acting vs. reacting

So, after sitting down and thinking a bit, I realized that I have to do something in regards to letting go of My baggage. I think alot of us carry baggage and we may not even realize it. But when we don't deal with the emotional issues behind our eating, it leads to things like binging. Or for others, alcohol or drug abuse (trying to numb pain), cutting (trying to feel pain, or anything), promiscuity (trying to feel loved), acting out to get attention (trying to stem loneliness)or shutting people out so they don't get hurt (ahem....guilty). None of these are acceptable by societies standards, none of these are 'Good things to Do".
Somehow in our society, we have set up a hierarchy of acceptable vices. Shopping (filling a void), being thin to the point of emaciation (anorexia) (wants control over SOMETHING, the weight it is), watching T.V. and playing video games for hours (leaving the life you inhabit for a while), excessive people pleasing (fear of not being liked), acquiring as much wealth as one can stuff in (this is about control, and filling a void and the need to feel safe)...In America, these are all acceptable outlets for past pain. All of these things are symptoms of some problem or other. But society doesn't deal with them as such. I think this is why some overweight people go from obese to anorexic, it's just a more socially acceptable form of self immolation. But, in the end...it didn't solve the weight problem, it just created a new one.
What I am talking about here is acting vs. reacting.
I don't know about you, but I think I can count on one hand the number of times that I have acted deliberately to change my life. 1.) I chose to get married 2.) I chose to have children 3.) I chose to home school my kids 4.) I chose to lose weight.
Joining the army was a result of having no other plan, or way out of where I was living.
Almost everything else in my life has been a reaction to someone Else's actions.
Going to college for me wasn't a quest for self improvement, it was a reaction to a deteriorating marriage and my need to make sure I could take care of myself. It was fear based, not a rational decision. The rational decision would have been to work on my marriage. Now I am stuck with student loans and no degree to speak of. (Now this did help me with math for my oldest.) They say education is never wasted but that isn't the point, the point is: How many of my decisions, and your decisions, are based in action instead of reaction? Are you charting your own course or are you letting others chart it for you? Sometimes there are no choices or very limited ones, I understand that. I've been there on numerous occasions. The only other self help book I would recommend besides the bible, is the seven habits of highly effective people. It's all about being proactive and thinking things through, running your life or instead of having it run you.
That is why weight loss is so hard. Every single thing we do throughout the day requires us to act in a new way, instead of react in the old way. Every bite of food is a deliberate act. Every walk or exercise time is a deliberate act of the will. Think of it as driving down the highway of life at eighty and then trying to turn on a dime and go in a new direction...not a highway, but a choked over lane with downed trees, ruts, and wrong turns, along with mislabeled road signs. The highway is easy, we have been there before...this lane is ridiculous, what we don't see is at the end of that road is a new highway with alot better scenery. All along that lane you will have people either cheering you on, or telling you that you can't do it, some will change the signs and misdirect you, others will hand you a map. The great thing about this lane is that you have slowed down long enough to be able to tell whether or not the people you thought were cheering you on were waiving or flipping you the bird.
My first action last night was to decide to write one last letter to hwsnbn. I wrote one about eight years ago, I lanced a bunch of boils with that letter. It was an angry, condemning, nasty letter. Any you bet your sweet bippy I felt awesome after I wrote it. It let out of lot of pain. I finally got to answer back. Now I need to write a letter forgiving him. And trust me, he doesn't feel sorry. I am doing this for me. It's time to set down my self righteous anger, accept that I can't change my past, accept that he will never feel sorry and realize I don't need him to. I am not sure how I will feel afterwards, this is a heck of alot more ambiguous than hate mail. But it's a good first step, and it's an action instead of a reaction.
I hope you all had a great day. I love to read your comments and love to hear your ideas, or just feelings. I hope you all are doing really well and that your acting, not reacting.


Losing it in Vegas said...

Very deep, and so true. I hope your letter gives you the feeling you need.

I write letters all the time. I rarely mail them. But it fulfills my need, and it works for me

Sean said...

Hey, thank you very much for the support. I also happen to think that that Jason Mraz song sounds a lot like reggae. Thanks for adding me to your roll. I've been having some computer problems, which is why I haven't posted for a few days. I think its back up and running again, so I should be good to go. Thanks again.

Sean said...

Wow, awesome post. Good luck moving on, I know that can be extremely difficult. Sounds like The 7 Habits is a book I should read, thanks for the tip.

Hanlie said...

Ah yes, when I look back at my life so far, I see a series of reactions and nudges in one direction or the other. Very few of my life events have been active decisions. Is it any wonder sometimes that we feel cheated?

This is probably why I am kind of in limbo career-wise right now. I know what I don't want to do, which just happens to be the path of least resistance, but I am still figuring out what I want to do and how I can achieve that. I will not allow anybody to push me in any direction again...

Good post! Well done for lancing those boils.

Tara Stevens said...

what a great post, really thought-provoking

writing your thoughts down is very cathartic but I shy away from it as I'm so quick to react... I'm a total reactionary... my fingers type as fast as I think and I'm prone to writing horrible thoughtless things when there's angry exchanges being had

that book sounds great, the 7 habits, might have to get that one... as for the other one - well, I'm taking my other half to Alpha at the the end of this month so let's see how that goes :-)

TJ :-)

My Big Fat Super Super Obese Blog said...

So true. Wow, I never thought about this in my own life. How many decisions I've made in reaction to something else in my life. I'll be pondering this some more today.