My tea cup is full!
A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Recently, I took part in a mindfulness workshop. It was possibly one of the most brutal and confronting things I have ever done. It tore away my layers and reviled the horrible ugly truth that actual eats me every day. My poor body image (self esteem). This isn’t something new but something I have been battling with my 31 years of life, well actually since I was 5 years old, when I first can remember being compared to my cousin, ‘… because no you can’t wear that you have a fat tummy’.
But it’s something I need to face and work through because it makes me so miserable. For as long as I can remember I have either been compared to or compared myself against others, from how I looked, felt, acted and behaved. It’s not something I have talked about much to anyone because it’s fairly hidden in the back of my closet, because I am so ashamed.
It recently reared it ugly head, when I went to the doctors for my glandular fever check up and I weighed in at 73kg. My doctor spoke to me about her grave concern about my weight and labeled me as obese. Now, I know am not an obese person, I am healthy eater, I exercise and I look after myself but not in her eyes. It was fairly heart breaking because I had been doing so well and yet again the closet door opened and out it came.
The last serious break down was 7 years ago, when an ex had jokingly called me whale and slapped me on the ass and said ‘that I needed to work out more’ (mind you I had already taken the dog for a 2km run in the morning). This relapse then destroyed any self-esteem I did have! It was the reason I have never spoken to him again when we did break up because I actually finally escaped his horrible emotional abuse.
My life has been dotted with heart breaking situations in change rooms, bathrooms, dinners, breakfasts, dances, weddings, birthdays, funerals, Christmases. Where I just couldn’t look at myself or let alone be happy with whom I was. The past 3 years, I have learnt to accept, breath and try to work out why it happens and what situations trigger it. It has been interesting to work out that it is actually people, my friends, which actually can spark the situation. The biggest thing I try to do now is not let these people’s own issues come on to me, these people are drainers, they are people who take everything from you and give nothing back. They have their own issues and usually see their own issues are more superior to yours. They like to control a situation and they to like make themselves feel better by taking your good energy from you.
So instead of focusing on the bad… I am learning to focus on the good. Now this is no easy task and this is something that is taking me A LONG TIME to grasp but last night I tried and it seemed to work. My phrase, ‘My tea cup is full’
The teacup story is around in many different versions, but here is one version which I like:
Once, a long time ago, there was a wise Zen master. People from far and near would seek his counsel and ask for his wisdom. Many would come and ask him to teach them, enlighten them in the way of Zen. He seldom turned any away.
One day an important man, a man used to command and obedience came to visit the master. “I have come today to ask you to teach me about Zen. Open my mind to enlightenment.” The tone of the important man’s voice was one used to getting his own way.
The Zen master smiled and said that they should discuss the matter over a cup of tea. When the tea was served the master poured his visitor a cup. He poured and he poured and the tea rose to the rim and began to spill over the table and finally onto the robes of the wealthy man. Finally the visitor shouted, “Enough. You are spilling the tea all over. Can’t you see the cup is full?”
The master stopped pouring and smiled at his guest. “You are like this tea cup, so full that nothing more can be added. Come back to me when the cup is empty. Come back to me with an empty mind.”
Now, I use this analogy a lot with my children at school, when they are constantly at me I say, ‘You need to stop as my tea cup is full and I cannot take on anymore information’. It works! It’s a little visual prompt that they have in their minds, that they to need to stop and give me space.
Last night my tea cup was half full before I even jumped into the taxi. It filled quickly over the night, from dropping the bottle of wine and smashing it all over the ground, from people talking over me, making inappropriate comments and just dominating conversation. So, I tried very hard to focus on the good of the evening, an amazing Christmas dinner, my inspirational girl friend who is battling cancer who just smiled and giggled and my beautiful friends. It is no easy task but it is a change that I am slowly making.
Today I woke up with more clarity of how people can drain you but you don’t need to let them drain you. Focus your thoughts on love and not the thoughts of attack which I have been doing my whole life.
So my new mantra is…
People like to be around me
I create my own reality
I am beautiful
I can say no to other people
I am unique
I have healthy personal boundaries
I am loved
Everyone is special, including me