In a previous post I was writing about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I want to talk about the upper level needs and how they fit into my situation and my weight loss battle. The next level up from intimacy according to Maslow is the need for self esteem and feelings of accomplishment. This is an area of my life that I have struggled with and I want to share part of my journey with you tonight. Self esteem issues are often associated with obesity, both before becoming obese and whilst obese. This I found to be true. These issues manifest themselves in many forms including over eating, under eating, self harm, cutting, depression and addiction issues to name a few (if that is not enough already).
My life was kind of coasting along and then I had to make some decisions about family issues and all of a sudden I am a lot busier and my choices have become a lot less. There has been a significant degree of sacrifice in those decisions. Now I do not want or need anyone’s sympathy (or praise) for those decisions when it comes to my children I refuse to be a dead beat dad and they need my care and they have it. I am happy to sacrifice for them it is right and proper. Where I have fallen down in the past and still struggle sometimes is standing up for my own needs. For many years I have put my own physical and emotional needs below the needs of the other significant people in my circles, you ask why? Well I didn’t think I was good enough! It is as simple as that. By this time tomorrow I will have completed all the work I need to in order to become a high school teacher of English and I feel damn good about that. I feel great that I have lost weight, I feel good knowing that I am a good dad.I realised as I stood on the scales the other day and saw another pesky kilo had found residence that there were some issues in my life that I needed to deal with that were manifesting in some limited comfort eating. The fact that my exercise levels had slipped to almost nothing was also not helpful. You see the past 4 months have been very hard for me.
Now I know that I am an expert humble pie eater and I have eaten my share of humble pie plus a lot of others shares as well. Frankly I just have not had the self-respect to stand up and say that something doesn’t work for me or doesn’t suit or meet my needs. I think about some of the pie I have eaten and I feel loathing for myself. I have questioned why I did this, well in the past I did it for my children thought it was the only way to keep them safe. More lately I have done it out of fear, I wrote a lot about fear and here is one of those posts http://tinyurl.com/paulonfear . I have compromised on issues of integrity and not stated my needs because I have been afraid of the outcome. That I may damage the relationships involved and that I may get hurt and be lonely and broken all over again.
Now I have a psychology degree and have worked as a social worker and counselor I would advise others of some actions around this but the first thing I would say to someone like me is this. You are a decent and good man who deserves something decent and good in your life. You cannot change other people and some things are just that they just are. No need to label it with a deficit theory or some notion of negativity. You know what you need and want and it is either reasonable or it isn’t and if you don’t know what reasonable is by now then you probably shouldn’t be teaching, writing blogging whatever. I would tell them not to make ultimatums but simply put your needs out there in a respectful way and if they can’t be met then you need to suck it up and move on otherwise there is no integrity for either party. One will feel unfulfilled and the other one may feel disgust or contempt for your lack of self-respect.
So be reasonable in your demands and realistic. Be knowledgeable and reflective about your own self-worth above all else have the integrity to have self-respect and at some level have a bottom line.
Till next time,