While parting company with my friends C. (a guy) and P. (a lady) one recent evening, C. wrapped me in a bear hug and proceeded to lift me off the floor. The instant that my feet left the ground, I had the immediate thought that many women unfortunately have: Put me down, please! I had no issue with C. elevating me, but I do have issues about my weight. So I said to C., "Hey, don't do that." To which he replied:
"Why? You're not heavy?"
I shot a look of surprise to P., who concurred with C. by exclaiming, "You're not!"
Several years ago, before I knew both C. and P., I weighed a lot more than I do now. Even though I still have some more weight to lose to reach my goal, my mind is usually still stuck in the days when eating stuff covered with whipped cream served as the antidote to my misery. And whenever I chat with my latest crush, I sometimes think of myself as that awkward eighth grader I once was, complete with giant glasses, braces, and (holy smokes!) leg warmers.
My ADD, and perhaps yours, provides ample examples of other messages in the mind that keep repeating over and over. For me, any time that I'm late for work, procrastinate on responding to an email, arrive 10 minutes late to meet someone, or get a late fee on a bill, I instinctively think of mypre-ADD days when the aforementioned stuff happened pretty regularly. As a result, a litany of negative messages bombard my head. So when I'm late for work, all I can think of is how I yet again failed to get to the office on time. Never mind the fact that I stay late to make up the time and also get my work done. I still make myself feel bad for something that only I judge myself for.
Similarly, I judged my friend C. for the comment that he made. I felt that he said I wasn't heavy only to indulge me. However, C.'s not one to sugarcoat his thoughts and realized that perhaps he was correct. When I saw him a few days later, I mentioned that his comment made me feel good. But just for good insanely neurotic measure, I asked him to confirm that he wasn't just B.S.ing me. C. looked at me with one eyebrow askew and said, "No," in a tone of voice that would have been the same had I asked him to swap Super Bowl tickets for a marathon viewing of Lifetime movies.
This vignette has made me think a lot about how my thoughts often don't reflect who I am now. And how about you? How many of your thought patterns have to do with the you who you used to be? And how come they're still hanging around?