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Month: September 2017

The Measuring Stick…My Own Worst Enemy

The Measuring Stick…My Own Worst Enemy

Bust 32″, waist 24″, inseam 28″…oh, and I wear a size 5 shoe. Fair to say, I’m tiny. Five feet, two inches tall and that’s only if I’ve done spine stretching yoga exercises before the doctor stands me up to check my height. Crawling through a doggie door or half open window would present no challenge, making a career in cat burglary an excellent option.

Don’t worry. Nicking pearls in the dead of night from wealthy old socialites is not my plan. But, I do have a plan, or rather, an intention, regarding my “so called” measurements. Being physically small is of little importance…it’s being emotionally small that’s my hitch.

What Is “Good Enough?”

Type A personality can go on my “size chart” along with shrinking, waning, withering feelings that steal my self assurance time and time again. Maybe the cat burglar is inside me?

These negative emotions have sustained a life-long battle with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression.  Somewhere, deep inside, the “real me” is hiding while mental illness plunders every last bit of self-worth from the caches of my soul.

During a recent therapy session, I admitted to never feeling “good enough.” Never. I’m not even sure I know what the parameters of “enough” entail. Of course, my therapist prodded me to go a deeper (an annoying but necessary professional stratagem) and I explained this life encompassing feeling.

  • I’m not a good enough wife; maybe my husband would be happier with someone else; someone smarter, prettier, less of an uptight, bitchy anxious control freak.
  • I’m not good enough at my job, at cooking, at writing, at sex.
  • Daughter, sister, friend…I could be better, better, better.

The list is endless. The measuring stick reaches high, like Jack’s beanstalk disappearing into lofty clouds. But, there is no golden goose egg at the unattainable “top.”

What Am I Up Against?

After this painful discussion, my therapist asked, “What are you measuring yourself against?”

I just sat there and blinked.

Anxious, driven, proactive perfectionism has always dominated my life. Control is a must not an option. I over analyze, set my performance in contrast to others, take out the big, straight-edged stick and determine where I stack up against…what? I didn’t have an answer. And then, the smoke screen lifted.

The Poison Bean Illusions

There is no “against.” I compare my so-called achievements to fraudulent ideas, bogus thoughts, unattainable paradigms that were planted in my head like Jack’s magic beans.

Except, these beans were poison, germinated during an upbringing in a home of emotional instability, cultivated by a society riddled with immense standards and fueled by my aggressive Type A ideals.

My therapist pointed out that this compulsive measuring had less to do with accomplishment and more to do with acceptance; behavior stemming from a childhood where credit had been handed out in random, contingent and inconsistent rates. Looking to be the “best” was not my true intention.

The stamp of approval, to be seen, to be heard, to be loved, to be recognized without condition is what I was searching for all along.

Perfectionism is the Enemy of Forward Movement

The clouds parted right there on the proverbial psychotherapy couch. The measuring stick was not at all about achievement but everything about acknowledgment and confirmation of my worth.

I needed to be high up on that stick because if I wasn’t, I was scared my valuation would deflate in the eyes of those around me. It is a paralyzing affliction. If I feel it won’t be perfect, I feel I can’t begin. Possibilities and opportunities have been left by the roadside because I felt I would never measure up.

Just like the beanstalk is a fairytale, the measuring stick is a fictitious notion designed by my own masochistic nature of self-deprecation.

The beanstalk only got Jack the “cat burglar” into trouble and sure enough it all came crashing down. For me, the outcome will be the same, if I continue to set my gaze on the unattainable lofty heights of “performance” rulers.

My intention is to stop climbing beanstalks and seeking golden eggs. To continue, I’m only stealing from myself. I’m defrauding every opportunity I have to just be me and let that be enough.

©thejitterbug 2017

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Pitfalls…Why Traditional Deodorant is Bad for Your Health

Pitfalls…Why Traditional Deodorant is Bad for Your Health

Eating Clean by Amie Valpone has completely changed my understanding of how toxins play a role in our everyday lives. From pesticides to preservatives, these substances are present in our food, personal care products and homes. Eating Clean is not just a book about food but an invaluable resource on detoxifying your home, your body, your office, your life!

Toxins and Your Health

Realizing that health is more than choosing salad over fries, my husband and I embarked on a well-being overhaul…which included our armpits!

One of the first changes my husband and I made was switching to an all-natural deodorant.

Ok, ok!  Stay with me here!  We are not hippies, we do not smell and yes, you can find a product that actually works!  Here’s why we ditched the mainstream brands:

Traditional deodorants found in the aisles of your drug store or supermarket contain ingredients such as:

  • Parabens
  • Aluminum
  • Triclosan
  • Artificial Fragrances
  • Phthalates
  • Propylene glycol
  • BHT

These elements are being absorbed into your system every single day! They are suspected to increase your risk for cancer, disrupt hormones, cause allergies, endanger a developing fetus…the list goes on.

Don’t believe me?  Do your research.  It’s shocking the information you will find about the dangers of personal care products and how little FDA regulation exists for the potentially harmful ingredients used to make them.  In fact, other countries have much stricter regulations regarding chemicals in beauty care products.  http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/regulations/international-laws/

Your Largest Organ

The skin is your body’s largest organ. It’s porous and absorbs what you put on it.  If you wouldn’t eat something, why would you want to rub it on your skin?  Eventually, those toxins will end up in your blood stream, organs or lymphatic system.

Would you eat Aluminum, Triclosan, or Parabens? No?  Well, even in small doses, over time, these additives can have negative health impacts when used in your daily beauty routine.  Developing fetuses and babies are especially sensitive to these harmful chemicals. And, as a woman, I also don’t want to be slathering chemicals under my arms which are right near my breasts.

One of the resources I use to help determine the safety of a personal care product is ewg.org/skindeep. Amie recommends this web page in her book, Eating Clean, and it is truly valuable and educational.

Try a Few!

As far as deodorant goes, everyone’s body chemistry is different. You may need to try several products before you find the one that’s right for you.  Make sure to do a 24 hour patch test on the inside of your forearm before applying a new product.  This will help prevent allergic reaction to ingredients you may not have been exposed to before.

Natural deodorants prevent odor but still allow your body to sweat. Guess what?  Sweating is good!  It helps your body to release toxins and stay cool.

Personally, I purchase and use a product on Etsy by Treefort Naturals called Natural Coconut Deodorant Cream.  It contains: Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Arrowroot Powder, Natural Baking Soda, Mango Butter, Essential Oils of Tea Tree and Orange and Beeswax. Or you can try any of the recommendations in Amie Valpone’s book Eating Clean or on her website thehealthyapple.com.

My husband and I have not only changed our deodorant; we buy more organic produce, make our own cleaning products, filter our water and read labels for potential toxins in food or personal care products.

Find out how safe your beauty products are by visiting http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.  This database rates the safety level of personal care and beauty products.  Type in the brand you are using and find out exactly what you are putting on your skin.

Eating Clean by Amie Valpone is so much more than “eating” clean. This book has become an essential reference, a go-to resource, a health “bible.”  Check out Amie’s website, thehealthyapple.com for more information regarding health related topics.

Stay tuned for more posts on the efforts my husband and I have made to create a healthier life!

 

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