). What more is there? Happiness is an illusion since life is always in motion (what you have now you'll lose tomorrow) and everyone suffers to some degree. Even those happy few that actually live happy and productive lives will see it turned to dust sooner or later, just goes to show how great and valuable life is.

In any case I wouldn't bother about what others think of you, chances are they're just as insecure and miserable as you are. Some people are just good at hiding it and those that get off on critizing others are doing so to feel a little better about themselves. It's sad really sad but human. Which is basically saying the same thing.