I can’t believe it’s so long since I’ve posted here! I think life and ill-health got a bit overwhelming for a while before I went overseas. But now I am back, with just as many good intentions and wordy reflections as ever!
One thing that holds me back is living with someone else, perhaps moreso because it is my Dad. This is a block I have yet to learn how to get past. This week, I will make some small steps towards dropping the self-consciousness that goes with having somebody observe my every action.
I think it’s been made quite clear by now that I am sensitive to what other people say and think about me. I find it hard to remain open and positive when I have been challenged or met with an even slightly-public set back. I therefore find that I have developed a dislike of other people knowing my business or knowing what I am doing.
Let me take exercise as an example, as it is probably something that I feel most consciously is blocked by sharing my living space with someone else.
If I am completely frank with people around me about my exercise habits and intentions, I feel that I lay myself open to criticism and judgment. Even if nobody says anything to me, I feel that when I do exercise it is noticed and therefore when I don’t exercise it is noted. There is someone else who has an intimate view of my life and can see that I’m not exercising. Even worse for me is when someone does comment. When someone encourages me to exercise or suggests I exercise, instead of feeling supported and motivated, I feel more self-conscious. I feel pressured to exercise and I feel am being judged if I don’t.
Worse, there is the possibility that someone actually will question or criticise the way I am doing something. I am not good at explaining or defending my perspective, and I find myself shrivelling up, upset and discouraged, when my plans are challenged. I find it hard to carry on when somebody is disapproving. I feel guilty if I don’t want to do anything and someone feels I should be doing something.
Living with my dad is a little harder again because he is not afraid to speak his mind and because this is his house and I never truly feel that it is all my own space. I feel that, when he is around, it is his space and I must either live in the space on his terms or retreat. With exercise, I really need to be able to confidently use the inside space when going for a walk doesn’t work out. However, I feel too self-conscious to take over the living space to exercise for half an hour.
I feel self-conscious about everything that I do, and this discourages me from doing anything at home. I find it harder to sort out my business, to clean, to exercise, to practise music, to make phone calls, and so I find myself in a trend where I home doesn’t feel like a place to be productive. I almost feel as if I sink into a giant cushion of inactivity here and it takes so much effort to climb out. Because I do climb out and do things, but I feel as if it shouldn’t be that hard to make a phone call or do some chores.
It is not my only block, but I do feel that this dread of having others know what I am doing is one of my biggest hindrances. I may not quite be able to make myself exercise when someone else is around, but I will try this week to do more things despite having someone able to look over my shoulder. Once again, I can tie it back to this fear of failure and humilation. So I will try not to wait self-consciously until I have the house to myself to do things that I need to or want to do. I will try to accept that inquiries or comments might be made that discourage me (even if they’re not meant to), but to be less effected by this.
There’s a very nifty Swedish word I learned while I was in Sweden recently. So nifty that I wrote a memo for it on my phone. It’s “okynnesäta” (pronounced “ooSHINNehs-OERta”). It means to keep on eating even when one is totally stuffed because the food, usually because is just too yummy or just because it is there. I found myself referring to “that nifty Swedish word” a lot while I was on my UK/Sweden trip!
I was reflecting today on the different reasons I eat. Sometimes it is because the food is just too yummy, sometimes it is because I am genuinely hungry, but sometimes I feel the urge to eat for other reasons.
As I am a lowly Psychology undergrad still, I haven’t been taught proper strategies for counselling and therapy, but I have noticed one that seems to be mentioned a lot. Psychologists seem to like to have their clients complete behaviour journals. While these can clearly be used in vastly different ways, the main aim is to get clients to focus on when a particular behaviour occurs and what are the circumstances and feelings that surround it. So I think I would like to try an eating behaviour journal.
I believe that 80% of the time I have healthy eating habits, but that remaining 20% often seems to involve chocolate, or emotional eating or some other negative aspect. Despite my generally healthy and aware approach to eating, I still feel somehow slave to the negative habits that constantly drag my good efforts under. Of course, my habit is to feel that I have somehow failed or am less worthy a person if I eat unhealthily. Rather than merely trying to stop negative eating habits – and constantly failing – I think the sensible thing to do is to try to identify when and why I’m failing to make healthy choices. And perhaps why I domake healthy choices when I’m on the brink of doing otherwise. Then, perhaps, we shall see.