Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself."

This week I went bathing suit shopping. I found this really cute bathing suit that I could wear working out and on the beach. AND IT WAS ON SALE! WOOT! But first, I had to try it on! Now everyone knows the insecurities this brings up in women. So, I thought I would blog about it. I look at my reflection in the mirror and see all the flaws that I have to offer. How can I run like I do and have hips like this? I guess that is the result of brownies and cutting my miles to 30 miles a week.
What does this have to do with running? Well the same insecurities that creep into seeing myself in a bathing suit creeps into my running. I think everyone deals with some insecurity. They face it over and over, however can rarely give it a name.
I will help you name it today.

I am a therapist as many of you know. I use Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy in my counseling sessions. Now this sounds real fancy, however, all it means is that we react to events around us in certain ways because of the beliefs we have about our self. We learn these beliefs from parents, friends, enemies, siblings, coworkers, teachers, and/or us.
Everyone has certain beliefs that shape their world view and according to the book, "The Search for Significance" by Robert S McGee, these beliefs are false and manifest in 4 separate ways.
  1. "I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself.
  2. I must be approved by certain others to feel good about myself.
  3. Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.
  4. I am what I am; I cannot change; I am hopeless."

Now like I said, these are false beliefs and have to be refuted and then replaced with a truer belief that can help us function in an emotionally healthy way.

Even though I teach this everyday and know the truth, I often find that the first belief creeps into my life. "I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself." When I run, I set certain goals for myself. At the point the goal is set, it becomes imperative in my mind that it is reached. To do anything less would be failure. And failure is not an option. Because I run, I need to look a certain way. I should look fit and trim in a bathing suit and not have a body like a 38 year old woman who has given life to two beautiful children. Now this is all in my mind. If I do not meet the goal, it does not mean I am a failure, but simply that I did not meet the goal. And the reality is that I am 38 and my body has carried two children to full term and is changed forever because of that.....and it is OK.

Sometimes I meet the goal. Here is the first time I ever placed in my age group. I have this nifty glass as my trophy. I have it in my office to remind me of the success.

Sometimes I do not meet the goal. Mile 17 of Charlotte, Thunder Road Marathon. I am trying to convince Matt to allow me to quit and take me home. He wouldn't and I finish with a 4:05. This is 20 minutes off my goal.
This is running, this is life.
What do you deal with?
Do you care what others think of you? Does this belief paralyze you. If someone does not react to you how you feel like they should, do you feel rejected? The fear of rejection is a strong false belief.
Do you think a mistake you made labels you forever. Are you afraid that you deserve to be punished because of it. The fear of punishment can suck the joy out of living.
Do you feel like you are hopeless. Ashamed of who you are or who you have become? Shame can make us feel worthless.
However, there is a solution to all this. In the same book, Robert S McGee says, "We have two alternatives: We can base our self-worth on our success and ability to please others, or we can base our self-worth on the love, forgiveness and acceptance of Christ."

Which will you choose?

Bondage in the fear of these false beliefs or the freedom of Christ. Only you can make this choice.....even when you are looking at your reflection wearing a bathing suit.

If you want more info on this subject, read The Search For Significance by Robert S McGee. I read it about once a year. It will change your life.


paige said...

Nicely worded! And love Search for Significance!! It was a must for me when I first became a Christian!!

Cathy Parker said...

I like Beth Moore's study on "Believing God" and the 5 Step Shield of Faith to counteract the false beliefs:
1. God is Who He says He is
2. God can do what He says He can do
3. I am who God says I am
4. I can do all things in Christ
5. God's Word is alive and active in me

Now.... I'm believin' God!!

I dread puttin' on the ol' bathing suit too but I wouldn't trade transformation of the heart and mind for transformation of the body. But I'll still work on the body too..... I'm just sayin'.....