Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Of trees and forests...

Ever heard the phrase, “You can’t see the forest for the trees”? I often refer to it when talking about seeing the “big picture” versus little problems that plague us and make us reluctant to tackle big projects. Today I got a taste of the other side of that euphemism. I was chatting with a girlfriend at work about a nice belted jacket I was wearing (as close friends know, I’m a bit of a clothes hound). She was amazed that I bought it at a newly discovered consignment shop a few blocks away, and had only paid $8 for it. Her comment was that she’d pay $8 for the belt alone, let alone the jacket (For the record, it’s a cute jacket! Military style with zippers and pockets, great chocolate brown cotton with intricate seaming…you get the drift.). It made me think about all of the little things that I miss on a day-to-day basis while looking at the big picture. I mean, if I didn’t even notice that the belt was a thing of beauty unto itself, what else have I been missing?

I started thinking about my current goals for my weight, health and life and realized that I was completely short-changing myself. I often write monthly goals to stay on track with my WLS-related health issues, including weight loss, exercise and such. But I tend to get bogged down in the details. Yeah, my stomach is looking good, but my thighs are still lumpy and I need to work on that. My butt may look nice in jeans, but it’s still a size too large for my liking – better hit the treadmill hard this month. And the big one, always, is that I haven’t hit my “goal” weight yet (2.5 years post-op), a thought that completely discounts the fact that I’m still 100 lbs lighter than I was 3 years ago. How in the world do I miss trees like that?

I think the lesson that I’m taking from this realization is to savour the small victories. We are so hard on ourselves most of the time that we don’t pay proper homage to all that we’ve accomplished, or truly appreciate how much we’ve grown over the past months and years. Think about your own life – what have you accomplished in the last 12 months that you’re proud of? Make a list – I do! I write down things I’m grateful for at the end of each day…my gratitude journal keeps me sane. But what I’m saying now is, don’t just write it down and forget about it. Feel pride in your progress, let it raise your feelings of self worth, and recognize that it’s just the beginning. You really can do anything you set your mind to if you believe in yourself. And for heaven’s sake, don’t get lost in the forest if you’re just looking to appreciate the trees.