Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Your Reasons For Your Choices Affect Your Health


 I have been reading social psychologist Erich Fromm's writing lately. He writes about having the courage and freedom to be ourselves:

“If other people do not understand our behavior—so what? Their request that we must only do what they understand is an attempt to dictate to us. If this is being "asocial" or "irrational" in their eyes, so be it. Mostly they resent our freedom and our courage to be ourselves. We owe nobody an explanation or an accounting, as long as our acts do not hurt or infringe on them. How many lives have been ruined by this need to "explain," which usually implies that the explanation be "understood," i.e. approved. Let your deeds be judged, and from your deeds, your real intentions, but know that a free person owes an explanation only to himself—to his reason and his conscience—and to the few who may have a justified claim for explanation.” 

 ~ Erich Fromm, The Art of Being

The way we make our choices has a *LOT* to do with our health. We often make all of our choices based upon approval of others and consensus. While that is okay for small things, for important choices, everyone's input can end up forceful and coercive, such that we don't like the taste of our decision by the time we make it. When we make our own mind up, with nobody's approval, it will often be the very same decision that others would want us to make, but making our own choice feels more happy and free.

When the perspective for approaching my life got healthier, my weight correspondingly got better. Some people may be disappointed that I have been doing blog posts about enjoying music or making decisions from your own heart on a fitness blog! But I'm telling you that keeping 75 pounds off of my body is not due to willpower. It is due to a lifestyle change focused on self-love and self-respect.  

Self-love calls me to choose beautiful music (last blog post) over fattening dessert. Self-love and self-respect call me to ask myself what my own heart wants, versus always going to the family with, "What does everyone think?" On important decisions, sometimes my heart's decision must win over the family consensus. I have made a decision this year based upon my heart's decision without approval or consensus, and it felt like a beautiful thing in my life. It was good for my soul.

Each of us is an individual, not just a part of the family collective.  I am realizing that what I want to do and be in my life--as an individual--matters! Sometimes, I may not get complete approval or consensus, and I need to feel strongly enough about my decisions to be okay with that. And, when making that independent decision this year, it turned out that I felt *wonderful* about myself for it.

What do *you* think? Have you made any important decisions without seeking approval? Can you see how reasoning behind a decision can make a person happy, based upon wanting the decision, or unhappy, based upon people dicatating the decision?  And of course, add your opinion and experiences. I'm interested to find out what you have to say about this topic. 

Have the Courage to Be Yourself today! 

:-) Marion

15 comments:

  1. Love your post! Making choices, choosing what is right for you and not trying to please everyone, practicing your life hobbies- things you love. All of these topics were talked about at the PaleoFx conference as part of being self-sufficient, happy, choosing what worked for you,etc.

    Being ourselves is our perfect right. It's also part of being healthy and continuing to maintain. Keep up the great posts, Marion. I figure that the number of people following my blog is not important, but the quality of the interactions with people who get me, is very important. Glad you are doing what is right for you.

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    1. Hi Karen, Thanks for this comment! I know that a lot of people don't want to get into these sorts of issues, but honestly it has come down to this for me. I had to figure out a deeper sort of self-love. And that isn't just about food and exercise, it is about valuing myself as a more precious person. So it has *everything* to do with my weight--for sure! I'm not holding my breath about comments on this one, though. Lol. :-)

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  2. I guess my 'run in' with my co-worker friend where she chastised me for getting dangerously close to getting too thin...well, my anger (that I stifled for office/world peace) was based on my perception of her trying to dictate to me. Good point!

    I'm over it (her comments) now, but she altered our friendship for sure. Because I'm not going to compromise my new life style for anyone...certainly not her. I know my path is working and making me healthier, and to hell with anyone who doesn't like it. And if she ever chastises me again, I'll be prepared this time, and will not let her escape with a return word or two more than the last time. ;)

    Great post, and do what works for you, makes you happy now. Those of value will stick with you! :)

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    1. Hi Gwen, Your situation reminds me of how bothered I felt about the two rude weightlifter guys who laughed at my yoga and headstand attempts. When I got to that point of --Who cares what they think! -- that was a huge growth day for me. I respected my own opinion of myself so much that their approval or disapproval no longer mattered. I hope you get to that point with your co-worker. Honestly, I can't see anything about her that her opinion should ever matter much to you. But your own opinion of yourself should be *HUGE* in your life. :-)

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  3. Love this!! Loving ourselves is one of the big keys to keeping weight off... Doing it because of social pressure will eventually fail. Go on proudly posting the things you love :)

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    1. Hi Jeannette, Thanks for commenting on my blog! Yes, I totally agree. Doing weight/fitness for the external reasons will eventually be unhappy and fail. A person can find techniques to lose weight in many good diet books. However, keeping weight off requires self-love that takes much more effort to develop. And much of self-love involves a personal approach to "mindful living," versus the more superficial idea of mindful eating. :-)

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  4. That consensus thing often translates into martyr thinking or victim stance. When we do what everyone else wants, when it is not what we want. Often it is a crutch or excuse to avoid doing what we need to do. There is big difference between explaining to please and communication.

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    1. Hi Vickie, Yes! I don't do self-sacrifice anymore! Self-sacrifice made me internally sick for many years of my life! And I find I can do the very same tasks with a healthier attitude when it is my choice from my heart. Trying to please never ever works if everyone is aware that there is a martyr or a resentful individual doing the actions. My whole family got happier when I made myself the top priority because everything I did for them was infused with my own self-love, which feels much different than a martyr mom.

      I never literally thought about your second point about crutch and/or excuse. Very interesting, Vicky! We can use our family's group thought to cancel out what we feel we personally need for ourselves. In my own experience, I have found that had I simply voiced my personal need that nobody knew, my family would have gone along with it anyhow! The crutch or excuse is so subtle that it is hard to recognize how much it stops us from being who we are each meant to be. I thought I was being a good mom for being self-sacrificial! But it stopped me from giving my whole self to my kids, which is actually sort of sad. And it was not teaching them to respect their own individual needs either.

      Regarding my writing, I have been contemplating how to write based upon my own beliefs and without so much need for approval from others. I do feel that the closer I get to needing only my own approval, the better my writing and braveness to write will become. So I'm working on that! :-)

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  5. When I was focused on what other people thought, I was unintentionally giving them control. It left me feeling powerless and not important. It wasn't the reality of it. I was so confident with my new path of getting healthy. I had to start putting myself first and stop wasting time,and energy on worrying what other people thought...I mean it's impossible to please everyone, so I needed to focus on doing what I loved and not worry about what everyone else was thinking.

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    1. Hi S, What you described is precisely how I used to feel in my younger years of being a mother. Even when I look at my photos of that time era, it was like a faint version of myself. And I agree, I don't think anyone in our families actually wanted us to feel powerless and without control, it just sort of happened because we were not valuing our own beliefs enough. As I mentioned, and as I see in your life, everyone in the family is happier when we began to practice self-love. And further, we are good role models for our children when we love ourselves and respect our own opinions and needs.

      And yes, I've never been able to please anyone! It's a futile goal to try to please everyone. Out of self-love, we can have faith in ourselves that we will take loving actions toward others for the right reasons--because we really want to! And it gladdens our hearts! :-)

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  6. Marion,

    I love this post. This weekend we kept my nephew. Normally I would want to order pizza and all that because I would think it would please him, but I noticed instead I thought about myself and what I needed. I knew in that moment I needed to go some place safe for me. The next day I was able to go somewhere more kid fun because I knew I was in a different state of mind food wise. I honor and respect myself in so many more ways.

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  7. I am repeating the same thing I wrote to you on my blog :)
    Self love is something that has helped me stick to my choices when I am surrounded by people who want to me to choose a unhealthy option. I work of being happy with myself as much as I work on my fitness because that is what lets me stand up for myself when I say no to something without feeling guilty :)
    thanks for such a wonderful post

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  8. I think doing what makes us happy (as long as we don't hurt others) is very important. And if we don't, it will very likely show up in weight gain at some point, at least it does for me. I just commented on another blog that whenever I gain some weight (it's only a few pounds at this point in my life), I know that something is "off," and it's time to make me a priority again...

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  9. I agree. We don't have to explain ourselves. It's about balance. Like I sometimes blog on my fitness blog when I go through a difficult time. To show people I am not super human but have balance

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