I stepped on a scale. Voluntarily.
Recently — like two weeks ago — I checked my weight for the first time in decades.
My refusal to step on a scale is one of an grab-bag of behaviors I developed so I’d feel better about myself — I was convinced I was too big. These little habits of mine carried a lot of weight, including the stupid idea that if I didn’t know the actual number, I’d be happier.
I was wrong. (Duh.) Turns out, this “I don’t do scales” was a habitual reaction designed to keep me feeling bad about myself. Who knew?
A little backstory, even though it’s all made up.
I swallowed (interesting choice of word) the idea that I was the wrong size, shape, and even gender (in those extremely binary days) — and by the time I was in puberty I knew I was too big, too fleshy, and definitely took up too much space. Do I need to add I dieted forever and felt guilty about everything I ate?
There are more details I could share about this well developed neurotic thinking that with time became a given, a part of my operating system. But those details are irrelevant. More useful to notice what happened over time:
I milked the hell out of this message.
I took that message — wrong size/shape — and I milked it. Those bad feelings — I used them to justify a whole lot of sullen, negative, alienating behavior, extending a series of bad moments into a long stretch of bad days, weeks, years, and decades. Over time I forgot why that persona I created exists, let alone why she reacts the way she does, or feels like life is such a sad struggle.
So much has changed. Thank goodness.
I now understand — unconditionally — that my parents did the very best they could when they raised me. I have compassion for them now in a way that feels new and deeper than ever before. This is important because there’s a connection between this awareness and stepping on a scale. I’ll circle back to this. Promise.
I refused each routine offer to be weighed because at one time I believed seeing the number would make me feel bad. I believed it and I defended it. It’s possible I may have glared and thrown a little rageful body language into these interactions. Yeah, that’s how I rolled.
I got curious about my weight. About the actual number.
My body’s been getting smaller for the last four years. Without trying. Without dieting. Of course I loved this. Because I’m not as big, I’ve even started feeling better about my size. I got what I thought I wanted; I’m smaller. I’m revealing this to myself as well as you; I have a long way to go.
(Here’s why: If you’re following along, you’re probably seeing that celebrating this smaller size isn’t good news at all. The degree to which I pride myself on now being a reliable size X is the degree to which I’ll be dealing with those old feelings of panic about my size should it ever trend upwards again.)
Recently, a brief episode of loss of appetite and feeling turned off by food spurred my curiosity. This thought came, obviously unbidden: Maybe it’d be good to know what I weigh now; if I continue to drop weight I’d have a marker.
That was it. I asked the medical assistant at the next office visit to stop at the weigh station so I could check my weight. She goggled her eyes, picked herself up off the floor, and helped me with this newfangled digital scale (yes, it’s been that long).
That story is gone. It’s just gone.
All that painstakingly constructed part of my personality (“I don’t do scales.”) — gone.
A scale is a measurement device. It’s a good tool, and one I no longer feel compelled to avoid. And a scale something is to climb, ascend, go up or over. Hmm.
Let’s look at forgiveness again for a sec.
(I promised I’d come back to this).
For me to have taken my parents (and others) off the shelf labeled “Nope not this; can never forgive this” is huge. How I got here is partly shrouded in mystery, but I think there are some pointers to look at:
- Forgiveness becomes more available when you’re feeling safe and grounded. Forgiveness can bring with it a new way of seeing around, through, and beyond all those givens and habitual ways of seeing that gets built up over time.
- As kids, we keep looking for love and comfort and nurturance (it’s in our programming) and when the world and our nurturers fail us, we find ways to cope. After a while, these behaviors become habitual, and then we experience the painful and alienating result of a ton of thinking that doesn’t look like thinking. It looks real, and it weighs you down.
- Over time, those coping behaviors that once helped you survive become barriers that keep you from the life you want more of — free, present, light, and joyful.
- Look for the permeability — a gift of deepening trust. Old beliefs that give your particular meat suit its ideas, words, and actions will loosen up. Openings will appear that let light and fresh ideas through.
- Keep looking for trust. Follow the openings that appear, those aha moments that show you how much of what causes you pain is completely made up (you might as well, I’m certain that number is very close to 100%). Once you see that something’s made up, you get to start playing with it.
You might even get on a scale.
If you’d like to know more, to explore where permeability may be available to you, and where you might begin to see and experience more light and less constriction, check out Simplify Your Life for upcoming events and programs.
Busy Tuesday? Join me and my guest Nina Lockwood for a free Simplici-Tea: Simplify Your Business Zoominar on Tuesday, May 14th, at 9:30am PDT. It’s simple to join. Click the button below on Tuesday. Magic. Simplici-Tea.