Thursday, October 21, 2010

What If There's a Friend in the Mirror?

There is a book (and of course, a movie) that is called Eat, Pray, Love that really opened my eyes to some of the pieces of me.  In particular, there is a story about Liz, who has been through a divorce, another broken relationship, and depression meds.  She is rather down and clearly on the edge. 

One day she rushes into the elevator and caught an unexpected glimpse of herself in the security mirror.  Her brain does a quick reflex and says, "hey, you know her!  That's a friend of yours!"  She even started to rush towards herself to hello when she stopped and laughed at herself.  Liz tells how in that unexpected and unguarded moment she recognized herself as a friend. 

As she writes in her journal, Liz promises to be a better friend to herself and to know that she will always be there and never be alone.  She promises to love herself and to protect herself.  This causes her to experience one of the first good nights sleep where Loneliness and Depression do not sleep-over.

This story (paraphrased by me)  really hit home.  As a young wife at 19 yrs of age, I literally gave up on myself.  I truly believed that by putting others first, I would be better.  But 23 years of marriage and 5 years of divorce later, I can assure you that this is not the case.  God has another way.

Yes, I sang the song in Sunday School called Jesus and Others and You, what a wonderful way to spell JOY!  This song implies everyone else before self.  But if we are not taking care of ourselves, particularly by being One with our Maker, we can be of no service to others.

This is where I find myself.

Actually, in the past few months in searching for a path, an answer, I started reading the Alcoholics Anonymous books.  I am not a drinker and this is not a problem, but I saw in it a logical path of improvement and wanted to know more.

As I reviewed my learnings with my A.A. friend, I asked him in frustration, what is it with me?  What is my problem that I can't get over?

Having known me during the divorce years, he said frankly, well, you seem to have resentment towards your ex.

My immediate and almost expected response was DENIAL (more on that word later).  Oh no, I said.  I am over that.  I can even say I care about him and love him.  Why, we even talk on the phone at times!

But just as quickly as I said it, another thought just burst forth. 

I have never had my needs met.

And just like that, thank you, Lord, I understood myself.  I am so grateful that I wasn't sent around the world for weeks and weeks trying to figure this out.  God graciously provided the answer in that moment of desperate questioning. 

Now let me clarify "needs".  I had a wonderful childhood.  I had great parents who will be celebrating their 50th anniversary next year.  I had the tree house, skates, was popular at school, first chosen for kickball....

I am saying that my emotional needs were never met.  And that may sound like I am blaming the significant others in my life, but I am not.  We have to take responsibility for how we allow others to treat us.  And instead, I believed if I was somehow less than the other person, it was the way to a successful relationship.

Does this sound like a conversation you've ever had?

Where would you like to go for vacation?
Wherever you think.  I'm not sure.

What would you like me to bring home for dinner?
Whatever is easy.

No opinion meant I was a good person, partner, mother, friend.  In case you don't get it....IT'S NOT TRUE!  And it's boring. 

God created us.  He loves us.  If we don't love ourselves then we can't be a servant, a friend, a partner, a parent.  At least, not a good one.  Because everything we do is torn down by our own hands.  Our low self-esteem causes us to believe that we are not good enough....for anything.

My last point in this blog is: What if?  My friend Kellee was coaching me recently and asked me what was I afraid of to try to lose the weight, since it is so important to me.  My answer was that I am afraid of failing.  She was very intuitive when she asked me, but what if this time you didn't fail?

And for a split second I felt that hope of seeing a future with my weight under control.  Like I actually could do it.  And how it would feel.

I challenge myself today to be a friend to myself and consider what if when I make my food choices and other important and casual decisions today.

Dear God,  You know me and my thoughts.  You made me and I am wonderfully made.  Heal my mind to think your thoughts, to dream your dreams, to live your life.  Depression and Loneliness have no place here.  Help me to see my friend in the mirror.  I hope she will smile at me.  Amen.

ps I followed my food plan yesterday.  I feel better already.