Your Environment is a Mirror of Your Self-Esteem
I’m always on the lookout for something that inspires me and moves me into deep thought or action. A lot of things caught my attention this week, so forgive me if this post seems to be lacking a single theme or direction.
What Does Your Environment Say About You?
The first quote I saw this week was by author Geneen Roth. Now that Oprah has bought shares in Weight Watchers and Ops has discovered her, Ms Roth is all the rave. I first became aware of Roth in 2008. I was in the midst of a 70 lb weight loss transformation, I had moved out of the house I had once shared with my Narcissist and was living in a rented apartment at the beach. One day I went to wash my clothes in the laundry room and I noticed a table with books on it and a sign that read, “Take a book, leave a book.” There I saw two books from Roth one was called Feeding the Hungary Heart, the other, Why Weight?
I brought the books back to my apartment and devoured them immediately. No pun intended. It almost seemed divine to me that the messages in this book were exactly what I needed to hear and I received them at the exact time I needed to hear them. Search as I may all these years later and I could not find the book in my collection, nor the direct quote I was looking for, but within the pages Roth made me realize the reasons for my behavior with food, she said something akin to, ‘you could eat from here to eternity and you still won’t reach that void inside of you that you’re trying to fill.’ You won’t touch it because the void isn’t about food – food was just a symptom, a way to cope. These words translate into so much more than problems with food we all develop coping mechanisms to distract ourselves from our real issues. Food is but one way.
Fast forward to this week and I saw another of her quotes, “No matter how sophisticated, or wise, or enlightened, you believe you are, how you eat tells all.” I sat back and thought about this for a while and realized that this too is so much more than just a quote about food. It’s a quote about life. Here’s an example of what I mean:
The very first job I had as a teenager was in a retail store that financed gear to their customers. The owner had 3 sons. The middle son, Jon, was a twin and I believe was a little autistic. He lacked the social graces of his brothers. He was messy, clumsy, uncoordinated and just off. The problem was that he could never live up to what was expected of him. He wasn’t corporate enough, not sophisticated enough…and they never let him forget it. He was left out of functions, watched his baby brother get promoted ahead of him…they treated him like a bad penny his whole life. Consequently, his friends reflected how he saw himself. They were the dregs of humanity. They were the lost and broken souls and to him, this is where he felt he belonged, on the fringe with the other outcasts.
When I look back at my own life, my teenage friends were no different. They were the bad seeds, they drank and did drugs and committed petty crimes. That’s where I felt comfortable. The young men I dated were the same, entirely broken and hurting, trying to fill a void they couldn’t touch. But really who they were and my relationship with them spoke volumes about me.
Our life is a mirror of how we view ourselves and our environment. Roth’s quote is valid, except I would broaden it a little, to say, “how we treat ourselves tells all, the company we keep tells all, the expectations we have for ourselves tells all.”
Take a look at your surroundings – your friends, your partner, your job, your body – what do these things say about you?
He’s Actually Not So Much Happier Without You
I have a client, at my day job, that I would say is somewhere on the Narcissistic PD scale. He’s an angry little man, trusts no one, he’s so bitter and jaded that it’s tough to be in his presence. He started some time ago to tell me about his personal relationship, even though it’s not why he came to see me. From his admissions I could surmise that he was a parasitic type. He didn’t earn much money and had latched onto a nice, big ole, financial resource. She owned the house they lived in, she paid for everything, even their vacations, while he contributed nothing but a penis and a bad attitude.
He was furious with his partner because she had dared go on a vacation with her sister, without him. They had had a vacation together, all of them, back in November, which he didn’t pay for. He was angry with her then because she hadn’t paid him enough attention and was focusing on her sister too much.
I said to him, “She paid for your vacation and you sat there and moped the entire time and ruined it for everyone, including yourself, because you weren’t getting enough attention and now you wonder why she didn’t take you this time?” He went on about how disrespectful he felt her behavior was and that was all he could see. I asked him, “What would (my mentor) do in that scenario?” He is the big boss of the facility we work at so my client is aware of him. “He would go off and do his own thing if his wife wanted to spend time alone with her sister and not think anything of it. I think he would be empathetic enough to know that he gets his wife’s attention every day, while she sees her sister maybe once a month. I think you’re not viewing this from the proper perspective.” He continued on with a slew of scenarios where his partner was a mean, horrible, shrew of a woman that had done him wrong, so I asked him, “What are you still doing in this relationship if this is how you feel?” His answer was all too common, “I’d have to move in with my dad and I don’t want to do that commute to work.”
“If you met someone else, who had the same resources, would you leave her?” I asked him. “F’ing right,” was his response. He had told me in an earlier session that he had left the mother of his child for this woman. At the time it seemed like he had caught a big fish. Now he was regretting his choice. I didn’t have to meet his partner because the fact that she was funding this guys lifestyle and putting up with his horrendous behavior and moods told me all I needed to know about her.
The entire scene was all too familiar and so many of my clients have this terrible fear that their Narcissist is so much happier without them. Here is yet another affirmation that they are still the same person, they don’t change who they are because they meet someone new. Their old miserable, all-about-me, selves will always eventually emerge. They are incapable of seeing things in a different, more empathetic perspective and these things are required for all healthy intimate relationships. The fact that he was staying in this relationship didn’t mean he was happier, in fact he kind of regretted leaving his old one. They are, if nothing else, opportunists and sometimes their new opportunity is not all they hoped it would be.
It’s All About Execution
I’ve been following Gary Vaynerchuk on social media for almost two years. He’s kind of the new Anthony Robbins and as I’m always on the look-out for things that inspire me I keep a close eye on what he’s got to say. I came across one of his quotes last week that made me say hmmmmm.
“Ideas are shit,” he said. “Everyone has ideas. It’s execution that counts.” I’ve been struggling to get a few projects off the ground and my business partner is in a tizzy about my indecisiveness. I work 7 days a week, after my day job, I have clients until well into the evening, I Skype all day on my day off and I write my blog on Sunday. I’m tired – I have no time, no energy, no social life….I also have a million excuses.
What does Gary Vaynerchuk say about the grind, “Maximize the energy you put into what you are passionate about. Squeeze every last bit of juice out of your day. Put all your effort into achieving the goal at hand. Make every minute count. Every. Single. Minute.
Adding to this mind set, today (Sunday), was the first day of training camp for many major league baseball teams in Florida – including my beloved New York Mets. My baseball crush, Noah Syndergaard, nicknamed Thor, due to his Viking heritage, his 6’6 frame, long blonde hair and the fact that he is the hardest throwing starting pitcher in all of baseball, showed up at camp having dropped 1.3% body fat and gained 17 pounds of muscle, in just 4 months. When questioned about how hard he works in the off season, he’ll tell you it’s because he wants to throw even harder. He wants to be the best. I always wonder about the drive those people have that want to be the elite of the elite. Where does that drive come from? How do you get it? What is it that’s so special about them that they succeed where others fail?
I walked into the lunch room at work on Friday, one of my colleagues was happily chowing down on his lunch. I peered into his bowl and saw a mix of broccoli, Brussel sprouts, avocado, turmeric, tuna and a boiled egg, all jumbled together. “That looks repulsive,” I said laughing. “It’s delicious,” he replied. “Do you put anything on it, balsamic vinegar, salad dressing, anything?” I asked.
“No, sometimes I might put a little olive oil or salt and pepper, for taste,” he said chewing away.
“Jay, the only way that would taste good is if you smothered it in gravy,” I said joking, well not really joking.
Jay, not surprisingly is in great shape, he’s one of those work-out fanatics that actually feels bad physically, when they don’t work out or heaven forbid, they eat something like pizza. He reminded me of an Anthony Robbins quote, “You can tell a lot about a person by their rituals.”
What do your rituals, friends, romantic partners, thoughts, and behaviors say about you? If you don’t like the answer change your routine until you do. I’d love to say more but I’ve got to run. I’m out of broccoli.
Hey look I found a common theme after all.
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