Thursday, March 18, 2010

Which comes first. . .

The chicken or the egg?  I have heard this conversation end up going in complete circles.  It reminds me of the great conversation we had in group on Tuesday but we didn't have a lot of time to really flush it all out.  I asked the following question. 

"Can you have compassion on yourself now, and not have compassion on yourself then?" 

I got two immediate answers. "Yes!" and "No!"  There are two words that I think are important to define as we begin to tackle this question.  The first one is "compassion" and the second word is "then". 

What does 'compassion' mean to you?  What does it mean in terms of how you treat yourself. . . behaviorally?  Just what exactly does compassion look like, and again I mean as far as your behavior towards yourself?  What would compassion say to you on your journey of lifestyle change now?

What does 'then' mean to you?  Does then refer to yesterday and your unhealthy eating behaviors?  Could then refer to your childhood and the coping mechanisms you learned as a child and have carried into your adulthood?  What does the behavior of compassion look like on yourself then? 

I think it is an interesting question to consider, ponder and to chew on.  What you believe about this question WILL impact your journey of lifestyle change, either in a healthy way . . . or in an unhealthy way.  Please, continue the conversation ladies.  Afterall, you ARE the smartest people I know!

I would like to end on a note of gratitude.  I could not be more grateful for the wonderful therapist that God has provided for our group.  Kimmie is already fitting in so well and has some insightful things to say that will continue to encourage and challenge us.  Thank you Kimmie for agreeing to use your gifts and talents in the midst of our H.O.P.E. Program.


KarenN said...

This reminds me of the movie, "Drop Dead Fred". Phoebe Cates character, Lizzie, is an adult with no confidence in herself. As a child her confidence came in the form of an imaginary friend, Drop Dead Fred. When her mother taped up the box, Lizzie said Drop Dead Fred was in, all the little girl's confidence was trapped in that box. She comes across the box after her husband left her for another woman.
Her mother and her husband tried to make Lizzie feel it was her failure that her husband cheated on her. Through the antics of Drop Dead Fred and a childhood friend, she is able to begin regaining herself. The transformation is not complete until Drop Dead Fred takes her in a dream back to herself as a little girl. The little girl is in her bed bound with the tape that bound the box. She releases and hugs the child giving herself the love she longed for. The child disappears as Lizzie hugs herself. Then she kisses Drop Dead Fred goodbye for she no longer needs him. She compassionately confronts and forgives her mother and then confidently moves on with her life out from under the control of her mother and without the cheating husband.

So Drop Dead Fred says before you can have compassion for yourself now, you have to go back and grant compassion to yourself then.

And you can't fool him either...because in his words
"Well, if you're so happy, then why I am still here, hmm?"

kindra said...

What a FANTASTIC response, Karen!! Thanks!
After being in HOPE for two years, I believe I am just now connecting to myself (me then and me now). Last week HOPE was so powerful for me and for the first time in my life I gave myself compassion for how I had used food in the past to comfort me and help me survive my life THEN. The shame and disgust at myself for all those years of escaping through food was still carrying over to now. When I realized I needed some true compassion THEN and didn't receive it from my family of origin and certainly didn't know how to give it to myself, I actually thanked God I had food THEN to escape, comfort, enjoy. I've decided my turning to food THEN was honestly OKAY. I did the best I could THEN and NOW I get to do the best I can NOW. When I am compassionate to myself for what I did THEN, it's helping me to be compassionate to myself NOW and I don't need to eat out of shame and disgust anymore or as a punishment to myself. Hmmm...I've always been compassionate to others, why not try myself?!

Janice said...

I loved what you wrote Karen! It is so true. I am having a lot of flashbacks lately from childhood--I don't know what it all means, but I am writing them down. I think as they come to mind, it is important to revisit them and remember. This week's post reminds me to revisit with compassion--thank you Julie and Kindra as well.

Here's one that came to me while sitting in group this week:

I was in the sixth grade and I couldn’t see the blackboard at school. I had failed the annual eye exam for the second year in a row. My best friend at the time had gotten eyeglasses the year before. My parents assumed that I wanted them because she had them. I tried to convince them otherwise but mom and dad would laugh at me. They would say, “See that tree across the road?” (a HUGE pine tree about 20 feet tall). I would say yes, and then they’d say, well you don’t need glasses then. It was two years later when I attended a basketball game with another friend who had eyeglasses. She pointed across the court and commented on people we knew on the other side. I said to her, you can’t see those people over there! She let me put on her glasses and I was shocked and amazed to find that it was possible to see the people on the other side. I never knew--the crowd was always one huge colorful blur to me. I went home and told my parents about it and finally, they believed me. The day we picked up my new eyeglasses, I remember riding home in the car with my mother. The sun was shining; it was a beautiful day. I was a little fearful, though. The world was much more vivid and everything seemed crisp and closer in proximity than before. I had to get used to seeing clearly. It rocked my world-- in a good way, but as with any change, it was not comfortable at first.

I had to get used to seeing clearly. It was not comfortable at first. Hmmm

KarenN said...

To Kindra, "Hmmm...I've always been compassionate to others, why not try myself?!"
I wonder this so often. Why can't I say to myself what I say to others.

To Janice "I had to get used to seeing clearly. It was not comfortable at first. Hmmm"
This makes me think of all the times I've almost gotten to some sort of goal only to turn and run back to the comfortable, the known.

Great question Julie
"What does the behavior of compassion look like on yourself then?"
I started back on Weight Watchers the Sunday before last. I almost could not walk into the door for the second meeting because I thought I had not done well. I know your posting this week helped me to go in. It didn't matter if I gained, lost, or maintained. What mattered was me needing to let myself have the support of the meeting. I even told them during the meeting why I almost didn't come in. (By the way, I lost weight)