I understand your allergies must be pretty bad. Despite your allergies and construction woes, what can you be thankful for?
A lot of factors go in to determining your success. A big factor is Gratitude. As you know, struggling with weight and depression involves a lot of negative self-talk and complaining which are habits formed to sustain your weight and depression; it’s circular. Part of retraining your habits is changing every complaint to a thought of gratitude.
For example: “My place is a mess because of my construction woes,” can be changed to, “Thank God I’ve got a gorgeous penthouse that can be under construction.” “I’ve got terrible allergies,” can be changed to, “In terms of health ailments I could be suffering from, allergies are pretty benign and manageable.”
I’m not suggesting that you should always put a happy face on in less than desirable circumstances – when something sucks, acknowledge that it sucks and then choose a different perspective to move beyond it.
But know that complaining is a little addictive too because we’re all addicted to one thing – being right! We wouldn’t complain or get involved in negative self-talk if we didn’t believe we were right or wanted to convince everyone else we were right as well. To a positive suggestion of joining the Y, you reinforced how difficult your situation is by saying you’re in “survival mode,” your allergic reaction is “tremendous,” that you’re “sneezing your head off,” that your nose is a “dripping faucet,” and that you can’t even contemplate exercise. Your habit of negative self-talk always asks you to locate an excuse to prevent you from being successful and you elaborate on how dire the excuse is to prove that you’re right. But it’s not a conscious process, this is your weight talking, this is your negative self-talk, this is your low self-esteem: “I can’t exercise because of A and B and C, but let me explain further why A and B and C are so terrible so that you’re as convinced as I am that I can’t do it! That way, I don’t have to think about being successful because all I really want is to escape the responsibility of achieving and living up to my success because I’m afraid of failing.” Remember, these aren’t necessarily conscious thoughts but the terrible cycle of negative self-talk and depression and it must be broken.
It’s taken me years to get over my negative self-talk, to dig myself out of depression, and still I struggle nearly every day with it. But what helps is gratitude. Even if it doesn’t get you moving physically, mentally it moves you in the right direction.
I’ll paste a part of gratitude that I’ve written before:
“Or maybe you can help but feel grateful, stuck as you are in the habit of thinking negatively about your every experience. When I just mentioned that you could be thankful for your body or your friends or your job, did any thoughts cross your mind like, “My body’s too ugly to be grateful for” or “I may have friends but not the kind of friends I want” or “Why would I be thankful for a job that I hate?” If you are someone who instinctively considers the negative, let’s go deeper than gratitude and let me rephrase the question.
Are you happy?
You may wonder why I would ask such a thing in place of what you are thankful for, but the truth is gratitude and happiness are so connected that one could state with confidence how highly you rate on one based on how you answer the other. Moreso than love, spirituality and forgiveness, gratitude has been found to be one of the strongest correlators to how satisfied we are with our lives. So often we can take the simple pleasures for granted and complain about what we don’t have. Some spend their whole lives chasing happiness like a dangling carrot, that a car or house or relationship or certain number on the scale is all that stands in the way of certain bliss. But recognizing the gifts in your life right now gives you happiness right now. It reminds you to enjoy the gifts you have, to derive the greatest pleasure from them and appreciate what is good in your life.”
I share this with you now to help reinforce the necessity of perspective in the face of diversity. Trust me, you are not in “survivor mode” because of allergies and construction. I’ll say again that how you react to your obstacles will determine your success. There will always be allergies, construction, an ex-, a disappointment. Reverend Michael Beckwith said, “Nothing new can come into your life until you’re grateful for what you already have.” Believe him.