Tag Archives: acceptance

Group Therapy Thursday: Acceptance

Since my surgery last June I’ve had a vision of life post hysterectomy.  I saw myself as a new woman, capable of doing anything I wanted with no fear of pain holding me back. 

Roughly eight weeks ago I started running C25K.  It was the best feeling and life was good.  I felt strong and hopeful.  Hopeful as in, ‘Hey; maybe there IS a runner inside of me somewhere. Maybe my back will work with me this time and as long as I take care of it (stretching before and after runs, and icing/heating when needed) then it will take care of me.   Dare I say that maybe, running could be a new and exciting chapter of my life.’  This seed has grown because of bloggers like Laura (LauraLivesLife) and Katie (Runs For Cookies) both of whom run and have, like me, lost and maintain a 100+ pound weight loss. 

I started reading Runs for Cookies well over a year ago.  I’ve watched Katie go from a woman who never thought she would enjoy running into a strong, courageous lover of the sport.  A few weeks ago Katie posted on her blog that she was holding a virtual 5K for her 31st birthday which is tomorrow.  Anyone could sign up and participate from wherever they were in the world (she even had a bib printed up for participants to wear – isn’t that clever?)  You didn’t have to run it, either.  She wanted to include everyone, including walkers.  The completion of my C25K program coincided with the race so I decided that I would sign up and run my first race ever, then post my milestone here on my blog.    

 

A couple of weeks ago my lower back started showing major signs of unhappiness.  I decided that I would simply work through it by using pain meds and doing more stretching, followed by more ice/heat compresses.  No big deal, I thought.  This time things will be different.  I can make this happen. 

Most of you who read my blog regularly know that I have degenerative disc disease, which is not really a disease but rather a fancy name for bad disc(s) in the back.  With diligence and care, I can go months with very little back pain, but when I had surgery last year, caring for my back took a backseat while I recovered.  With my recovery long and severed stomach muscles slowly healing, I’ve had to burden my back.  As a result I’ve pushed through – and let’s face it: ignored – the increasing pain over the past 7 months. 

No matter.  I can still do this

Last week shortly after my run I felt a stabbing pain shoot down my leg. By that evening my toes were completely numb and I was unable to sit or stand still; relief came only if I walked or lay on my side; not very helpful when one paints at an easel and writes at her computer for a living. 

My husband felt it was time to intervene.  He read me the following from a website: 

Over time, the water between the bad disc dries up and cannot absorbs the shock that comes from the repetitive pounding/jarring that occurs when running. 

‘By running, you’re doing more harm than good,’ he said.  I pretty much knew at that point that my running days were over ~ this time, most likely for good. 

You might be thinking right about now, “What’s so important about running, anyway?”

A great question.   This may sound silly but I guess that for me, I thought it might be a place where I could fit in. I’m not good at sports; running doesn’t require me to be. I’m introverted and quite shy (truly, I am!); running doesn’t put any pressure on me to interact with other people. Plus, I’ve always seen runners as strong individuals and admired their tenacity. Hey, I’ve lived in a college town all my life where EVERYBODY runs. Maybe I associate it with youth….hmm; I’m going to need to let that one marinate in my head for a bit.

Today’s group therapy is about acceptance.   I’ve been fighting the need to accept that running – even jogging, is bad for my current health.  For the past several weeks I’ve been doing everything in my power to ignore the obvious, and now I’m paying the price.

If I can let go of the idea that running is imperative to my health and actually focus on the reality of my well being (like the simple pleasure of sitting through a meal with little to no pain) only then will I be free to make other choices that’ll actually serve instead of hinder me. 

By the time you read this post, I will either be in the middle of or just finishing up my first appointment with an acupuncturist.  This is my first step in acceptance.  I will still be doing Katie’s 5K tomorrow, but not as a runner like I’d hoped.  Part of my acceptance will be following through with my plan to participate, but as a walker.  To repeat last week’s quote as it now pertains to me:

“When I release my death grip on control, I will gain a greater sense of accepting what is; only then can I make the decision to change.” 

What did you learn to accept this week? 

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**This is our last official exercise of this month’s HL Challenge.  For our last week together we’ll continue our focus on 31 Days of Gratitude and meet back here one last time next Thursday to discuss the past month.  It will be your time to share the good and the bad of the challenge and what, if anything, you’ll be taking with you as part of the experience.  We’ll wrap up our meeting with photos of your gratitude jar (if you’d like to send them to me, I’d be most happy to post them here) and pick our favorite Gratitude Moment of the Month. 

So, it’s a date?  See you back here next Thursday Smile

Hate Loss Challenge Week Three: Acceptance

hatelossbadge

This next exercise is more of a topic for you to think about and ponder for the week.  The subject is Acceptance. 

There are several types of patterns that low self esteem allows into our lives:

1. depression

2. mood swings

3. eating disorders

4. loneliness

5. withdrawal

6. anxiety

7. stress

8. unhealthy relationships

Having a healthy sense of self esteem brings happiness, contentment, peace, pride and joy. We can learn to create a healthy sense of esteem if we choose to have acceptance in our lives.

Acceptance is a controversial word for some in the weight loss community. To some, acceptance means ‘resigning to what is’.   Example:  Being asked to accept myself is like saying I should never strive to improve upon areas I see as a problem..  To me, that means the same as giving up. 

A good description regarding Acceptance comes from a book 10 Simple Solutions For Building Self Esteem by Glenn R.  Schiraldi, P.H.D.  In it, the author states:

“Acceptance means ‘to take in or welcome’.  To accept then, is to see clearly and with full awareness the good and the bad, suffering and joy as part of life, and to experience life without battling, insisting that things be different or immediately trying to change or fix or get rid of the present distress.  When we accept guests into our home, we receive them with pleasure just as they are.  When we accept ourselves, we experience ourselves with a similar, welcoming attitude.” 

Dr. Schiraldi makes an excellent point.  Acceptance does not mean resignation.  It simply means that we see things as they currently are, and here is the most important part: when the decision to act becomes clear then we can also act with acceptance and without resistance. 

When we release our death grip on control, we gain a greater sense of accepting what is; then we can make the decision to change the things that no longer serve us. 

This next week I challenge you to think about what it is you accept in your life.  If you are able, put it into words for next week’s group therapy. 

Some motivational quotes to help you along the way this coming week: 

 

“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.”
~ Michael J. Fox

 

“Acceptance means events can make it through you without resistance”

~Michael Singer

 

“Love is made up of three unconditional properties in equal measure:
1. Acceptance
2. Understanding
3. Appreciation
Remove any one of the three and the triangle falls apart.
Which, by the way, is something highly inadvisable. Think about it — do you really want to live in a world of only two dimensions?
So, for the love of a triangle, please keep love whole.”

~ Vera Nazarian

 

Also, how is the 31 Days of Gratitude coming along?  We are 2/3 of the way through and I’d love to hear how it’s affected your January so far!

Have a great weekend!

~Ellen

Group Therapy Thursday: Mirror Exercise Discussion

 

hatelossbadgeHappy Thursday everyone, and welcome to our first day of group therapy for the Hate-Loss Challenge.  Last week we all downloaded a copy of Karen Anderson’s Mirror Exercise.  Today, we’ll share our thoughts about it.  Also, I’d love to know how your Gratitude Jar challenge is coming along; can you believe we’re 9 days into it already? 

 

If I’d read through this exercise a couple of years ago I would have thought it too simple a task to really change any perception I had about myself.  Clearly, I knew nothing about mirror work. Having done quite a bit of self esteem exercises since then, I knew this was definitely going to be a challenge. We’re all so used to seeing our reflections, it’s easy to get disconnected from what’s staring back in the mirror unless we work on it regularly (which personally I haven’t since before my surgery last June). 

I have to say, I think it’s interesting that a couple of you opened your eyes and found your mother’s image in the mirror; fascinating.  Although this didn’t happen to me, I did have trouble carrying out the exercise the first several times I tried it.  Holding onto it and projecting that emotion while gazing at myself was the most difficult part. I was able to gather that warm, safe, powerful feeling deep inside, but when I opened my eyes I’d lose it immediately.   Last year at this time I was practicing mirror work every day and getting pretty comfortable doing it, actually.  In fact, I continued to do it long after the challenge was over but after surgery, I never really picked it back up.   It’s obvious to me how much one can regress in a few short months.  I’m now learning to accept this ‘new’ body which has been very challenging at times.  I am getting better at it, however as with any exercise – be it training for a half marathon or doing self-esteem work, it all takes practice and diligence in order to see progress.

Other than the exercise itself (to give you a chance to see where you are on the self-acceptance ladder in your life), I felt that it was equally important to understand what physically happens to our bodies when we neglect our mental health.  Physiologically, we react negatively to stress – specifically stress that we bring onto ourselves when we direct negative and harmful words inward.  We all have the ability to rid ourselves of this kind of self inflicted abuse.  We are all worthy of praise and love and acceptance, aren’t we?  It is well within our control to change the way we feel about ourselves.  I hope you’ll consider using this exercise or other kind of mirror work after today.  It really can make a difference.  

How did you do? 

Did you run into any obstacles when trying to complete this exercise?  If so, were you able to work around the obstacle in order to finish it?  What are your thoughts on the scientific explanation of why it’s so important to have a healthy attitude? 

Remember, Karen is giving away a copy of her book to a lucky participant and in order to enter you must comment in THIS post about your experience in doing the Mirror Exercise.  If you have a blog and write a post about today’s exercise, please link your post in the comments section below so that other group members can read and share their thoughts with you.  If you don’t own a blog, please use my comments section for this week’s update and you’ll be automatically entered for Karen’s book giveaway.  A winner will be announced at random on Monday, January 14th.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting our next exercise for discussion on Thursday, January 17th.  Thanks for participating everyone, and have a good session!

xo,

~Ellen