Overcoming oneself

I am tremendously grateful that I don’t struggle with my weight. There have only been two times in my life when I have been slightly overweight – on both occasions when I tried to diet I gained more weight. And I have found a similar pattern when I have tried to overcome other minor issues – things that I feel I should do less of – in all cases the intent to do something less means that I end up thinking about it more and it ends up being a bigger issue!

It’s crazy, but it is the way my mind seems to work. I still occasionally fall into this cycle when I am trying to rid myself of something or reduce something, but I am beginning to learn that I am much better off if I take a more positive route. Rather taking on something which will probably achieve the same end.

I find that the more attention I give to something the more energy it seems to gain. A small issue can quickly escalate into something which begins to look a lot like an insurmountable problem. But if I can just focus on something else which will help me achieve the same end I can maintain a healthy perspective.

So I remind myself once more that it really is better if I give myself a new positive focus. It reminds of a comment a spiritual director of mine once made: Is your goal not to sin or to try to love? You are never going to achieve ‘not sinning’, but you can become more loving, and in becoming more loving you will probably do a bit better on the ‘sin’ stakes.

I feel better when I am taking note of the times that I managed to do something more healthy, than I do when I take account of the things times that I managed not to do something unhealthy. Making the healthy choice 4 days out of 7 feels like a success. Only managing not to make the unhealthy choice 4 days out of 7 feels like a failure.

Objectively there is no difference, but I am far more likely to sustain making healthy choices over time if I find a positive way to approach the issue.

2 thoughts on “Overcoming oneself

  1. Thanks Mags. A confessor brought this up with me recently. God sees our sin, yes, but he sees all our successes too. He sees all of us and loves us. Where as we (or I) tend to focus on the negatives, the failures and turn them into my everything without reflecting on the times I have had success in my day to day journey.

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