Thursday, August 29, 2013

FAT Expectations

Do you have fat expectations?  I know I do.  When the sky is the limit, do you have expectations of yourself, of your family, of those around you and do you hold everything to a higher standard?

Previously, I have touched upon how many of us have such high expectations of ourselves, including myself and here we are again.  Many people have chastised me <ack, the horror!> and they have instructed me to cut myself some slack.  My knee-jerk reaction is always, “If I don’t hold myself to the highest expectations, then who will?”

Reflection has allowed me the opportunity to trace some of my Type A+++++++++++ personality and my “need to exceed” back to my childhood.  My parents, namely my dad, set the bar very high for me and all that I was to accomplish.  I am the by-product of a second marriage for both parents and my much older siblings made quite a few mistakes along the way (as did my parents); so my parents were determined to get it “right” with their baby.  Yes, there are many memories of when I complimented myself for a job well done, and yet, I recall my father telling me I could do better. 

“You got an A- on your report card?  I want that to be an A+!”  I questioned my father’s irrationality with an angry and frustrated, “What MORE do you want from me?”  Funny that I now use this irrationality in my own head towards myself, and yet, I never question myself, “What MORE do you want from me?”

Sure, all the trials I have experienced in my life catapult me at warp speed into the whole fat expectations thing– remember how I lost my hearing young (What Did You Say?), remember how I battled cancer while pregnant (Rebirth), remember how I dealt with an abusive mother (RIP Mom)?  I am just USED to surpassing expectations and limitations.

But what happens when I do not meet nor exceed my expectations? 


I am fat.  Yes, please do not argue and shake your head that I am not.  I weigh much more than any one of you could even guess for a million dollar prize.  I am not ready to publicly disclose that overweight number to you all yet, no way José – I am still a girl and I have waaaaaaay too much pride.  However, you know you are fat when the nurse at the doctor’s office always remarks on how well you hide your weight. 


The first counter argument I get when I call myself fat is:  “But you are so fit!”  Am I fit?  Yes, I am getting there.  I am incredibly strong, but I struggle with my favorite form of exercise – running.  I enjoy the down time I get from running:  no kids, loud music, beautiful scenery, and a chance to try and turn off my mind.  However, because of my aforementioned need to exceed, my head games often put me in a dark place.

Wait?  What?  Happy go-lucky, smiley me?  I do go to dark places?  Unfortunately, that dark place is IN my head.  Remember "Gremlins" (Meet Spike)?  Sometimes, instead of relishing all that my body CAN do, I focus on all that I *think* my body cannot do.

“Come on, move your fat ass!”

“If you weren’t so heavy, your runs would be faster and your body would not hurt as much!”

“If you took better care of yourself when your children were really young, you wouldn’t be this pathetically overweight right now.”

“If you chose to deal with your emotional problems when your parents lived with you, instead of finding comfort in food or drink, you would be that much further ahead of the game!”

“Stop making excuses.  Just suck it up and do it.  No one has ever died from trying too hard.”

The excuses:  They go on and on and on and on and on in my noggin.  My need to set goals for myself is not unlike goals that many of you set for yourselves.  However, my desire to not only meet said goals I have arranged, but surpass my own expectations often results in a crippling mind-game and I am deflated.

Why?  Why are some of us pre-programmed and hard-wired to be so upset when we do not meet our own objectives?  Why does a bad run on one day completely derail me?  Why does it feel like it has to be all or nothing in the land of Rebecca? 

Is it really difficult to be in a “happy place” and just go with the flow?  People ask me why I beat myself up or why I am so hard on myself.  In my mind, I am not that hard on myself.  Truth is I find it motivational most of the time, but I do not know how to handle it when I go to that dark place.  I am the EXPERT at helping YOU when you are facing something similar and I can offer great words of advice.  However, I fail to take my own medicine.  Regularly.

I know that my husband struggles when his day does not go quite as expected.  I find that my oldest is genetically hard-wired like her Momma and gets frustrated when her performance is not up to her own level of pre-determined excellence.   <Smack….ouch…..nothing like a bit of your behavior with a mirror-like reflection from your own offspring.>

My question to you, is this simply a bad “habit” that can be unplugged and re-circuited?  Is this need to exceed an addiction or compulsion?  Is setting the bar so high a bad thing?  Perhaps, identifying large goals for oneself is a basic life lesson in learning how to cope.

What are your thoughts?  Do you struggle with something similar?  How do you manage?  I cannot be the only one out tell me!



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