The Worldly Weed: Dysfunctionality

Like a butterfly flitting about the blossoms…

Thank you for my summer space.  A special thanks to those readers who noticed my visits to their sites mimic a Monarch butterfly’s erratic flight pattern.

My domicile and heart-pollinating duties have not gone astray.  They remain in the climatic zone of Soul Dipper.

A half-finished draft sits in my dashboard that will explain some reasons for my Danaus plexippus performance. But for now?  I have an important message to share which, in my unsolicited opinion, is a message of major insight showing how many aspects of our world have managed to become, to varying degrees, dysfunctional.

The story is so simple and innocent, yet its message swells my heart with the tenderest Love.

Readers, willing to be honest and open, I hope you find a desire to de-clutter, expose and polish your life into more wholesome living, leading and loving.

Even the souls of big, important, forever-busy, and multitasking people are in this article.  The in-demand, endlessly-needed and ever-on-a-device folk will be able to see themselves in this story.  So can the people who live simply. The germ cares not about its carrier:

Instant Weight Loss

by Jason Leister      (From Call to Awaken)

I’ve spent a lot of my life living out other people’s dreams. I didn’t do it on purpose. Instead, it’s a habit I developed at an early age that got embedded very, very deeply.

Growing up, I was from the outside looking in, pretty much a perfect child.

I got straight A’s, I never got into trouble, I followed the rules and I could always be counted on to “do the right thing.”

Before you fire off a message criticizing the size of my ego, understand that I don’t hold this “perfect child” distinction in very high regard. It’s not a badge of honor, it’s a major character flaw.

Living as a “perfect child” included behaviors like:

  • Being very tolerant of others’ opinions, even when they directly opposed my own.
  • Submitting to the will of others and granting others the “right of way” without question.
  • Being diplomatic and careful in my choice of words so as not to offend anyone or make anyone feel intimidated.
  • Accepting fault as a way to avoid conflict.
  • Going to extreme lengths to please others.

The list could go on, but I’ll stop it there because I’ve made my point.

I learned very early on that being “perfect” produced accolades. It also was an effective way to avoid conflict and to gain approval.

What I didn’t realize at the time, however, was that being “perfect” built an almost impenetrable prison wall preventing me from ever being truly free.

And So the Weight Gain Began

So what happens to someone who consistently suppresses his own will in favor of submitting to someone else’s will?

That someone gains weight.

You don’t gain physical pounds, instead you gain the weight of choices, actions and commitments that are not your own.

Over time, this weight grows until the majority of your focus and effort each day is invested in pursuing the desires of others. You think they are your desires, but you are wrong. You just can’t see that you are wrong because it has become your habit to ignore reality.

You think you are living your life, but in reality, you are too scared to live your life. Instead, you live what others would have for your life.

This is how I lived for a very long time.

I chose what others wanted for my life instead of developing the skill to discern and choose what I wanted for my life.

As you might imagine, this can cause a lot of damage in the life of a human being. And it is perhaps the most insidious form of self-betrayal I know.

The worst symptom of the damage, by far, was that I developed the habit of…

Saying “Yes,” When I Wanted to Say “No”

We’ve all had times in our life when we’ve done something like this. A person asks us to do something and we agree to it when we really don’t want to.

Nobody wants to be a jerk, after all. But last time I checked, being a jerk is a pretty subjective situation.

The fact of the matter is I didn’t have the guts at the time to answer questions like this honestly. Instead, I was scared to death of the consequences of “rejecting” someone by asserting my will and saying, “No.”

And so I said “Yes” when I should have said “No.” And I did it over and over and over again.

And the weight piled on because of it.

Living like this blurs your focus of what you should be doing with your life and it fills your days with stuff you shouldn’t be doing.

As Your Life Develops, Available Opportunity Shrinks

Success minded individuals often say things like, “Opportunity is everywhere.” I made the mistake of believing that once, but these days I know better.

There might be limitless opportunities for someone to pursue, but there aren’t limitless opportunities that are right for me to pursue.

There might be thousands of goals that are worthy of achievement for someone on this planet, but there aren’t many that are worth investing a portion of my own short life to achieve.

As I grow and gain experience and wisdom, I realize that the list of opportunities deserving of my time is actually shrinking.

And that realization, quite frankly, is liberating. Because it replaces a feeling of overwhelm with a feeling of peace and calm.

It gives me the power to exercise discernment and control over the direction of my life. And to be extremely selective about how I invest each moment I’m alive.

Today Is the Day to Drop the Pounds

If you’re carrying around extra weight like I’ve described, today is the day to drop it. ALL OF IT. It requires only a decision to be your real self and the courage to stand in that authenticity.

We are here for a reason and it’s high time that we all start living that out.

Your choices require no one’s approval and there’s no need to provide an explanation. There is only a requirement to act.

My hunch is that there are things you are holding onto in your life and business that simply are no longer worthy of your time. Maybe they never even were.

It’s just not a good use of your life to hang on. Think big, act big. Release what is not yours to carry. Don’t be afraid to move on.

Give yourself permission to do this. Give yourself permission to “lighten up.”

Because it is only when you lighten up that you will fly.

Blessings,

~Jason Leister

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41 thoughts on “The Worldly Weed: Dysfunctionality

  1. My friend … I have no sense of you flitting around. I sense that you are always there. I suspect that you are where you are meant to be.

    This post is marvelous. I relate to it well, not for the same reasons as mentioned here … as I was NEVER the perect child. I was a little hellion. Never the less, I have had weight issues my entire life. So …………………………..

    • Raven, I hope your mother would not take umbrage, but I am so glad you were a hellion. I suspect you would not have accomplished all that you have in making life more liveable for many!

  2. powerful…took my breath away as I read it…the words and ideas resonated deeply. And to think, all those choices, in their own way, seemed well intentioned…but not for oneself….time to shift, for sure. thank you for posting this.

    • You are very welcome, Pocket Perspectives. Every one of us have some form of this…and I don’t point fingers at parents. There have been many culprits contributing to this “good boy/good girl” state of mind. When we’ve attempted to love ourselves so we can love our neighbours, we were cautioned about selfishness. Taking care of ourselves is not the same as self-centeredness, but some like to accuse and confuse…

    • Thanks, Chris – there’s great comfort in knowing this trust! Hope your summer is going very well. We’re having some of that Ontario heat, but with ocean breezes thank goodness!

  3. “Your choices require no one’s approval and there’s no need to provide an explanation. There is only a requirement to act.”
    This is how I’ve been living of late. And I don’t ask for explanations either. People, especially family, feel entitled to inject their ideas and advice but it’s such a burden. I don’t say anything about what I’m doing anymore. I just do it. Live and let live, is my motto. Outside of my kids, no one needs to know or understand the whys of what I do.

    • I respect and admire you for taking the stand, Tots! I’ve been so independent for so many years of my life that when someone questions me with a hint of judgement, I feel as though a bucket of cold water has been tossed at me. I have to quickly assess when I’m willing to share that “stuff”. One thing I’ve learned to say, during times when I can’t think of anything clever, “I wonder what makes you ask the question.” If they don’t tell me, I’m fine with that and it gives me time to remove myself from the conversation!

  4. I wholeheartedly agree — your spirit does not stray — in the sense you are exactly where you are suppose to be at the time you are suppose to be there … no matter what your physical activity may be you seem to hold space for love and light>

    Such a wonderful post — and I have to admit I share this character flaw — time to shed some major “bulkage”!! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • Becca, you just described you…your spirit doesn’t stray either. And I bet your animals all have you pegged! You must like having bosses, you sweet cat companion. 😀

      Blessings on your bulkage! “What you resist persists”, we’re told. So I guess we have to love it off, Becca.

  5. I am not sure that dropping the weight is as easy as that, sometimes it has to be done a 1lb or 2 at a time but eventually we become our new self, the one we were always meant to be.

    I haven’t noticed you flitting either 🙂

    • We can drop the weight from the soul with one decision, Beverley. I don’t think he’s claiming that physical weight can come off quickly. Hope you are coming along happily with your newness! 🙂

      • When you have spent years carrying around the weight of someone else’s bad decisions that then became your decisions too, it takes time. Although the decision to let go may be an instant one doing so has been ongoing for me.

        • I understand and I really respect that you’ve made that decision, Beverley. I believe that changing old conditioning is a life-long piece of work. Some of us have belief systems buried so deeply within that it takes ages to even spot them!

  6. a line from a song comes into my mind after reading your post: ‘on the moment we can speak we are ordered to listen’.
    by avoiding outer conflict we create inner conflict, we simple can not please everybody, there will be somebody who does not like what you do.

    • Great! I hadn’t heard that line before, but it sums up how I often felt being the 5th and youngest child. It’s no wonder I like to write – I don’t get interrupted and told to “listen”. 🙂

      Yes, Clegyrboia, it’s a great revelation to realize that we need to be true to ourselves, know what is important to us, and get onto the highway of life.

    • Hey, Granny…preventative maintenance makes life much sweeter. Maybe this will help us not have to come back to yet another lifetime of lessons! 😀 I’ve found the joy in setting one boundary and avoiding having to cry “uncle” a dozen times!

      I was such a people pleaser that my mentor told me I had to decline every request laid on me for two months (workplace excepted). “And because you do not want to become a fabricator, you are not to give any excuse whatsoever.”

      That was excruciatingly difficult. But I learned A LOT. I adopted one line for the first while, “I’m not able to do that.” It was the truth, but I did not confess to why, of course. People wait for an excuse so they can blow holes in it. When there’s nothing, they are baffled. The silence and smooth adieu was the tough part. But I could not even say, “I’m sorry…” because my mentor said, “That would be a lie, wouldn’t it?”

      I sure as heck took responsibility for my feelings! Great exercise. That’s when I learned to pick up on any opportunity to practice preventative maintenance. When I see what’s capable of coming, I state the boundary before it becomes an issue.

  7. I align with you, Jason and everyone who has commented, Amy ~ I came to the same conclusion about a month ago and I now do the things I wish to do, without guilt ~ it is truly liberating. But that has resulted in emails piling up, so I’ve just deleted ancient email and feel much lighter. I believe my life experiences have led me to this point, so I don’t regret the past. I’m just happy that I shed the load and have time to enjoy a much simpler life. Great, affirming post! 🙂

    • Wow, Jacqueline, what a great step forward. I get such an overwhelming feeling of joy when I learn of anyone empowering themselves and stepping out to the chaos of co-dependency. It feels so selfish at first…and at first it does require a little selfishness in order to change things and live out the resolve. With time, we are then able to reach a balance and allow more flexibility in our boundaries.

      I learned the difference between being loving and being codependent was in the answer to the question I ask myself constantly: “Is this contributing to my physical, emotional and spiritual well-being?”

      I remember Mother Theresa once saying that if we cannot do something from the heart, it is better to not do it. That puzzled me greatly at the time, but now I live it as much as I can.

  8. There is a similar story from many of my clients who get to the point of wanting to correct their path, their behavior, and eating just happens to be involved. Once you recognize, as Jason did, that it’s not “just” the eating but a lifetime of “stuff” that may have caused it, you can begin in earnest to work on the weight issue. “Dieting” without recognizing what got you overweight in the first place is fraught with failure.

  9. Beautiful and well written post. Our first and foremost duty must always be to ourselves. Our society teaches us that this is a selfish idea. But what good are we to the world if we fail to take care of and fully actualize what is inside of our person?

  10. Such a perfect article. It’s exactly how I’ve been feeling for the past year or so. I try all the time to focus on what’s good for me and I’m getting better at it little by little. This blogging universe has been especially helpful. Thanks for sharing, and just so you know I haven’t fretted over your lack of appearances — I know you are one very busy person. It’s just nice knowing you’re out there and I can drop in whenever the fancy strikes. Have a beautiful day!

    I would like to link this article to my blog — how do I do that? And would you mind?

    • Thanks, Kathy, that’s really good to know!

      I cheer you on with every fiber of my being! It is so worthwhile getting out of the chaos of codependency, but I sure noticed how people around me didn’t like the changes at first. I had to quietly persist and not cave in. When we change roles, it certainly affects other roles as well. Well…it is what it is. Who wants to go through life not being ourselves?

      I’ll give a shot at helping you “link” – and I’m doing it because I want to, not because I feel I have to! 😀
      When you are on a new post and want to link another blog or article:
      *Open the specific article and go up to the address line. Right click and copy it.
      *Go back into your text area on your post and type in Soul Dipper or the title of this post, then highlight it.
      *Go up to the menus above the window. You’ll see, on the upper row, what looks like a chain loop (a link). With the phrase highlighted in the text, click that “chain link” icon.
      *Clear the blub that shows up in the address line and (right click) paste in the address of my blog for that article.
      *Under that address line, there’s a box to tick. Tick it…it then opens the link in another tab so the reader doesn’t “override” your blog.

      Hope that’s clear for you…give it a practice run and let me know if you have trouble.

  11. I can relate to all of it: wanting to please, perfectionism, weight gain, inability to say no, and learning to let go of it all (well most of it anyway) enough to lose the baggage (literally and figuratively). And it looks like I’m not the only one… 😐

  12. If you’ve been flitting around it must have been meant to be…and I’m thankful you’ve flitted on over to my blog 🙂 This post is so relevant to me…the weights we encumber ourselves with through our lives can be a heavy burden indeed. For some of us it even equates to physical weight, self included. With keen attention to the things people ask of me these days from ego boosters like, ‘will you serve on such and such board’ to even the smaller requests like ‘can you swing by and pick that up for me since you’re out’ or what have you. I’ve trained myself to breath deeply and pause before answering…this single simple thing has been a useful tool in keeping me from becoming over commited or doing the work others ought to be doing for themselves. This frees me up to say yes when I really mean it and have the energy and desire to follow through, not just grudgingly following through ‘cuz I said I would’.
    *anna

    • A great big, fat WOW!, Anna. People who have an air of confidence inevitably attract requests. I would be picked out of a crowd, for goodness sake. One time I asked my mom what I could do to stop being asked – this was before I learned to use my voice and operate on a preventative maintenance basis. Mom told me, “Stop the eye contact. Don’t look at anyone asking for volunteers.” Well…that was only part of it. I had to learn how to get through my ego and decline without apology. I find when I really want to do something, it’s not even a decision – just a matter of stepping up to the plate.

  13. I like the part when he spoke of losing sight of himself. For me it was not the weight gain but a severe clinical depression that buried who I really was beneath the surface. I needed professional help for several years before I was able to really accept me for who I was and love myself without relying on the praise of others. No one did it to me, not even really myself. I often have thought this an experience that I may have needed to have. Why? I don’t know.

    • Oh, Leslie, no wonder you are so insightful, sensitive and loving. You have ample doses compassion and empathy, I bet! I’ve experienced lots of it from you. I love how you question yourself and really assess some of the material you run across. My mom suffered from depression as well. In her wisdom, she taught us kids to trust that we did not precipitate her down times. I cannot imagine how much we would have taken on if she hadn’t given her reassurances. She was never totally free of depression though meds helped her manage it.

      While I would have loved her to be have had peace from dreaded depression, I believe it gave her such a depth and special insight that I’ve not experienced in many other close people. Big hug to you, Leslie.

  14. The second part of this particularly resonates with me: “There might be limitless opportunities for someone to pursue, but there aren’t limitless opportunities that are right for me to pursue.” If only those who are gung-ho enthusiastic that everyone can do what they can do would realise that what is right for them might not be right for everyone. And in particular, might not be right for me! 🙂

    I ‘became myself’ some years back and I’m sticking with who and what I am. While there are areas of my life that doubtless I could improve, those improvements will arrive when I’m ready for them not when someone else wishes it would be so. I’ve had a lifetime of being a perfectionist and in some ways I still am, but at least I’m aware of it. That’s a start.

    • I appreciate how, as we age, we become more clearly defined, less concerned about our foibles and more accepting of ourselves. Your comment gave rise to my remembering all three of those freedoms. As I age, I’m less inclined to spill my haphazardness on society. It has enough to deal with…:) I still spill nevertheless, but with some mellowness. Now when someone infuriates me service-wise, I pull in my quills and remember that invisibility grows with vinegar.

      You post http://artyoldbird.com/ certainly feeds this commentary.

  15. Thanks for sharing this great post Amy…it is a wonderfully perceptive and insightful way of describing and handling a painfully common sense of being! I agree with you that age does help with ‘preventative maintenance’…but the initial steps to rectify this are the hardest, specially in this world of ours where ‘popularity’ and ‘success’ are tied up with this ‘weight gain’…which I also believe is more geared towards women in many societies! Finding your own ‘space’ and being comfortable in it is not easy…but once there…it is not a place you would trade for any other!

    For all those who have dared and all those on the path to “lighten up”…God bless…

    • Yes, Shamasheikh, it’s such a blessing to find our own “space” and come to acceptance. My heart almost breaks when I learn of women having to be under the thumb of others – especially when they believe they are not worthy of respect and self-respect. I join you in asking for blessings for all who are on that path to lighten up in every way.

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