Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Be your own teacher

I know that some people don't like to journal.  They don't think they have time for it or don't think it'll be beneficial or they don't keep up with it.  I'm guilty of the latter.  I can't count how many journals I've started and then abandoned.  Some of them dated, others not and I have to read them to figure out what time frame I'm looking at.  I like it best when I actually thought to include my weight on entries so I can see the pattern whether it was bouncing, on the way down or the way up.

I came across an online journal during the early to mid 2000's and I found the stark contrast of who I was and how I thought then to now...was well, startling to some degree.  The excuses I made, the broken promises to myself and my husband, justifying all along why every bad day, insufferable situation, health problems of family members and ridiculous scheduling demands we put on ourselves was grounds for skipping exercise and/or ordering pizza or some other crap in mass quantities.  It's the same stuff I now can't tolerate for an extended period of time from others because it's maddening to participate it.  Yet all I could do as I read these entries was watch the beginning of the end happen to this version of myself.  I sat helpless reading it and wondering how I could've let myself be so out of control and such a slave to food and honestly, laziness.  Why was my life worth giving up to eat and lay around because my boss was an asshole?  Or because people we loved were being screwed over by the medical community when we could do nothing but sit back 500 miles away and be helpless?  Or dealing with remodeling projects that never seemed to go right?  (IS there such a thing as remodeling project than isn't utter hell on some level?!)  But in the end, did eating not and exercising bring the people I loved back?  Make my boss less of a b!tch?  Make the contractors do their jobs?  Make my clients less annoying? NOOOOOO!!!!  And it never will...for anyone!

I was swirling in emotions reading how much we piled on ourselves and expected to come out of it sane.  I was so grateful for eventually waking up to what we were doing to ourselves and how many years we were taking off of our lives.  I am so thankful for being able to get a peek into how I was thinking back then.  I knew I was a whiner and excuse maker but it was just a generalized thought but seeing empty and broken promises staring back at me over and over again for years when I had plenty of time to go shopping, clean or rent movies showed me just what my priorities were back then.  Lessons from the past are some of the best lessons there are, especially when you are your own teacher.

Do you journal?  Has it helped you and if so, how?


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11 comments:

  1. What an awesome post! I've never thought of myself as a teacher to myself. I mean I try and teach my kids but I've never thought of the other. It is a journey and some either learn and succeed or become that rat on the wheel just spinning!!!!

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  2. Very, very true! You can learn a lot by just documenting and examining your life like this, either in a journal/diary or blog.

    And you can't deny, years later, that you were "that" person, either. It can be quite revealing.

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  3. I never seem to keep up with any kind of journal. I've started a few times, but honestly I'm pretty boring. The journal of my life reads "worked, ate, cleaned, did chores" or "slept, ran errands, did laundry". It's not that I never do anything interesting, just that most days are exactly the same and I get bored writing the same thing.

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  4. I am not consistent in journaling but I do it a lot more often now than ever before. It really is a healthy and helpful thing to do.

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  5. I already commented in the other place about journaling but something here that you said was a real eye opener for me today: did eating make "fill in the blank" better? I might think it made me 'feel' better for a moment (emotional eating) but if I'm being honest, it never did make ANYTHING better. What a concept! :)

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  6. I'm a very infrequent journalist (sort of like my blogging!). I've never been consistent although it used to be that I did my big 'journal' around New Years. I'd recap the previous 12 months and go over my goals for the next 12. Now I've read back over those and they say pretty much the same things - I'll do less of this and more of that. Unfortunately, I grew up with parents that believed in surprise room searches and even private journal/letter stuff was read. I might have understood it better if I'd been a kid that was into drugs or criminal behavior - I wasn't. So even though I am LONG past living at home with my parents there is still a real reluctance to put stuff down on paper. The baggage we bring with us...

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  7. I have been bad about journaling and have nothing, other than your journals, to look back on. It's amazing, and scary, what you tend to forget about over the years but when you read them again in your journal there is no hiding from it and that truly is a lesson you can learn from yourself.

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  8. Thanks so much everyone! If you're not a regular journal, consider just jotting down stats about where you are in your weight loss and your plan at the time. Even that can provide great insight to "future you!"

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  9. I'm definitely going to take your "comment hint" (remember to always read the comments!)...on the way up I had no idea what the greatest hits were. I'd venture to guess there were real spikes in my weight when it came to my Dad dying, my first dog dying, my grandpa dying, terrible work environment, etc. etc., you know all that stuff that makes food....comfort. I also have found (when I did journal) that they can transport me back to that exact place in time...powerful perspective and lessons to be learned from those journals. As always, thanks for your valued insight.

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  10. I have started and stopped journalling many times. You are right though, when I have journaled and gone back years later to read them, I have always learned something about myself. Probably time to start up again!

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  11. Seriously awesome post! I have as many failed attempts at journaling as I have at weight loss! But it appears that both are on track now...and it's no surprise to me that they seem to go hand-in-hand for me! :-)

    Again - awesome post! Sorry it's taken me so long to read it! LOL

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