So, my roomie and I were chatting last night about random things... We have a tendency to do that... at odd times usually too :) Anyway, most of our conversation last night centered around the idea of our struggles and how we deal with them, control them, and try to move past them.
Obviously, one of the places we stayed for a long while was on image. Image of ourselves and how we perceive ourselves compared to others around us. I explained the way I used to view myself and the way I currently view myself. The struggles I have, and how I control it.
For example, in college I was much more on the obsessive side of working out and being in shape. I was terrified of gaining the "freshman 15" and so, I watched what I ate more than I had in high school, and I worked out a lot... It backfired on me when my pants no longer fit because my legs had grown too much muscle.. Dang. But, by my Junior year I was starting to see friends around me have metabolisms that had slowed down and they began to gain weight. So, I re-energized my plight to stay thin... I was much more on the obsessive side than I honestly think is ok... But, my thought process was I worked out so I wouldn't worry or struggle with eating habits... That was an area I wanted desperately to avoid (not to mention throwing up is THE worst illness for me). So, I did 750 sit ups every day, worked out for an hour to an hour in a half almost every day, and taught martial arts several nights a week... on top of working 4 jobs and going to school full time... surviving on 4 hours or less of sleep a night... Looking back.. not much of that was healthy from any standpoint... But, it worked, I didn't gain any weight, and proudly stayed the same size I was in high school.
However, once I hit my senior year I realized I was... letting that control more of me than I wanted in my life. So, I quit. I quit running (I always hated it anyway), I quit the elliptical (which was a 45min-hour every day I could fit it in), I quit doing sit ups (at least every day), I quit weight lifting (I've never noticed a huge difference anyway), and I only taught martial arts like once a week. So... slower.
Then I graduated, and life became this insane hectic pace I set for myself... between work, youth group, church, hanging out with friends, being a board member of a non-profit, teaching martial arts, and finding time for family... I simply didn't have time to work out. I LOVED what I was doing, how I was helping those around me, so I began to allow myself the ability to NOT have to work out in order to feel ok.. and much to my surprise... my size has stayed the same. I mean I fluctuated 5-10 pounds randomly.. but for the most part it's consistent. I'm still not sure if that was my substitute or just God's way of giving me a better focus. Granted, I still think about the calories I consume everysingle time I eat, and in my head I think about a decent amount of healthy calorie intake, and I try to maintain somewhere close to that. I also have discovered (thanks to my roomie) that food is more social than anything else.. I am never hungry when it's just me..
Let me clarify something also... Part of this working out obsession comes from my knowledge that if I ever become overweight or out of shape, my body begins to hurt terribly.. I AM one of those people who has to stay in shape in order to not physically hurt all the time. It's just part of my EDS.
Since then, I have swung the completely opposite direction. I have avoided working out in an effort to not lose myself in the obsession again... However, after a couple days in the last year of being in almost unbearable pain for the entire day, I realized I needed to find a true balance to the whole thing.. So, slowly... very slowly I've begun getting myself back into it. I've decided boundaries for myself, and somehow, God and I will figure this thing out...
So, anyway, last night we were talking about the mental battle we feel in our heads. We both agreed that it becomes something that we have to maintain a seriously close tight grasp on in order for it to not rule over us. We almost without realizing it will walk into a room and decide "I have nicer legs then her, she is skinnier than me, she has a prettier face, I have nicer hair... etc.. etc..." It's honestly very sad, and I'm pretty sure not glorifying at all...
For example, if a guy says "your best friend is stunning." If I'm not careful, I've suddenly allowed Satan to implant in my head "what he really means is 'you're not very pretty, your nothing compared to her, and he would never like you or think you're beautiful.'" ... Whoa. Those are some pretty drastic jumps... Way to take a very nice compliment that I COMPLETELY agree with about someone else I care for, and twist it to cause division, heartache, self loathing, and a wedge between God and I... in multiple areas of my life.
So, while I still hear those things in my head from random comments... or really more because of the lack of a comment towards me(sometimes what's not said causes more heartache than what IS said). I have really begun working at acknowledging the disconnect in my thinking and trying my best to clamp down on it. So, anytime a self loathing thought or one that could lead down that road pops into my head, instantly I chide myself for jumping to such a ridiculous conclusion... and then usually it's followed by some major prayer.. both for myself and the dumb thoughts, and also for the person making the comment, as well as the person it's made about. My reasoning is that I do not want a nice, sincere, loving comment about someone I CARE about to turn into a selfish mindset of self loathing and self pity... That's.. DUMB. It's an emotional reaction that's not needed. There's no reason to jump down that path, and lets be honest emotions are no excuse... pms is no excuse... My God is bigger than that.
If you ever think about it, pray for the girls around you and the mindset they are subjecting themselves to. The hurt they are causing and the lack of reliance on our savior... And, any prayer my direction is always appreciated :)