Topics dealing with mental health, grief, relationships and the sole reliance on trusting God.
All articles are written by Debra Pasquella.
What Do You See in the Mirror?
Truthfully, who can say that they're happy all the time? It's impossible living in this world and being blissful 24/7---but I do believe we can make our situations a little better. I've heard everything from, "I wish I was thinner," "I wish I had more money," "I wish I could get a better job," "I wish my spouse would change"---I wish I wish I wish. Start with the basics: what do you have? What are you grateful for. Just start there for a moment. Each morning while I pray and meditate, I list off at least five things that I'm grateful for, and then it turns out to be more than ten. I'm grateful for my health, my restful night's sleep, the food on my table, the roof over my head, even running water---some people have no water! I spoke to a friend who had undergone weight loss surgery. She lost a total of 150 lbs. And while this was to better her health, body, mind and soul, somehow, she was still unhappy. She thought, "Well, if I was thinner I'd be much healthier and happier." But what happened was, the extra skin from being overweight was loose and had to be tucked into her pants. She was uncomfortable, and she was ashamed of what she looked like. She even complained about looking twenty years older. During a conversation we had, she said,"I wasn't this unhappy when I was bigger!" She still doesn't want to look at herself in the mirror or wear something that reveals her arms or legs. I know beautiful women who are a size two who think they're fat and ugly. They look in the mirror and see something totally different than what other people see.
When will we ever be happy with ourselves? It's a proven fact that when somebody hates the way they look or feel, it will show outwardly in terms of their behavior. Oddly enough, there's a study which shows that most women who are unhappy with themselves are usually those who are desirably thinner who have symmetrical facial features, which society deems as beautiful. But they don't see this. They internalize their misery, sometimes bringing forth a bitter attitude, or a false sense of pride---appearing to be confident when in fact, they're more insecure than the plus size woman at the end of the bar laughing with her friends. Every woman becomes a threat to this "perfect woman" and every partner she has will feel the wrath of her jealousy.
Coming to terms with loving yourself is one of the most beautiful features someone can have. Confidence is sexy. And I'm not speaking about being arrogant and conceited---I'm talking about being confident enough to laugh at yourself, to make others laugh, to enjoy life without jealousy, without anger, without the chip on your shoulder. I know someone very close to me who is such a beautiful woman. Her insecurities run deep, and with that, her tortured soul seems to torture those who either don't agree with her, look at her the wrong way, or perhaps, find her on a day when she's just not in a good mood. You always have to walk on eggshells around her. Trying to contact her is like a box of chocolates.... you can finish the rest of that sentence. But if you look deeper, you'll start to understand some of the madness. They'll never ask, "Hey, how are you," with true sincerity. They'll proverbially vomit all of their life's happenings and success stories on you. The agony that one goes through when they obsess over their looks, especially if they're hitting a certain age, is just frightening. Embrace yourself, because looks will fade after time and we all have to make peace with our new selves after some time.
But why not make peace with who we are and how we look now? If God made us so perfectly, then why don't we believe that? Some of the features we dislike about ourselves may be the one feature that someone falls in love with. There's this beautiful young mix-raced woman, named Natasha Culzac, who was extremely insecure about her freckles. She was also insecure growing up and even tried to bleach out her freckles, which ultimately made her a famous supermodel. Check out her video. If you have trouble viewing the video below, click here.
Let me even take it a step further. I know that many people who are so self-conscious about their weight are fearful about health ramifications, and rightfully so. Being overweight or obese can lead to diabetes, heart problems and joint issues. But even if you're seemingly "fit"---you also. may get diabetes, heart problems and joint issues. See, nothing guarantees perfect health in this life. I remember while growing up, my dad's friends would look at him in disgust saying, "Charlie! You gotta lose that weight, you're not gonna make it to 50." He made it to 50, 60, 70 and 75---the life expectancy of an average man. And while they meant well, because let's face it, 400 lbs is pretty big---my dad outlived everyone who told him to lose weight. Weird fact? They were younger than him! And don't get me wrong, my dad had health issues due to smoking, which ultimately led to cancer. But he didn't die because of his weight. My uncle who was 30 years old ate nothing but vegetables and lean meats. He wouldn't touch my mother's delicious Italian food, in fear that it would be high in cholesterol (which he was right.) But he died of a heart attack at the age of 30. My point is: nothing---nothing guarantees perfect health. Why are we obsessing over how other people live their lives. Some people who are overweight seem to have genetic components. People who disagree with this and say, "Well, they're in the same household so they eat the same junk," have never looked into the bigger picture. There was a show about lost loved ones. And this one girl wanted to meet her siblings. They never met before, because her biological mother gave her up at birth because she was too young to have a child. Long story short: the entire family all held the same shape and size. They also lived across the country from one another. Many people are just predestined to be overweight. Yes they can lose the weight, but at a much difficult attempt, which is why so many end up gaining it back to their original shape. But it all depends. Each person is different.
But why obsess?
Why can't we learn to like what we see in the mirror? I honestly never wanted to be anybody else. I was always happy with 'me'---flaws and all---extra cushion, even if it meant plus size. I just wanted to be able to be active, feel good and admiringly, fit into a nice pair of jeans without them being "mom jeans." I'd rather wear elastic if that happens. But I can laugh at it, and not fall into a pit of depression because I gained an extra 5-10 lbs. I've chosen to eat healthier because I like the benefits of a low carb diet, which makes your skin look healthier and also sets your gut health into full gear. Your gut health is all about your immunity. I just want to feel good "today." Let's start there. I want to avoid the flu, stomach issues, GERD, inflammation---so I eat certain things so that I can feel good "today." What I desire most in life is to be around good people who make me laugh. I want to help others if I can and make a difference in this world. I know that if God loves me, then that is all that matters. If God made me perfectly, then I should be grateful for my health and the ability to make it to the age of 44. I want to leave something behind when I go back home to God. I want to leave something that will outlast my life. This is why I write. This is why I broadcast. This is also why I leave my recipes behind. Those recipes and all of the cooking I've done throughout my life brought friends and family together. Isn't that what life's all about? Togetherness? Laughter? Food? Fun? Experiencing all of your passions in life? Making your work your passion? Because let's face it---if you love what you do for a living, it no longer becomes "work."
Why judge other people?
There's a whole other type of insecurity that runs rampant in our society, and that's the ability to have a high profile career or be someone of importance. Some people are judged for working their tails off at a grocery store, or custodial work and some even judged for being a stay-at-home mom or housewife. Unless you are lying on the sofa eating Bon Bons all day, then that's a whole other can-o-beans. The typical housewife or stay-at-home mom does more labor intensive work than the average customer service rep or sales associate. Many new mothers actually shorten their maternity leave to go back to work due to the intensity of being home with their newborns. You can even Google that fact! I've seen it with my own eyes.
The other day I was talking to my friend on FaceTime as she watched me cook my chicken soup----which is a three hour extravaganza. She was making comments like, "Why are you doing all that?" "Why do you have to blend the vegetable together?" "Why are you chopping all of that?" I laughed and said, "I know, right? I should get paid for this!" So she looked up what a housewife income should be and it said, $143,000.00! Although I work from home writing and editing, I am also a proud housewife and love to shop for groceries, prepare healthy meals for my other half and bring friends and family over for delicious dinners. I think it's important that someone in the home is the 'domestic goddess' so to speak---the one that's more nurturing and can whip up an elegant dinner at the last minute, while she folds your clothes. I love the traditional roles of a household and have a passion for it. So when somebody judges me, I always wonder about their level of inner peace. I remember someone said to me at a Christmas party, "So when are you getting a real job?" I just looked at them and asked, "Did that make you feel better about yourself?" Miserable people love throwing psychological projections on those who 'seem' to be happier. I'm not happy all the time, but I have to say, I am very content with who I am, what I do and who I love. I feel very blessed for that alone. I was miserable working for IBM in a beautiful office doing accounting and making more money. It sucked the life-force out of me. Many people can do it, but that kind of job wasn't for me. So I decided to do what's best for me.
Never let anybody discourage you or judge you. Never let somebody's own unhappiness destroy your inner peace. The Bible says that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, and he will use miserable people to try and make you feel bad about yourself. Hurt people hurt. We need to be around more people who uplift and edify us---not tear us down. And remember---whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you. They're just trying to pull you into their own misery. Ah, misery loves company as they say. Pray for them. Don't even respond to their psychological projection. Smile and walk away. Keep in mind that God made you PERFECTLY and your lot in this life is purposeful. There are times when many of us wonder if we even have a purpose. I have. Even if you're unsure, know that God has a plan for you, plans for a future and a hope. You're not here to just take up space, but I have learned this: life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. The devil wants you to shrink back and become a recluse; fearful and timid. Every morning I pray to become courageous---to overcome the anxiety and fear---to even become dangerously courageous. Sometimes I'm doing all I can do make that happen, while other times, I feel a little weaker than other days---and that's OK. Pray pray pray. The more you pray the stronger you become, because God gives us the strength to overcome those spiritual battles.