Thursday, September 1, 2011

blessings

This year is about honesty. Honesty with who I am.

Sitting in my living room this evening, in my grandmother's hand-me-down pink 'La-Z-Boy' recliner. A cat is laying above my head on top of the furr-covered cushion looking out the window into the dark street.

Michael is washing dishes, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is being read aloud by Jim Dale on CD... The soft swishing of water being turned off, then on again as Michael rinses forks, knives, spoons, cast-iron skillets, and plastic lunch boxes.

I sit this evening in awe of my blessings. Of a house that didn't leak through Hurricane Irene (although a lot of sleep was lost worrying about it). Of an incredible husband who loves me... for me, even when it's hard. Of healthy cats who make me feel needed.

I've spent a lot of this year contemplating. Working through negative thoughts and attitudes. I've realized lately that I can have quite a low opinion of myself. Not purposefully. But that I can "talk" myself into being fearful, sad, frustrated, concerned, overly worried, stressed.... and even jealous.

The past few months I've been slowly coming to terms with a lot of my own character defects (thank you Overeaters Anonymous for cool terminology!) And one of my biggest faults is jealousy. I admitted that to myself a few months ago. And it wasn't easy. It was ugly. It was tear-filled with snotty tissues. Who wants to be that type of person?  I flat out looked at myself and said...you're ruining your life being jealous of others. It happens so simply, so innocently. Feelings of inadequacy. And it's more than just a little green monster. It's a big monster. An angry monster. It's not pretty. Jealousy over the success of others. Jealousy over book deals. Jealousy over facebook "likes" and twitter followers. Jealousy over those who can lose weight without even trying (I realize they are few and far between - but it seems like they are everywhere in the midst of struggles!)

And really? Jealously sucks. Literally. It will suck the life out of you. So one of my goals for the remainder of this year is to find contentment. Just where I am. Just as I am.

So what does it mean to be content? For me it means acceptance. It means finding joy in the small moments... moments of dishes being washed by a loving husband. Accepting that losing 80 pounds in one year may have been a little too large of a goal -- and being thankful for the 17 pounds that have so far come off. It means letting go of fear. Fear of not being enough. Fear of not meeting goals. Fear of failure.

Contentment is embracing the blessing of every. single. day. Not living in fear of what may or may not happen. Acceptance of the beauty of today.

The beauty of today.

Are you content? Are you blessed? How are you overcoming the internal struggles you deal with? What do you fear?




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16 comments:

  1. Beautiful, heart-felt post, Carrie. I'm proud of what you've accomplished, and admire that you are so successful at so much. Much hugs to you!

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  2. Wow, Carrie, fantastic post! I could have written nearly all of it myself (minus the cat). ;) Jealousy is a HUGE thing. And when it comes to contentment, that is the only way to really find peace. You can say "I want this, I want this, I want this", but when you look at it...do you need it? As soon as you realize it is not a need, and you can be content with what you have, that stress & pressure drops. Keep being you, Carrie! <3

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  3. Thank you for writing this Carrie. I know where you're coming from, and struggle with jealousy too...it can be very hard when you're a blogger because we feel so much competition when all we really want is to build a community and help each other. This is definitely something I continuously work through myself. And as a former Jenny Craig consultant, I can tell you that 17 pounds is a lot to lose and keep off, and that even those women who look like they don't struggle...do.

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  4. It's so nice to read something so real. Women are so hard on themselves to be perfect and have a perfect life, or at least pretend to. You have the right attitude! It will take you where you want to go. (And I know your heart is in the right place, too. Everything to His glory!)

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  5. Amazing post, Carrie! You are such a strong, brave woman and I really admire that in you.

    It takes a lot to open up the way you did. Many may have come to the same realization that you did, but not be able to share it like you did. I truly think that this can only help.

    Losing the weight you did and keeping it off is a much bigger accomplishment than you are giving yourself credit for. Yes, maybe you could have lost 80 lbs, but would have you been able to keep it off? Doing it slow & healthy is the best way for continued success. It isn't all about getting off as much as you can and then returning to unhealthy habits. It is about lifestyle changes that you can stick with for the rest of your life - changing habits.

    ((HUGS)) Carrie! Love you!

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  6. Today is beautiful...thanks to your post. You might have just been sitting in my head with some of these lines you wrote. So thoughtful and a wonderful reminder to focus on acceptance and gratitude. And to relish all kinds of love, including kitty love...(even if it is at 3 am). :)

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  7. Thanks for your honesty Carrie. Like Iris said, it's so easy for bloggers to compare and be jealous, but it's not a competition. Personally, I have always enjoyed your blog.

    For 40 years I was one of those people who never had weight issues. Then my thyroid problems started. But before when weight wasn't an issue, I had an overweight friend who was always jealous. I had to explain to her multiple times that just because I didn't gain weight didn't mean I didn't have issues with food. I was still addicted to sugar and food sometimes was just too important to me. People's bodies and metabolisms are different, but skinny people don't necessarily have more self-control.

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  8. I can totally agree with everything you said. I've had the same issues with jealousy, realizing how much of a struggle life is and letting that get in the way of realizing how blessed I am.

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  9. Thank you. Thank you for being brave enough to articulate that part of ourselves we often try to hide, or cover up. I don't know that I could have been that honest, but you were. You were brave, honest and inspirational.
    It seems to be a human default to envy, it's so lovely to see someone trying to change that default. I'm hoping to keep this post near and dear to my heart, to try, as you are to stop letting jealousy in.

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  10. 'Tis the time for contemplation for many of us, I believe. I am sure you will receive many, very many, comments telling you what you do and who you are is wonderful, and they're all telling you the truth. I know, too, that our comments are only part of the issue that you describe so thoughtfully and openly. We all struggle with doubt, though few of us are up for the challenge of facing it. My hat's off to you.

    It's funny, too, that when we write about the positive, which I know you strive to do as do I, we can get lots of criticism for bragging or wearing blinders. I love to read your posts, all of them. Thank you.

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  11. I used to really beat myself up and didn't feel like I deserved anything. It was a wake up call to realize that only *I* could stop the negative talk and thoughts. It takes time, but you can change how you thing about yourself and other things and turn it around to be positive.

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  12. Well said Carrie! How seldom it is that we take the time to count our blessings or to reflect upon the beauty of today. When I'm feeling down, I make notes in my Grateful Journal. Every sentence in the journal begins with "I'm grateful for...
    Most of my entries are similar to the things you've mentioned here...sound home, husband, cats but also, it's the the simple kindness of others. The guy who offered up his seat on the train, the traffic cop who smiled and gave a friendly wave and people like you who share and share and share. I am grateful for people like you.
    Laureen

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  13. Carrie, I just recently discovered that I am sensitive to gluten and went looking for gluten free blogs. I came upon yours 2 weeks ago. I could have never asked for a post that hit home so much for me. Thank you for being brutally honest. Thank you for sharing things that others would never admit. I look forward to reading more and trying some recipes too. Thank you!

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  14. Carrie,
    what a lovely post (and what fantastic comments!)
    your courage, your honesty and integrity are a piece of your beauty, and a big inspiration.

    And it's so easy to measure, isn't it? I won't (can't) go on klout, because I would imagine that for someone with my temperament, it would be about reaching a certain # or ranking.

    The older I get, the freer I feel in my own heart. Especially as a former type A, it's a beautiful thing.

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  15. After losing my job a few days ago, I am as well looking at myself in the mirror and intending to positively change my life.

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  16. Hello there, I just found your blog for the first time, I am a newbie to the Gluten-Free thing and your blog looks really nice. I think 17 pounds is fantastic, and not to be sniffed at - I've only just started losing rather than gaining, and anything in that direction is good!! I'm looking for nice healthy Gluten free ideas and am roasting some gorgeous in-season butternut squash with balsamic vinegar as we speak, going to put fat-free feta with it. Good luck with everything, I hope all goes well - I think you're doing a great job :)
    Emma

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Thank you for commenting on Gingerlemongirl.com. I appreciate your comments, ideas, stories, and feedback!

To send me recipes to try or for gluten free baking help, feel free to email me at gingerlemongirl (at) gmail (dot) com.

Sincerely,
Carrie

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