By KRS Edstrom
I am a 25-year-old woman staying with my brother and sister-in-law. I have suffered from low self-esteem and pride, but have worked on it and made a lot of progress.
I used to take harmless comments as slander against my ability and intellect. I always thought about my weaknesses and shortcomings, but for the last couple of months or so I have been recovering steadily with some help from good self-improvement books and articles, and also some sound advice from experts like you.
I started concentrating on my future and my career and was beginning to accept myself as I am, until yesterday when my sister-in-law said something that threw me off-balance again. I did not retort or do anything stupid, but kept silent, thinking about it all day long.
Although I appeared calm from the outside, there was a lot of turbulence within me. I kept rehashing the same thing, recreating the scene again and again and because of this incident my whole day got screwed up. I have been reading some books on keeping the mind balanced and poised and therefore tried very hard not to think about this incident and feel miserable.
However, I could almost immediately feel the effect of losing my mental poise: lack of concentration, listlessness, lack of interest in anything, precisely the feelings I have been able to ward off for the last couple of months.
Why should an insignificant comment disturb my peace? Why should all my progress be lost in a moment because someone said something that hurt me? Doesn’t this display my mental weakness, or is it just that I am a bit hypersensitive?
Is this something that comes with age and maturity, or is it something that can
be implanted in oneself? If maintaining a mental poise at all times means
mental toughness, then how is it different from being thick skinned?
Congratulations in working on yourself and trying to improve. I’m proud of you and hope you are too, even now. Progress does not just steadily improve without some steps “back.” The important thing to realize is that these are really NOT steps back — it is all part of your learning progress. The knowledge you have gained is still there. You must have faith in that. You are just being tested — stretched to the next level. Soon these incidences will have less power over you because you will trust the process and your ever-growing skills.
You are a wonderfully sensitive person and for that reason you feel things a bit more than some. That is a good thing. (You may likely be artistic as well.) There is a book called “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine Aron that you might want to check out.
Try to be willing to feel the uncomfortable sensations associated with being hurt and accept them peacefully versus getting depressed or turned off by them. Judging and disliking your own reactions causes even more negative reactions, and so the cycle goes.
Know these feelings shall pass and you will get better at dealing with them.
Don’t be afraid to discuss your feelings with those people who hurt you. If you
show vulnerability (versus anger), others will understand and most likely soften
and communicate effectively with you. Often they may not even realize that they
have hurt you and will be more than willing to apologize.
Keep up the good work and hang in there.
When trying to lose weight, besides reducing food calories, which will burn more calories — bicycling or step aerobics?
Going for the Burn
Dear Going for the Burn,
You’ve hit on one of my favorite worst subjects. The faddish idea of which exercise burns the most calories is just one notion I believe can do more to damage motivation and results than enhance them. It gets us off-track and following the wrong carrot.
You can walk through a step class or pedal a bicycle and not even break a sweat
if you are at a lower level, or not putting forth the effort. On the other hand,
you can get a good sweat going and burn more calories by “just” walking at a
fast clip. The point is, exercises can all burn about the same calories if
similar effort is put forth. Worry less about maximum calorie burn and think
more about which one(s) you enjoy, and will therefore more likely continue.
I seem to need at least 9-10 hours of sleep a night. Is there really such thing as getting too much sleep?
Too Much Sleep?
Dear Too Much Sleep,
If you feel best with that amount of sleep, that is the amount, for now, that you should get. Americans average about 8-1/4 hours of sleep per night. Some people need less, and some need more. If you find you are sleeping to escape, are depressed or have any other unusual symptoms, check with your doctor. Otherwise, enjoy your sweet, healing slumber guilt free.
KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is available for private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal growth issues. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful, conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more, please visit KRS’ “Serenity and Meditation Corner” at www.AskKRS.com For more info call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail: KRS@AskKRS.com Please see ad on page 30.
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