Monday, February 02, 2009

Weakness (2 of 5)

Sher asks:  What is your greatest weakness?  Why?  Another great question that makes me think.  I'm going to answer this in a couple of different ways.

My greatest weakness is lack of discipline.  I hate making myself do things I don't want to do, or stop doing things that I like, and I frequently don't.  I know it sounds immature.  It is.  But that is the root of most of my struggles.

When I was first married, any time I became frustrated with my life, I'd make a laundry list in my journal of every flaw, every major shortcoming, and I'd map out a plan to overcome each.  After a decade or so of this I began to look over past entries and found that nothing was ever fixed.  I struggled with the same issues again and again.  Bemoaning this fact to my husband, he pointed out that part of my problem stemmed from the fact that I am not a routine oriented person,  (editorial note: following a routine takes discipline) but I am, rather, a project-driven type.  This clicked.  It explained in one nice little sentence a seeming smorgasbord of problems.  It brought some degree of relief.  I felt a little less out of control--I really just had the one major problem to work on.

Three years ago I joined Weight Watchers and lost 30 pounds.  I'd kept to the plan and was successful.  I thought that if I could find control over this little piece of my life, perhaps I would be able to find it elsewhere.  Well, no sooner had I reached my goal than I was hit with a nerve disorder that consumed me for months.  Everything else, including good eating habits, was put on hold.  Once my meds were regulated and pain was minimal I returned to life as normal, except for the better nutrition thing.  Over the last 2 years I have regained 20 of those pounds.  For the past year I have been making feeble attempts to lose them, and have lost and found 7 to 9 pounds twice.  Clearly, I really don't have this discipline thing down after all.

Yet I find myself with a new problem.  I used to go to great lengths to hide these weaknesses.  I was mortified by discovery of any imperfections.   However, in the past year, and in the past few months particularly, I have experienced a shift.  I have gone from embarrassment over weakness to embracing it, strutting it about, even.  At first, I saw this as a breakthrough--being more honest about my struggles, feeling better about who I am.  And that sounds healthier, doesn't it?  Well, I am beginning to think that it is not.  In developing this new habit of self-degradation, in the name of coming to terms with my weaknesses, I have let go of responsibility to become something better.  I've given myself permission to fail.  I went from privately moping about how horrible I am to publicly laughing at my nature and viewing myself as a vicitim of it.  Neither outlook is adaptive.   

So my next move?  Well, I feel like I need to take some time to reconstruct my self-image.  I need to look at my potential, my talents and my STRENGTHS.  I need to do it without apology.  Discipline is nothing more than consistent good choices.  I need to decide that I am strong enough to choose to be better.  Again and again.  It doesn't mean I need to stop laughing at myself.  But it means I need to stop treating myself like a big slob to get laughs so often.  This will not be easily put into action, I know.  I also know that the outcome may be worthwhile.  

25 fishy comments:

Lara said...

Are you a kindred spirit, or what? I have a really hard time with self discipline and I could have written everything you said. Great insight from your husband, I will have to think about that myself.

Jillene said...

HOLY CRAP!! I have the same problem. I too could have written this post!!

Becky said...

Like Lara and Jillene, I very much know what you're talking about. It's a constant struggle and sometimes, I'm just not up for the battle.

Diane said...

Wow, we have even more in common than I thought. I have been going through a self-degradation period for a while now. I didn't realize how bad I was getting until a woman I had just met pointed it out to me. It is good to be able to laugh at yourself once in a while, but not to put yourself down all the time. We are all works in progress that is for sure.

Annette Lyon said...

This is so insightful and honest. And I think so many of us can relate to it. I know I can.

Mel said...

I always find myself laughing when I give my kids make the wise good choice speech because of the areas I lack discipline in my life!!

Awesome post

Loralee and the gang... said...

Great insights. But if we knew how to control these weaknesses, then they wouldn't be weaknesses any more...and I guess that's the whole point of trying to better ourselves. Getting rid of the bad habits and forming new ones in their place....I think that with your new outlook, you WILL have success!

And thanks so much for the comment on my daughter's post. It's nice to know that my husband and I are not the only 'lame' parents out. there...

CaJoh said...

It's always nice to be able to get a different perspective from someone else. My wife is the kind of person who is bogged down in the details— while I tend to look at the big picture. We are always reminding the other of what we tend to overlook.

I have a saying— some people play the game of life to win. While others play for fun… and win anyway.

The bottom line is to have fun and enjoy life so that it does not rule you.

beth at aunties said...

Thanks for the honest and insight look into a bit of my own life.
Thank goodness thee is always another day and our Heavenly Father to help us.
I really like CaJoh quote! let's have fun and enjoy life so it doesn't rule you, but still accomplish what we were sent here to do!

2busy said...

It is always good to be able to laugh at yourself within reason. I similarly degrade myself on a daily basis. I think the most important thing is to remember to embrace those talents and strengths as you said. Maybe look yourself in the mirror every morning and list at least three things you love about yourself for that day whether physical, spiritual, personality, abilities, talents, etc...

Kristina P. said...

It's hard! I've really been struggling with exercising, even though we bought the elliptical!! But, I'm trying!

Erin said...

I love that last paragraph. It's not easy to look at our strengths. (At least, it isn't for me.) I'm going to try a little harder.

Melissa said...

It's so much easier to self-degrade and get a laugh, than to actually face responsibility for it. That I know all too well.
And darn husbands for having smart thoughts! : )

Brooke said...

I've been working on acknowledging my strengths for a very long time. I'm still not there. Isn't it interesting how alike we all are?

Melanie J said...

Like several people have mentioned, I feel like I could have written this post, right down to the Weight Watchers part. While I'm also a project driven person, I've realized that doesn't get the dishes done twice a day. So I wish you luck in finding the balance. I'm still trying to figure it out. Sigh.

rachel said...

Thanks for writing so eloquently what so many of us feel. I never thought about the difference of laughing at myself and presenting myself in a way to get laughs. Wow, I need to examine myself, my life, and my motivations.

the letter Bee said...

I think its wonderful when someone can accept themselves-flaws and all, and still try to improve. It's a balancing act!

PS: Thanks for putting up my giveaway button! It's part of my plan to slowly take over your sidebar.

Heatherlyn said...

We change when we feel uncomfortable with the situation we are in, or the way we are. Or if we really expect more of ourselves.

I think that self dicipline is a really tough issue. I have the same problem with making myself do the same routine things over and over. And over. It drives me nuts.

Like brushing my teeth AND flossing. It's so tiresome. But not doing it is even worse. So I do it.

I think that we can change anything if it is important enough to us. :)

ANd what you are going through, I think just about everyone can relate to! :)

clan of the cave hair said...

You'll find the balance, I know you will. It might be tricky at first, but you know what? It will be worth it.

Wendyburd1 said...

My greatest weakness would probably be my shyness, it is really a debilitating thing.

And remember this (from my fave band Superchick):
We all fall
We all let ourselves down
Sometimes there's nothing
left but to live with
what's been done
And know you're not the only one
Who falls

We all fail
We all let someone down
Sometimes there's thing
left but to promise to
That next time we won't be the one
To fail

I want to tell you, you can go on
That beginnings come from ends
I still believe in you
And so does God
He's the one who still
believes in those who fail
He's the one who still
believes in us who fall...

Shauna said...

Great post! Sorry I haven't been over in a few! Work has been way crazy! ♥ Hugs :)

Tink said...

Weight management is times I embrace it and do great and at others times I fail. I'm sorry to hear about your nerve disorder, that must be really tough to handle. A doctor of mine put me on meds and I gained 20 pounds on them. ewww. I've only lost 5 pounds of it and that was 3 years ago. ewww. Good luck with your endeavors. As for me and my house...I give up! Ha.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

I have absolutely no discipline either. Honestly, the most dedicated I am to anything anymore is blogging. Does that count? :)

Your post was incredibly honest. Any stay-at-home Mom is struggling with the same issues you are. I know I am.


The Smiths said...

You'll do great! Admitting to it is half way, right? I still haven't admitted to having no self control. I like being delusional!

ramsam said...

SOmetimes it is so hard to take a good, hard look at ourselves and fix what we have avoided fixing for so many years. I really think that the past few years have made me face myself...

I hope you reach your goals and most importantly, love you for who you are.