Thursday, May 12, 2011

On negativity as motivation…

I was going to write about how NBC’s Today Show spent an entire segment exploring the many marriages, affairs and divorces of the newly sanctified just in time for the 2012 campaign season Newt Gingrich…but then I saw this tweet.

@clairecmc I'm tired of looking and feeling fat. Maybe talking about it publicly will keep me on track as I try to be more disciplined.Off to the gym.

That’s my Senator, Claire McCaskill.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Shall we?

We all, every one of us, need to stop doing this shit.

We need to stop seeking motivation through condemnation and negativity.

We need to stop feeding that monster and we need to stop doing it about 100 years ago.

I think Senator McCaskill is being honest and I think she thinks that publicly calling herself out for having a physical appearance she doesn’t like will somehow produce enough embarrassment and “now everyone is looking at me so I’d better shrink” accountability to inspire her to start working out.

She’s going to get a bunch of tweets back telling her that she’s lovely and looks great.

She’s going to get a ton of nasty tweets taunting her about her weight and all manner of other things that nasty people enjoy taunting other folks about.

This technique may work but it also feeds that monster…that sad belief that what we hate we change, that what we get shit for we address, that what we are bullied over we’ll stop.

I once participated in an exercise where I tracked how many times and ways I said negative things about myself for a day. 

It was well over 100.

Over 100 comments about the size of my ass…my math skills…my writing…my singing voice…my dawg mothering skills…and so on and so forth.

100 opportunities wasted on negativity.

100 chances to celebrate the fact that this ass is my ass and I’m healthy for the first time in over a year…to acknowledge the fact that I’ve never encountered a math problem I didn’t ultimately solve…to enjoy writing…to sing because I love to sing and it fills my soul…to find comfort in my two dawg companions who love me just as I am.


How’s this?

I’d like to be as healthy as I can be so I’m recommitting to the things that make that possible.

I know that I’ve got the discipline to do this.

Off to carpe the diem.



David Jackmanson said...

Oh yes!

I tried motivating myself by bullying myself into not being lazy and working hard a few years ago. It sort of worked in the short term - I picked up a lot of extra shifts and worked a lot - but I nearly broke myself and my temper got worse and worse.

The trouble with being positive is it can sound and feel so wishy-washy...I find I need to tell myself things that sound strong *and* realistic.

But yeah...negativity WILL damage you.

Vesuvian Woman said...

You, Lady, are a wonder! Stay positive!! Following you makes me happy. Thoughtful intelligence and considerate sharing have a way of locating the best in people. Rock on!!!

Ann Becker-Schutte, Ph.D. said...

So grateful for Adios Barbie for sharing your post so that I could discover a new voice (and one from Missouri at that!). I'll be looking forward to reading more.


Nellie said...

Brilliant. The brain can't work with negatives (don't think about a pink elephant!). That's why they changed "don't drink and drive" (message to brain: drink and drive) to "drink responsibly." Look for the positive motivation, not more self hate.

Ashleas said...

I have this as my home page. Some days it helps, some days it doesn't. Some days I just sit and cry and feel like nothing will ever be better, that no one looks at me twice, and that I'll be alone for the rest of my life.

Those times though when the brief glint of hope shines through are wonderful.

Susie Kline said...

Thank you for this. If an accomplished woman does this to herself, we need to take a step back and worry about what drives all of us to act this way.

It's wrong. We are all better than this...

Xo susie

Kate said...

Yes! right on sister. Guys like Gingrich are still convincing themselves that much younger women find them hot and we're all wah wah wah-ing about being fat? No.

My favorite Karate Teacher used to give a horribly hard, near to point of death workout and then - just before we went to bow out - say,
"Wait, let's pause a moment and be thankful for the healthy bodies we've been given." He was in no way being ironic; this was his personality. I love that guy, AND your blog, AND both of our asses because they're fine for sitting on and walking around with and what else matters?

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