In the last few years I’ve gained weight. A lot of weight. I flip-flop between being very comfortable in my own skin and wanting to trade it in for a newer, smaller, possibly more fuel-efficient model. Perhaps that’s a subject for another blog post, though. Why I’m talking about the size of my butt is this – Gaining weight caused my feet to get bigger by a half size!
I am the proud owner of a fine collection of shoes that are simply too small for me. I have been bemoaning this for quite some time. I have been shoving my feet into shoe after shoe and sometimes enduring pain in the quest of cute shoes.
Why? Why am I doing this? It’s some sort of sick dance that keeps me from being happy and okay with myself after all. It’s a freaking shoe size! It’s not even something someone will look at and go “That’s bad for your health.” And for those of you wondering, my feet are (amusingly enough) now a very average size 9. They have by no means grown to clown-shoe proportions, and really the only thing I should be whining about is the fact that all the good shoes are sold out by the time I get to the sale.
Then this evening I had a little moment of clarity – Something I’ve seemed to be lacking in lately. As I was grumping to myself about finally getting the point of giving up on discomfort and donating my old shoes to those that can get some actual use out of them, I had a thought cross my mind. I paused, took a deep breath, and suddenly I found the words “My growing feet just mean more of me can touch the Earth as I walk on it.”
Pardon my language, but I feel as if I’ve just gotten a spiritual bitch-slap from the Goddess herself! Just a little reminder that I need to stop fretting over the things that don’t really matter so I may focus on the things that actually do. Don’t we all? But how many of us practice mindfulness to the point of being able to do so? When we get into a cycle of worrying do we even notice that we are doing so? Can we make a point to recognize what we are doing and stop?
I work retail currently. The other day a customer informed me, in a rather nasty manner, that I needed to be friendlier. I allowed it to ruin my entire day and the next it was still bothering me. You see, I pride myself on being friendly and cheerful no matter what at work. I might be on my very last nerve and in blinding pain, but I smile, laugh, and carry on to a point that the first time I was snarky (a good nine months after starting my job there) my co-workers expressed shock.
I call it my “rat reaction.” You see, when rats aren’t feeling well and are suddenly feeling threatened, they act completely fine. If you poke at a sick rat, it’s going to appear not to be sick anymore. If you tick me off at work, I’m going to act even more chipper and cheerful than before. That’s what I get paid to do, and I typically get glowing compliments from customers on my attitude.
Anyway, the thought that someone thought I wasn’t being friendly basically ruined my life for a couple days. Now I can laugh about it, but at the time it was serious business.
To get to the point, if I would have actually been paying attention to my thoughts and worries, I doubt it would have gotten to me quite as badly as it did. If I was actually practicing mindfulness, I could have redirected my thoughts to things that really matter. Because honestly one person’s passing opinion of me doesn’t really matter. I’m not in control of what others think of me despite my best efforts at mind control. I also highly doubt that over dinner the woman was thinking of how “unfriendly” I was to her.
I have bigger, better things to worry about. Putting my prayers and good thoughts out there into the world. Applications for college. Making sure I remember to eat and am getting enough sleep. Being able to recognize when I’ve got too much on my plate and figuring out how to balance it so I don’t crash. And so on; and so forth.
I shouldn’t be shoving my feet into shoes that are too small. I shouldn’t be fretting over my feet getting bigger. And I definitely shouldn’t be worried about what other people think of me.
My new strategy is attempting to recognize when these things are running through my mind. My feet getting bigger just means that I can touch more the Earth as I walk. A genuine smile can change a stranger’s day. Mindfulness truly is an important part of the puzzle that is happiness.
(And yes, dear readers, I am back after my hiatus. I have much to write about – A growing list even! But don’t expect much for another week or so because I have a vacation to take. And Blogger? Your “improvements” to the post editor makes my computer freeze to the point that I wanted to chuck it out the window. Boo.)