I have had a couple of health goals that I am supposed to have completed by this month. The first is to lose 20 pounds. The second is to drop my cholesterol number down to a healthy range. On Saturday, I will have my blood work to determine whether I have achieved that goal. I decided to weigh myself to see how I’ve been doing in the department.
I used the scale in my classroom, which is not the one I normally use, but I thought I’d at least see what it said. The scale stopped at 210 lbs, which means I had lost 30 pounds! I was shocked and in utter disbelief because there was no way I’d lost that much, despite the fact that I was going to the gym between 5 and 6 times per week. I had gained some muscle, so I knew that couldn’t be right. I stepped on the scale back at my house a few hours later, and it stopped at 230 lbs, which means I had really only lost 10 and I had not reached my goal.
During that time, I did everything to convince myself that the first number just wasn’t correct, even though secretly I was really hoping that it was. Reality hit me when I saw the second number and all of my doubts and insecurities filled my mind about my weight and my progress towards a healthier body. It was so much easier to convince myself that I had done poorly than to believe I had done well. That type of thinking is how I’ve always dealt with potential disappointment.
I believe survivors are accustomed to disappointment. Most of us probably deal with it in much the same way. We focus on the negative aspects of our lives and adapt a fatalistic point of view, while deep down we want to believe the positive parts of any change or achievement we make. Also, those around us will relentlessly point out the myriad of positive possibilities that could be happening to us. Yet, we will find excuses why those possibilities are false, downplay the support they offer, or outright deny it either outwardly or in our minds.
For those of you who are supporters of a survivor in your life, never stop pointing out the positives to us. We may do our best to deflect them, but pointing out truths is only going to help us realize that we can face disappointment head on. For survivors, we need to change the way we look at our lives. We should realize that it’s ok to not succeed at something. It’s fine to make small progress. It’s good to be disappointed because then we can figure out how to handle disappointment in a healthy way. Sometimes, sitting in difficult emotions is one of the best ways to figure out healthy strategies to overcome our issues.