Monday, December 13, 2010

Dealing with destructive doubt

I'm an optimistic person by nature. And I'm a kind person. But I've often failed to be kind to myself. And when it comes to my weight, and self-image in general, I've often failed to extend to myself the same optimistic attitude I share so freely with others.

Sometimes, when I say something to others in an optimistic way, there are undercurrents of doubt just below the surface. These undercurrents remain just under the skin and are well hidden from casual observers. But if you come in close, and get a careful look, you can see them. They're not pretty. And they can be downright destructive, which is why I keep them hidden, especially from myself.

Reading back through my blog, which I started in December 2008, I can see those undercurrents in my writing. I can read between the lines of my own writing. And that's why I'm so amazed that I've made it this far in my effort to halve my weight in two years' time.

I was so optimistic in those early posts. But in short order the blog posts stopped, and the 30 initial pounds I'd lost came right back on. Then toward the end of 2009, optimism rebounded. And I finally was able to back my optimism with real strategies that would help me deal with those troublesome undercurrents that have time and time again bridled the otherwise wild, passionate man who longed to be victorious over lethargy, pessimism and addiction to comfort.

I'll be talking more about some of the strategies I've used to overcome destructive doubt. But for now, I'll leave you with a book title: Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman. This book was key in helping me change my inner dialog from one of pessimism to one of hope. And I think without it my current story would not be as hopeful as it is.

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