I’ve always been a bit of a brat.
It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’m now humble enough to admit it. When I was a kid, I always grew extremely impatient with people and circumstances. I always wanted things done perfectly (my way) and rapidly (at my speed). Can you tell I was the first born?
NOW NOW NOW PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT.
As you can imagine, as I grew older, people saw me as less of a brat and more of a bitch. Of course, not many people would actually be so rude to call me that to my face. I just thought of myself as a highly-driven person who wanted to get things done as quickly and as best as possible (my husband fondly calls me “Go Girl”).
The truth is– my attitude and mindset sucked.
And I didn’t even recognize I had a problem for the first 26 or 27 years of my life! I thought almost everyone else was the problem! Sounds ridiculous, I know! I lost friendships, relationships and caused a rift with family members constantly. I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t see that I WAS RIGHT.
Maybe you’re not as extreme as I’ve been (or maybe you’re worse)… I feel like a lot of us fall on the spectrum somewhere of wanting circumstances to turn out a certain way and then feeling upset and let down when it gets “f*@ked up”.
The most obvious problem with this attitude is that we are ONLY focused on ourselves or the objective.
We don’t even consider how another person feels. We only care about how we feel or achieving the outcome we desire. This is my biggest problem and I catch myself falling into all of the time. Of course, it’s normal to think about yourself… you are you. But we can’t always have things our way… we have to compromise with others… even if their way seems stupid or less-than-efficient. I recognize now that I can get waaaay too focused on outcome and forget about who I am working with to achieve that outcome.
So how does this attitude harm your weight loss and relationships?
This attitude is very rigid. It’s either all one way or no way at all. This is often referred to all-or-nothing or black-and-white thinking. I know MANY of us fall into this mindset. If something can’t be perfect, we won’t have it at all.
Oh… and we’ll throw a giant fit about it, too. Often lashing out at and blaming others for messing things up.
I have 1 example to share about how this attitude stomped on my happiness and relationship:
After my boyfriend of 2 years left me, I liked being alone again. I liked doing things my way and not stepping on someone else’s toes. However, many months later, I started dating again and eventually things got serious.
By serious, I mean that he start running with me on my long day runs. That’s when he experienced “The Wrath of Naomi”.
I had a certain routine I always followed while running. I had a route, I had a speed, I had my gear, and I had my water and gels. Running with Adrean (now my husband) was a nightmare for me at first. He ran too slow. He didn’t pay attention to his running form and often even ran off into traffic. He would drink up all of his water long before the run was over. He always needed to stop and walk. He always needed to pee. I felt like I was running with a child.
Can you relate?
Long before the run was over, I was already pissed off and lashing out passive-aggressively with rude remarks, heavy sighs and controlling behavior. I hated what he was doing. I felt like he was holding me back. I wanted to leave him behind.
He’s a good man and he gave me a few shots to mess up before he confronted me about my shitty attitude (that I was still unaware of at that time).
After that, I still found myself acting out and getting upset when things weren’t going my way. However, I learned to say, “I’m sorry I treated you that way, I was wrong” as I reflected on my behavior.
It took about another 6-12 months to actively change my attitude from one of rigid planning and routines to one of go-with-the-flow and adventure.
The Adventure Attitude brings more inner-peace along with excitement.
It’s good to have plans and routines… if we didn’t make them, our lives wound be utter nonsense and chaotic! But the best laid plans can still get “ruined”. And how you CHOOSE to handle them is what is going to ruin your happiness and weight loss progress or not!
Going back to my example…
I LOVE running with my husband now. We have adventures. I stopped caring about the speed of his running. We stay together for the most part… there’s no problem with that. He’s learned proper running form and to be more aware of traffic… so that’s something he fixed. He’s gotten used to controlling his bladder on long runs and his fluid intake. Another thing he changed for the better. However, even if he was still doing all of the things the same as he did in the beginning (maybe not the running in traffic thing), I would still be okay with it now. Because I know I’m on adventure… not an ordinary training run…. but an adventure… where there are no expectations!
How this relates to your life and weight loss:
All-or-nothing thinkers tend to try so hard for so long to be perfect in just about everything they do… Until they can’t do it anymore and they give up. They might blame others (that was me) or themselves by believing they are worthless or lack some sort of follow-through skill. When you end up at a Mexican restaurant instead of a salad bar… when someone bakes you a cake for your birthday instead of giving you fruit… when you wake up late and miss your workout… when you “cheat” on your diet… everything is going to be okay. It’s not the end of the world… and you shouldn’t allow it to set the tone for the rest of the day either.
The next time you find yourself in a situation that isn’t going your way and you’re feeling uncomfortable, upset, frustrated, or confused…
Ask yourself these questions:
“Hasn’t everything worked out just fine in the past? Aren’t I OK?”
“What is the worst that can happen by this not going the way I had planned?”
“What good can come from this? What is this lesson here to teach me?”
“What kind of story will I have from this experience to share with others?”
“What if I chose to be happy and carefree about this instead?”
This isn’t easy. It requires action on your part. You must be able to acknowledge where you are wrong and what you will do differently next time. You must recognize that you are not a victim. Little by little, you must give up some of your control over everything and allow things to just unfold and happen for you. Often times, there’s great opportunities awaiting when you let them come about. But shifting your attitude and mindset from control/brat mode to adventure mode is what it takes.
As a bonus, here is a picture quote I found on Facebook that inspired this blog post:
As always, the comment section is burning to know what’s on your mind! So, I encourage you to share your thoughts!
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