At this very moment…I am not at my best. I ate four chocolate chip cookies after a very healthy lunch, and it was four too many. I’m feeling groggy and crabby. Hello,
crack withdrawal sugar hangover. It’s been a very healthy summer for me, food-wise…I haven’t done this to myself in awhile…and it’s making me reflect a bit on healthy habits and making peace with oneself.
My job gives me a lot of practice of suspending emotion. I don’t need to feel everything all at once. I can put my emotions aside for now, and focus on the task at hand and the power that I do have over my situation. It might be when a child is directing verbal and physical aggression toward me, or it might be when I receive a lot of seemingly impossible tasks from administration. Or a hundred other possibilities. I’m sure your job has situations like this as well. I can put the feelings aside, for now, and speak truth into the moment. I can address the emotions later, because heaven knows they will still be there. But by then, the situation may have worked out, or I might have more information, or I might have found that things weren’t as impossible as I thought.
I am feeling the same way in this moment. My feeling of fatigue and irritation are very real, because of course they are being caused by actual physical changes in my cells at the moment. A flood of insulin has rushed into my bloodstream to wash away that sugar, causing some inflammation that makes my cells a bit warm and uncomfortable. If there is any sort of infection or cancer in any of my cells, the acidic nature of the processed flour and sugar are giving the sickness a party, and my immune system is having a hard time keeping up. Those happy chemicals that the heroine-like sugar released into my brain have run their course, and I haven’t fed my neurons any more sugar to replace them, so my brain cells are experiencing a little withdrawal period. Just from a few cookies. Very, very real feelings.
But…I can separate those feelings from my thoughts. Even typing out a description of what is going on physiologically, speaking truth into the moment, helped me to separate how I feel from what I know. I still feel groggy, I still feel crabby. But my brain has been reengaged. I can go on with what I think and what I know, and I can remind myself that the groggy and crabby are temporary.
I’m obviously not a perfect person, and I’m not any closer to perfect (or any farther away from it) than I was a year ago. Or five years ago. It is my growing belief that perfection is not meant to be the goal. We live, we experience, we grow. If we’re lucky, we become aware of just how blessed and wonderful we are. I am fabulous, smart, gorgeous, loved, wonderfully and fearfully made. There is no room in all that fabulousness for perfect. There is nothing that is worth trading for perfect, even if it were possible.
I recently watched an old episode of Bones where Booth and Brennan investigate the murder of a woman who has had many plastic surgeries, trying to make herself more perfect. Brennan has had enough of beautiful people who think they’re ugly, and the doctors who make money off those insecurities, and she rants:
“We’re born unique. Our experiences mold and change us. We become someone, all of us, and to have that taken away by murder, to be erased from existence, is unacceptable. I feel like we should be arresting these doctors, because whether they killed her or not, they still erased her.”
It’s very easy to fall into habits of wishing we were more perfect, wishing we were someone else, wishing we were different. But if that wish could come true, it would erase someone. I might not always feel that I am of value, but I would not wish someone else to be erased in some way. Even when I don’t know or see someone’s value, I trust that they are valuable. I trust that they shouldn’t be erased. Why is that so hard to turn on oneself? Even when I don’t feel my value, when I don’t feel fabulous or fearfully and wonderfully made, can’t I trust?
I’ve been rereading bits and pieces of Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. That girl is enthusiastic! She makes me think about how I think about healthy habits. Take exercise, for example. It’s one thing to say, “If I exercise, I will be strong and healthy and have lots of energy.” That statement is true, but it doesn’t take into account whether or not I care about such things. I know I should care…but do I? Do I truly believe that I am worth all that? Do I think that I deserve to be strong and healthy and feel great?
At the core of the matter, aren’t we saying this: “I want to be a person who exercises, because I wish I were a person who deserved to exercise.”
In the end, I am my own problem. It is my choice to seek my value, to find, and believe, and trust the source of my worth. I am not valuable because of my actions, or my intelligence, or my appearance. The source of my worth is not a “why.” It’s simply the fact that I am here. I have been gifted with a life, a body, an existence on this planet. I did nothing to earn them. That is evidence of my worth, and there is no “why,” other than that it gives my Creator pleasure to have me here. How is that for a blissful thought?
It’s not exactly that I deserve to be healthy, because that implies I earned it. It’s more like health is my birthright, should I choose to claim it. I do not need to do anything to earn the right to go to the gym, or to make a green smoothie, or to go to bed at a reasonable time tonight. Those things are already mine. I don’t need to deserve them.