Saturday, March 20, 2010

Slaying the Stress Monster: The Mind and the Competition

These are the words that have been instrumental in helping me get my head together:

Every thought is a choice.
Every choice leads to a decision.
Every decision leads to an action.
Every action has the potential to change a life... not just your life, but the lives of those around you.

On paper, it looks so simple - but in real life? Oh, dear heavens, no.

Believe me when I say that I have the capability of ruining my own day with a simple thought. It always starts with something that sounds so harmless at first:  I'm so tired. I feel ugly. I'm surrounded by morons. Then I go about my day, and suddenly I do find myself feeling tired, ugly, and surrounded by morons. Sooner rather than later, I've already collapsed on the couch crying... or, worse, I'm crying and can't even sit on my couch any more, because I've already taken out my frustration on every single piece of furniture in the house.

Maybe I can't help it because I'm just as human as you are, but seriously: It really doesn't have to be that way.

For the longest time, I've told myself that I wasn't a jock, not into sports, nowhere near being an athlete in any shape or form. This may be true in some aspects of my life, but I used this line of thinking to deliberately hold me back from taking my exercise routine seriously - and, in the process, it has actually kept me from taking my own health seriously. But I didn't know that; I just wanted to be a hedonist and do away with the pain altogether.

Eventually, when I did step back to take a look at all the crappy choices I've made in my life, I did see a pattern: It wasn't the exercise itself that brought me down, but my refusal to pursue activities that I really enjoyed. Note that I said "refusal" here, because let's face it - if I really wanted to take those classes in yoga or ballroom dancing, I would've done anything and everything in my power to fit them into my schedule, even if it meant ponying up crazy amounts of money for fees and equipment. The exercise didn't have to wear me down, because I was already doing a great job of doing that to myself.

In short, I have become my own toughest competition... and I wasn't going to keep letting Meimei hold Meimei back any more.

Think about it: Nobody else eats my food for me, and nobody else gets to lose my weight for me. None of the hot celebrities, gossipy tabloids, and real-life sexy people of the world are addressing me directly and telling me personally that I'm an unworthy human being. The fact that I'm actually still alive - to say the least of finishing graduate school and writing a beauty blog for five years - is proof enough for me that I'm not here to waste any time or space on any kind of whining and lolly-gagging. And, honestly, if you do believe in a higher power, like I do - regardless of where you stand on religion - you probably may have realized by now that the real struggle between good and evil begins within the individual self.

Again, nobody is holding a gun to your head... and even in the off chance that somebody really is doing just that, you still get to decide if keeping it there is the right idea. If you knew that your decisions will lead to action - and the action that you choose to do could change more than one life in the long run - what kind of a choice will you be able to make, and how are you going to make it?


kuri said...

I have similar thoughts.
Lately a client has really been getting me down and I've been unnecessarily negative about the whole situation. I'm even hiding from work today, although I do have a cold too.

I guess the lack of something concrete for me to be in control of makes me lose hope. It's a weird thing. Even though there still is hope - there are still avenues to persue, I feel like it's hopeless. But I haven't been able to analyze it fully. I'm definitely a bit burned out though, so that's one of the problems.

Anyway, I babble. I really like your "Slaying the Stress Monster" series! It's giving me a lot to think about regarding my own actions.

meimei said...

@Kuri: Thank you so much for your comments. I hope that the whole Stress Monster series has been a great help for you.

I totally hear you on the burnout issue - I went through a series of burnouts when I was still in Hawaii, so I know that feeling of hopelessness and despair. Being honest with one's self about one's needs - without having to use the "angry voice," as the kids would call it - is always a good starting point; everything follows from there. :)