January 15, 2007

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:01 pm by nevavegan

Put the philosophizin’ to use

Some tips for authentic eating
*I will no longer punish myself with eating, either by eating too much or too little.
*I will do my best to be healthy, but not obsess over the number on the scale.
*I will not confuse craving with need—Just because I can’t stop thinking about brownies doesn’t mean brownies contain some nutrient I’m lacking.
*All the same, sometimes it’s nice to just give into a craving, if I don’t overdo it.

Chase your blues:
*Studies show that daily vigorous exercise that elevates your heart rate is as effective for treating depression as anti-depressants. So get sweaty.
*You can’t change everyone else, so change your mind set. A huge thing for me was letting go of this old habit I had of taking responsibility for anything and everything. Sometimes people do things I don’t like, and that’s the way it is. Sometimes some people just don’t like me no matter what I do, and at some point it just isn’t my problem. I didn’t create all the problems in the world and while I can try to do my part, I can’t solve them all single handedly.
*Adopt a friend at the animal shelter (if you have the time and resources to care for a friend for the rest of his or her life). You’d save a life, and that’s certainly something to feel good about! Dogs, cats, bunnies, and even rats can elevate your mood, just by spending time with you. Stroking their fur releases endorphins in our minds. Though this is far from the only reason to adopt it’s nice to know you get so much back for all the care you give.
*No time for an animal friend? Adopt a plant. Studies show that just looking at green has a calming effect on many people and houseplants can help to filter some toxins out of indoor air.

A Note on Interpersonal Conflicts.

I believe in saving relationships where it’s possible.

I believe in mediation, counseling, just plain old getting over it, and burying the hatchet.

So why have I personally not buried the hatchet? Because after all this time I believe it’s important to protect myself from people who would do me harm.

Growing up my mother heaped verbal and emotional abuse on me that destroyed my self esteem and sank me into a terrible and lasting depression. I internalized her claims that I was ugly, and stupid; that I had a bad personality and a terrible temper. Her claims that my personality was so bad that nobody would ever be able to care about me are likely one of the main reason I got involved in abusive relationships as a young adult. I’d never been treated with basic respect and it had been so drilled into my head that I was unlovable that I was willing to tolerate really awful treatment.

As an adult I thought I could put that all behind me and have a relationship with my mother.

Unfortunately, although the abuse was never again so blatant as it was when I was younger, she continued to trample boundaries, impose on me, and chip away at my self esteem. She is the kind of person who makes herself feel better by hurting others. But I’m already hurt and I don’t need to be hurt further.

Part of the trouble with growing up in a disordered environment is that I’ve just been trained from infancy to accept things that aren’t ok. In other words crazy seems normal sometimes. I’ve reached the sad conclusion that I have to examine friendships and working relationships in my life with that in mind. I shouldn’t put up with abuse, and yet at the same time I have to understand that not everything is abuse.

I guess as an example I could use my long-time friendship with Natalie. Being friends since sixth grade means that over the years we’ve had a number of fights, especially during our turbulent teen years. Ok, most were probably my fault… But anyway, at some basic level I feel that Natalie does not enjoy hurting my feelings, nor does she attempt to manipulate me, nor does she use harsh words to punish me if I disagree with her. She thinks some of my ideas are pretty silly, but she accepts that they are my ideas and mean something to me.

This is sort of the definition of a healthy friendship. A friendship is not healthy if the other person cannot tolerate disagreement, says bad things about you behind your back, or brings irrelevant accusations into discussions merely for the purpose of manipulating you. But it’s hard in the moment to distinguish sometimes. It requires stepping back from the dispute and getting a little perspective on it.

I can’t encourage anyone to hang onto a damaging relationship. But forgiveness and tolerance is something we figure out as we go along, and sometimes even with disagreements that just can’t be settled, there’s still a core of love and acceptance worth fighting for.

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