Monday, August 27, 2007
Calamity Jane is "Free to Choose"
In my marriage prep class I was taught about labels becoming self fulfilling prophecies. The professor taught that we sometimes make a blanket statement based on little information, and that it will come true to us in our eyes. The example was. . .”My husband ALWAYS leaves his socks on the floor”. Every time we then see the socks lying next to the bed we feel almost validated. “I told you that he does that” (said in a voice of smug satisfaction), a close look at reality would show that he probably got the socks into the basket SOMETIMES.
Let’s look at labels, self imposed or other wise. When I was a little girl in first grade, I carried a tray of food high over my head. I tripped and as I fell, I managed to save the tray. My family thought that was funny and gave me the nick-name “Calamity Jane”. After I was so christened, if I tripped or stumbled (as any growing girl who is too small for her growing body) I would hear “Calamity Jane”. I kind of liked the distinction, and thought the name was great (especially after I saw the Doris Day movie). The problem was I was not trying things because I thought of myself as clumsy. Who decided that? Why did I have to make the label true?
Who decided you were a fat girl? What if we all decided to look at ourselves with honesty? I could say “I am a skinny girl who only knew one way of coping with some really tough things. I thought food would fix it. I now am acquiring knowledge and am learning to acquire peace and comfort differently."
We break out of our ruts with knowledge. Look at what I have learned: I have learned to check pockets for crayons before putting jeans in the wash. I have learned that the smell in the bathroom is found behind the toilet on the floor. I know what “ring of fire” refers to in childbirth, and I have learned to ask for an epidural upon arrival at the hospital.
We could go on and on listing the lessons learned, and the behaviors we have changed because we learned a better way. We can learn to be healthy, why then do we expect that because we are fat, we will always be fat? Do you really ALWAYS overeat? Do you really ALWAYS hate to exercise? Surely there are positive behaviors we can focus on instead of making our label true. Why did I give up my agency to a self-imposed label? If you have changed other behaviors before by using knowledge, you certainly can re-learn to eat, or re-learn to find exercise enjoyable. So here's what you do, subscribe to fittness magazines, check out books in the library, even buy the magazines that have something about weight loss in it. Apply the things that might work for you, and jettison the bad. Use common sense and the word of wisdom. Remember "All grain is ordained for the use of man..., to be the staff of life"(D&C 89:14) that pretty much destroys the Atkins thing doesn't it? You just try something new each day, and you are on your way.
We learn in plan of salvation 101 that life is a time to learn and gain experiences: “Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118)
Decide who you want to be and begin today to be it. “I want to be healthy instead of fat.” “I am going to acquire knowledge on health and nutrition and apply what I learned today.” You get to choose what your label will be. I am no longer Calamity Jane because I am clumsy. I am Calamity Jane because I am a tough woman who can shoot straight.
“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose. . .”(2 Nephi 2:27)