Sunday, November 17, 2013

#34 - Less complaining

If you have read my blog since I started doing DayZero, you may recognize this goal from my first 101 list - Don't Complain about Anything for a Week.  My first experience was such an interesting lesson in being mindful about my words that I wanted to try it again - you can read the first post here.

The experience was different this time, but I learned some equally valuable lessons.  I did find it encouraging that this time around I only needed to start the week over twice (as opposed to three starts last time).  However, I feel like I made a lot more borderline comments this time around.  And, due to the restarts, I ended up having a significant portion of the complaint-free period occur when I was not at work - which lowered the bar significantly.

The biggest change was where I felt the seeds of complaints starting from.  Last time, I noticed how many negative comments I hear randomly (often about things that I have no control over) during the course of my day.  This time, I heard the negativity inside myself.  My inner critic has certainly been quite vocal recently - telling me all of the things that I am doing wrong myself, worrying over stuff that I can't change, and generally crabbing about the minor inconveniences of any particular day.  I know that negative inside voice has been getting louder for various reasons - stress and burnout at work, frustrations with a plateau in my weight loss strategy, etc. - but taking the time to listen to what I say and how I express it for a week showed me that I am not very happy with what's happening in my life right now.

At the same time that I was making this discovery, one of my friends posted something on Facebook (thanks, Thad!) that helped me stop and think about one of the areas that I generally criticize myself on fairly severely - my appearance.  Take a look at this great video that he posted of Amanda Trusty dancing (note that it is burlesque, the clothes come off); I am inspired by this woman's courage in freeing herself of the labels that come along with not being society's ideal image.  And, I think she looks great!

It was a great reminder that all of those critical thoughts that I hear when I look in the mirror aren't necessarily what everyone else is thinking when they see me.  In fact, I challenged myself to go glamorous for Halloween this year and received tons of positive feedback on how great I looked.  I tried to find a shots for before/after to add to this blog post and realized that I have been so uncomfortable with my weight that it has been quite a long time since I've allowed anyone to take a photo of me that I could use as a "before", so you're only going to get the after ...

How I look now (the glamour version)
I'm not where I want to be with my weight, but I'm telling myself that I've come a long way and need to recognize that and shut up that little voice that says "but you haven't lost any more in the last two months".  And, I need to take a look at some of the other areas of my life that I'm criticizing myself for and decide on steps to make myself either happier or more accepting of what is happening in those areas so I don't drive myself nuts.  It's easy to complain; it's harder to change ... but I think the changes will make me a lot happier in the long run.

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