Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fitness of the Mental kind

For about the past 8 months, I have been focusing intensely on my overall physical health and fitness. I began blogging about my fitness journey and have made some pretty awesome changes. I feel better than I ever have in my entire life, including my teen years. For the most part, I have the body composition that I have always wanted. I feel like an athlete, I feel strong, I feel less stressed, I feel at my best, I feel in control.

While I'm still striving for goals in that area, I have felt for some time that it is time for me to shift my focus over to my mental and emotional fitness.

I have started to realize how much my perception of other people has to do with my own thoughts and feelings. I've started to realize how powerful my own thoughts are. Labeling someone is a human, flawed trait that we all have. Learning to see deeper takes work and patience.

Everyone is coming into a situation with their own background, emotional baggage, and perceptions. The thing I am working on that is very difficult for me, is to step back, not take things personally (really hard because I am SO SENSITIVE), and see from someone else's point of view. To sympathize with their feelings, to understand emotional reactions vs. rational thought, and to view them as a COMPLETE person. Not as a label.

We all have faults, we all have traits that could very simply place us in a "category". But to do so is dangerous. To do so is to then see every move that person makes as "controlling" "passive aggressive" "ex-hater" "slut" etc. etc., you get the point.

I really feel that getting away from labeling and to focus on sympathizing is one of the keys to true happiness.

It has done wonders for me in a short time in my relationships.

Another thing I've been working on is gratitude. Gratitude seems to be a big "thing" in pop culture lately, a product of the Oprah phenomenon. It has been preached to death in my opinion. I don't like the general attitude of the public that seems to shame people for having any negative feelings or emotions and "be grateful for what you have". To me, it is so important to process ALL feelings, good or bad. However...

Recording the things I am grateful for on a daily basis, privately where only I can see, has been an incredible exercise for me and my daily attitude. It doesn't eliminate emotions or hurt feelings, but it helps me keep focused and get through those times. It exercises my "happiness" muscle, even when I don't want to. My physical fitness training comes into play here...I know how to push myself to do something good for me, even when I don't feel like it, because I know the reward is worth the work.

I'll be continuing my journey to emotional health and being a better person and try to write about it here as much as possible. Surviving the struggles was one thing, becoming the best I can be is another, but worth working for.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wedding Plans and an Attitude Adjustment

Less than two months to the wedding in San Francisco.

Yes. Yes that is correct. (I need CPR)

Wedding plans, however simple, are coming together. As much as I do not want to be bothered with details, there have to be a few. We're making our own playlist for the wedding and dinner and playing it on a portable ipod speaker. We've decided against a cake in SF, just for the reception back home, since the venue provides dessert along with dinner. His wedding ring just arrived, mine a few weeks ago. The reception invitations are being designed, addresses gathered.

This is really happening.

Mr. Wonderful has been living here for a few weeks now. Before he moved in, we had a conversation about how we both needed to be alert that through times of large transition, we do not do well. I have been having pretty stressful health issues that have required me to undergo a series of expensive tests, both of which scared the crap out of us both. Because I've been ill, I haven't been able to work or help, and I've been irritable. Mr. W has been supervising our house renovations, building a shed for the backyard and tiling the patio all by himself, as well as helping me with the kids and adjusting to a)being here all the time at the same time that b)the kids are home all day for summer. Add in a little pinch of wedding plans and a dash of exhaustion and you have a recipe for disaster.

We began bickering, and then I went into self-protection mode, which in turn caused him to do the same. And that is a no-win situation.

I began to retreat as I always do. Luckily, I have friends around me in the same in particular who advised me to call my therapist asap. I almost didn't. I almost just decided to run. I cannot even tell you where my mind goes when I go into this panic attack.

I sat down with my therapist and she refreshed me on everything I have learned. Do not categorize Mr. W. See him for HIM. Listen when he's upset or stressed. Do not instantly take it personally. Reflect on what he is saying. Stop "sticking up for yourself" and being defensive. Instead, be a loving partner to him so that he can in turn be the same to me.

Literally I was done with that session after a half hour. It brought me right back to where I know I need to be, I just lost sight of what is needed of me to make this relationship the success that it has always been, because I was too busy being terrified and scared and protecting myself.

I came home and things changed instantly. We have not bickered once since then, even after several situations where it could have gone down. Once I changed my attitude, his changed naturally. It's pretty mind-blowing how a simple adjustment can make such a big difference all around. We are no longer defensive of ourselves and instead working together to understand one another, the way it has been all along.

And I cannot wait to marry him and call him my husband once and for all.

Big. Huge. Sigh. Of. Relief.