Tag Archives: self-esteem

The First Step in the Fight Against Obesity

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Obesity's Negative Effects

Obesity’s Negative Effects

By now, many of us are inwardly responding with “blah, blah, blah” when we hear all the hype about the epidemic of obesity. We see it all around us in our daily lives because obesity is one of those disorders that is out there in plain sight. It is worn out for the world to see.

There is a strong emotional component to obesity that often gets less attention because of how at risk an obese person’s health becomes. But prior to all the physical harm which takes its toll over time, there is the teasing and taunting and the battering of self-esteem and of self-regard. There is the endless inner berating that comes from wondering ‘what is wrong with me?’ ‘why can’t I control myself?’ ‘why can’t I be more like everybody else?’ ‘why am I so broken?’

It doesn’t take rocket science to realize the detrimental impact this type of self talk does to a person’s sense of worth and esteem. Not only does this cause the emotional torment, but where is a person who has turned to food for emotional reasons in the past going to go when they feel emotionally battered? Right back to the food, their solace; their safe haven. And so the cycle continues.

According to present-day research, there are more than 90.5 million (that’s MILLION) Americans who meet the medical diagnosis of obesity. 12.5 million are children. THAT is why there is so much talk about the obesity epidemic. The research proving the connection between obesity and increased heart problems and diabetes is overwhelmingly indisputable.

Spending Money

Spending Money

The out of pocket costs of obesity are insane, justifying in excess of $3 million dollars annually for celebrity endorsements of major weight-loss programs. But the macro concern is that of health costs of obesity to insurances and the government. Predictive costs are through the ceiling and needless to say, that gets people’s attention.

I have to wonder, how many people who suffer from being overweight keep track of what they eat during the day. Although there are so many different plans and programs available, I don’t think any one of them works more effectively than mindful accountability.

Taking Baby Steps

Taking Baby Steps

None of us is being force fed. We are eating because we choose to eat. And while economics play a huge factor in the healthfulness of the types of food we can afford, the portions can always be smaller. We don’t have to eat as much today as we did yesterday and for many of us, that can be the first step to taking control back over something that we have given up control to.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

Being good enough….

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“If you can’t tolerate making the slightest mistake, if you constantly focus on negatives and strive to eliminate each and every one of them—or if you set your goals so high that you almost never feel capable of reaching them—then you’re afflicted with the self-defeating malady of perfectionism. And an additional problem caused by such a dysfunctional mode of functioning involves a strong tendency to procrastinate. For you’ll hesitate tackling anything you fear you won’t be able to do perfectly. Endlessly obsessing about doing things just right, your neurotically distorted perspective leads you to lose sight of critical matters regarding such things as timing, appropriateness, and efficiency.”  

See link: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201310/how-do-you-know-whats-good-enough

You may also look at Winnicott’s ideas about ‘good enough mothering’.  Though Winnicott is discussing quite different issues here, it nonetheless has some interesting associations for the development of children…and the fostering of relationships. 

The Significance of Needs

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I was introduced early to the concept of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and have been fascinated by it ever since. This fits my ISTJ love of
English: Diagram showing the hierarchy of need...

English: Diagram showing the hierarchy of needs based on Abraham Maslow’s theories in the 1950s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

categories, definitions and boundaries. It’s akin to my appreciation for personality tests as the categories are helpful to explain and understand observable features of people and life.

The hierarchy is based on the fact that humans have needs, and the most fundamental of these needs is represented by the first level of the hierarchy often displayed as a pyramid. There are various models of the hierarchy.

The four basic needs represented by the pyramid are:

  • Physiological needs
  • Safety
  • Love and belonging
  • (Some models add esteem needs here)
  • Self-actualization

Only when the lower levels are met can you concern yourself with the higher levels. For example, no matter how much you may want to contemplate your identity or the meaning of life, you may not be able to pursue this (let alone ask this) if you spend most of your time hungry and  all your energy is devoted to finding food. Only when you’ve met one type of need will you be able to move on to meet the higher level need.

Thus it has been theorized that people in the West are able to dedicate resources for building universities and libraries and live a life of learning because we tend to be well fed and clothed. Our worries won’t be about not having enough to eat so we are free to worry about things like what we look like and what job we should get.

On the other hand, people living in poverty don’t have this chance to ‘find out who they are’ or search for meaning in life because they’re too busy just trying to survive.

Perhaps part of social justice is allowing all people to not only have access to clean water and nutritious food but to be able to contemplate life and the more philosophical questions.

Or perhaps, this is just a horribly ethnocentric view. Perhaps people fighting for survival also think about the big questions of life and perhaps they have better answers than those in the West. Perhaps being able to read books and ask questions all day isn’t an ideal all people should be striving for.

Either way, I know I value thinking about the big questions and being able to do so without fear of where my next meal will come from. I enjoy it and part of me feels I need to pursue it too.

The hierarchy also suggests that if these four needs aren’t met in a person, they will (if not physically suffer) mentally suffer in terms of experiencing anxiety and frustration. I know I feel this mental tension and it’s part of the drive for The Cognitive Life and all my writing, and reading and learning.

While there are criticisms of the hierarchy, I see some validity in the theory and can take what is helpful and useful while being aware of its limitations.

There are other versions of the hierarchy of needs and this is one I found relevant.

While all stages are part of me, I think I must currently predominantly be at the ‘need to know and understand’ stage while aiming for those higher levels at the pinnacle of the pyramid and continuing to assess the lower levels.

Where are you?

Game Theory in Society: Playing Not To Lose

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Game Theory in Society: Playing Not To Lose

When you are 16 there is no fear whatsoever. As you get older you play in more important games and that is when you start thinking about what will happen if you win or lose. ~Wayne Rooney

Current educational systems within society work to divorce the child from his or her natural will, whether that is curiosity or wonder or innocence. An educational system structured on nurturing and nourishing these aspects of humanity work to reunite humans with their connection to nature, animals and their mammal-ness. To become again a human being, rather than a “cog in the wheel” or “gear in the machine” felt by many in current society, and what was beget by the likes of John B. Watson, Frederick Taylor, Ayn Rand and Edward Bernays.

Chess PawnThe educational system does not seem to be interested in providing paths inviting introspection or comprehension of theory of mind or even learning as a means to understanding. Education seems to have only a vested interest in preservation of funding, rote and memorization, grade fulfillment, bicameral thinking (linear grade promotion, success or failure, pass or fail, etc), homogeneous conditioning, etc. Frankly, this does not work and merely churns out workers, rather than evolving society/humanity as a whole. I mean, with current access of technology, shouldn’t this system be a lot farther along; instead, today’s educational system, for the most part, works against technology, rather than with it (however, this is slowly changing).

The educational system is but one part of the systematic deconstruction of human will, therefore, it becomes naturally normal humans will treat one another with impunity come what may and never change because such level of rudeness and offense is now hardwired into the human brain (socialization). Can this be changed? Even if an educational system built upon nourishing and nurturing, self-efficacy rather than self-esteem, ultimately, the change lies in the receiver of the tool (in the student), but that the instruments exist in the first place, that they are available to be utilized freely is an element of that change. In this way, the means to evolve can pass into legacy, can pass into the collective consciousness, if you will, available to any found wanting. Today’s child, even if he or she takes but a little from such teaching, may trigger a subtle reverberation within that causes him or her to behave differently in an otherwise routine circumstance. In this way, the “gene” can be inherited, and then improved in the next generation.

Playing Not To Lose

Fan FlourishToday’s systemic educational system supports and reinforces human suffering (for the supposed greater good, and that greater good is really the continued protection of what has become an extremely insecure society). You see, it is a form of game theory. We are playing not for profit, or even to win, but not to lose. Not to lose is a third option, that is to say, not an opposite of winning. But a third option, along with winning and losing. To play not to lose, is to risk the possibility of winning and to avoid any chance at all of losing. Applied to society, we have become comfortable in not losing anything, which seems like a better alternative. This is an illusion. To play not to lose would beget suffering, as one becomes so intent on making sure the status quo remains intact that any opportunity to change one’s station in life (however that may be) is discarded due to fear that one may lose everything one has “worked so hard,” up until now, to possess (which of course would be measured in the value placed in things, or the value placed in being allowed privilege of access to things, i.e., money. That is money as social institution, rather than a utility). This can make us bitter, and leads to suffering, fighting, and acts of violence, etc. How to stop this kind of behavior? How to end human suffering? At least, breed it out? Realization, or a precursor, the means to embark upon a journey to realization. Social systems (the forefront, to be honest, for human conditioning—conditioning not in the indoctrination sense, but in the sense of humanity, the natural state of human being-ness) would have to reflect that kind of philosophy.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on NIKOtheOrb as “Education In An Insecure Society”]

*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Chess Pawn” by Doug Wheller
“Fan Flourish” by Marcelo Duarte
“Dice” by Daniel Dionne

 

Men are STILL on Mars

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Battle of the Sexes

Battle of the Sexes

It is 2013! We are supposed to be progressive and current and trendy, right? So tell me, why did a very recent study show that men’s subconscious self-esteem drop significantly based on the level of success or failure of their female partner?

Shy on earth should a well-established man of the 21st century feel threatened enough to let it impact how they feel about themselves, if the woman in their life succeeds or not? Maybe I’m missing something there but are we still involved in a battle of the sexes in which women need to prove that they are worthy of being able to fail or succeed independently of having an impact on their personal relationship.

Being more than 10 years into the 21st century, I would hope that gender prejudices don’t play a starring role in personal relationships, but based on a new study men may not really feel very good when their wives or girlfriends succeed. In fact, the study, which appeared in a recent American Psychological Association publication reported that men’s self-esteem is damaged when they find their spouse or girlfriend excels; whether the area is in competition with them or not.

I’m perplexed because I cannot relate to this but the study goes on to explain that women don’t feel this type of negativity toward themselves when their male counterpart succeeds. To me, I would feel happy and proud and want to encourage their further success. But men reported feeling threatened by their girlfriends even when it wasn’t a matter of outperforming. According to Kate Ratliff, PhD, of the University of Florida, and the study’s lead author, “this research found evidence that men automatically interpret a partner’s success as their own failure, even when they’re not in direct competition.”

The study was performed with 896 people in five separate experiments. The experiments measured explicit self-esteem and implicit self esteem; how respondents said they felt and then subconsciously how they felt about their partners’ performance.

Men Vs. Women

Men Vs. Women

Many times, male respondents reported or said they felt fine, even when they believed their romantic partner was successful. However, the results of the test of implicit self-esteem revealed very much otherwise.

Although I am not feeling great to learn about this very different reaction – something that more than likely will come up in some way in my personal relationship at some point; I feel as if my reaction is very predictable and ‘normal’ for a women.

Struggling Couple

Struggling Couple

I can’t help but get mentally drawn back to the image I used to get when my grandmother lovingly ‘warned’ me when she met my husband to be. She told me then that men don’t like losing to a girl and she advised me not to do my best if we went bowling or anything like that where I had the opportunity to better him. I guess, even after all these years, Granny knew what she was talking about.

Hopefully understanding how different and wide the gap between men and women are when it comes to something like this can help us prepare to bridge it and work on narrowing the differences.

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Article: “Gender Differences in Implicit Self-Esteem Following a Romantic Partner’s Success or Failure,” Kate A. Ratliff, PhD, University of Florida, and Shigehiro Oishi, PhD, University of Virginia; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, online Aug. 5, 2013.

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office and at Full Text Article.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

How to spot disorder: Is your ego being inflated?

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How To Spot Disorder: Is Your Ego Being Inflated? Run.

16AUG201310 Comments

by theabilitytolove in Uncategorized Tags: ,

     I pontificate a lot about a ‘genuine’ recovery. I’ve gone into what that means. So I’m going into this a little more because I experienced an attempt by a disordered one trying to infiltrate with their little tentacles out, ready to claw into my soul. NOPE. Not going there.

The reason that a psychopath, sociopath or narcissist is able to get into your life and down your pants so fast to seal the deal is ego inflation. Who doesn’t like to be told that they’re wonderful, right?
imageI think we make ‘nice’ of the reasons our disordered ones were allowed into our lives and I see this when page admins ‘lure’ survivors, when describing what happened: “He exploited all of your GOOD qualities! Bastard! He saw all the GOOD in you and that’s why you were targeted! Yes, he took all of those GOOD things about you, your POOR THING and exploited them for his OWN benefit!” I’m exaggerating this of course, but it’s irritating when I see it. It’s also questionable because it doesn’t feel honest to me.

Recovery is the greatest opportunity you will ever have in getting to know yourself, warts and all.

Well, what they say is only half true. He took your ‘good’ qualities and elevated it to rock star status. Healthy people do not need this kind of ego stroking and healthy people do not need to ego stroke in this way either.

imageAny abuser, whether it’s a disordered one or not, knows that you’re probably not going to date him if he’s throwing you up against walls and down stairs, or twisting your arm, or devaluing you and calling you names, right?

That’s only logical, but with a disordered one, they study you, they do it through Google searches, your face book page, and they will even create fake profiles and message your friends, claiming to be an old friend of the past and that they want to surprise you but need a little more info, and of course, friends willingly do this without exercising any caution on your behalf with privacy. They are really good at getting information on you, your friends and out of you, with all of that ego boosting, you fill in all the blanks.

So he takes all of this and gets out his ego inflating machine and turns on the air attached to your ego…pump, pump. pump. . . and soon enough, there is enough air in that ego that you’re literally swooning. This is how the disordered creates the mirroring that you’re experiencing, that intense high. It is unrealistic and it is dangerous because NO ONE is that special.

But this is also something that you need to be mindful of in recovery. It’s been really interesting talking to women who are emotionally healthy in ego. What I’ve found consistently with all of them, is that not only do they have a healthy self esteem (ego) but they are also highly aware of their darker sides, their vulnerabilities, so when they’ve experienced targeting in their dating lives, they are able to see the disordered one readily because the over the top flattery and ego inflation looks completely ridiculous to them. They recognize it for what it is,extreme manipulation through ego boosting. It is incredibly distorted and that’s because IT IS.

imageSurvivors can become very defensive about this and it’s frustrating to me when working with them too. I give clear examples of what it means to look at yourself completely, with a great deal of humility and transparency in recovery. It is UNPLEASANT, but ironically, looking at the behaviors, attitudes, poor self esteem, low/no boundaries, mistakes, choices, SETS YOU FREE TO EMBRACE YOUR HUMANITY, and this will be the very thing that will protect you against  targeting from anyone in the future. It keeps your feet on the ground and centered securely in reality, because the psychopath’s love bombing is anything but that, it is fantasy.

The individual love bombing me, was of course, appealing to my ‘great writing’! It’s always nice to be appreciated for the work I do. Sometimes I feel down because it doesn’t feel appreciated so much, but that’s an area of LOW self esteem and not valuing myself.

We all have a human desire to be appreciated for our gifts and who we are. This IS natural and it’s perfectly okay too. I let my friends know often, that they are special to me, and that their friendships or  personal gifts mean a lot to me. A compliment or appreciation given when taken in context and combining the WHOLE person, someone you know well, can really make someone’s day brighter, especially if they’re having a rough time. This is the good stuff.

But when someone is ego inflating me, putting me into ‘rock star’ status with my writing, and continuing on with what a great person I am,  I know I’m being fed bullshit. There are times when I’m asked questions, where the questions in and of themselves are an attempt to inflate my ego with my knowledge about the disorders. At other times, I’m offered other ‘gifts’ that are clearly an attempt to exploit.

I know that my writing is ‘okay’, but I’m no Ernest Hemingway, or Claudia Moscovici! I’m realistic about it, with a level of humility when it comes to my work, where I strive for balance and this helps me to recognize ‘rock star’ status immediately and to ignore it.

At the same time, there are survivors who write to me and tell me that the blog has literally saved their lives with the information they’ve read here. I don’t see that as ‘love bombing’. When someone is grateful to you for your giving to others,it is not the same as the disordered one holding the ego inflater pump. As with everything else when discussing pathological people, it is in the EXTREME. There is a balance. Again, compliments are really nice, but flattery is a major red flag.

I think this part of recovery in acknowledging that the psychopath was allowed into our lives is hard, not because we felt good about ourselves or that our good qualities were exploited, but because we didn’t feel good about ourselves, we didn’t have healthy boundaries and we weren’t aware of our darker sides or vulnerabilities. I know this stuff is incredibly difficult to come to terms with because it already feels like such an injustice with all the pain we are feeling and with what the psychopath appeared to have ‘gotten away with’. It’s hard to admit that in reality, we were duped.

I’m not responsible for any of my psychopaths abuse. But I am responsible now for working on myself genuinely and deeply, so that this never, ever happens to me again and I know how to respond when I’m targeted.

The most dangerous phase of any relationship with a psychopath is the love bombing stage. It is the stage filled with the most deceit, the most ego inflation. This stage is critical to any disordered one approaching you, and the idea is to completely destroy you. Your future destruction by a disordered one is not going to happen without your willing participation. And THAT is not going to happen unless the psychopath can successfully exploit your low self esteem, boundaries and vulnerabilities and the tendency to FANTASY through ego inflation.

Change in recovery, includes rebuilding from a foundation of authenticity about ourselves. Positive and negative behaviors. Building self esteem, boundaries and most especially self awareness of yourself and your humanity, is what a genuine recovery entails. There is nothing more devastating to create a rock bottom than a strategically destructive psychopath.

The psychopath shows us all the wounds we need to heal.

Ego inflation, in my opinion, is the number one way to spot disorder. If you see this, don’t doubt. RUN.

Onward and upward.

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