Sunday, June 9, 2013

#27 - Hierarchy of Needs

Where do you place your journey in the list of important things in your life?   Where does it fit in the importance of your life?

I've recently had to put it on hold for a good portion of time.   This is an unfortunate turn of events due to a lack of occupation, income and self-esteem.   But it makes me wonder where this journey fits in the scheme of my life.   It is like a plant in that its roots span out and touch many aspects of my life.  However, if the plant isn't getting sun, nutrients and water, the roots cannot survive.  

-- If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
         --  Abraham Maslow

Money.   I hate that it is a such an important thing in our lives, but without it, you can't do the things you need to do to support yourself.   You can't pay for food, gas, lodging and entertainment.  Simple logic states that you need the basics before you can focus on your personal growth.   So, I was faced with a complete lack of money.   This meant that healthy foods and gas guzzling trips to the gym were beyond my capability.   Friends would point out that they were sure my family would pony up some dough to keep me on the journey.  However, when every dollar you spend is a dollar borrowed, pride makes you simplify your expenses to the truly necessary.  

Occupation.  Well, a job is how we address the previously mentioned trouble of money.   Finding a job can be as easy as walking into a store and asking for employment or as difficult as landing on the moon.  Additionally, with the current attitude towards obese people in America, many companies discriminate against the overweight applicants.   It isn't a protected class so they could say straight to my face that "we don't hire fat people."  They wouldn't do that, but it would be legal to do so.   Marty and I have been to companies whose wellness coordinators flat out told us that they avoid hiring overweight people because of the inflated health care costs.   Until we start treating obesity and food addiction as a disease needing treatment, insurance companies will not fund help for obese people.  Companies will continue to discriminate against obese people thinking them as lazy employees or high cost employees.   The rising costs of health care and ever increasing epidemic of obesity in America will continue to grow until people in power begin to realize that our culture is creating a problem that must be aggressively addressed, not casually dismissed.   It seems to be the last accepted prejudice as folks stick with tired mantra of "just eat less" or "just exercise".   What these fools don't realize is that it isn't that simple.   If it were, we would all be walking around with six-pack abs and beautiful bodies.   No one would "choose" to be overweight.  It isn't fun.   Until folks realize that it isn't as voluntary as many believe, they won't give the problem of obese Americans the attention it deserves.

--  Self-esteem is the greatest sickness known to man or woman because it's conditional.
        -- Albert Ellis

Self-esteem.   Part and parcel of the first two problems listed.  I find that I define myself, not by my job, but by my ability to care for myself.   When you get to a point where you are without a career, without money, and without prospects, you are too ashamed to wake up in the morning, let alone go out in public.   With every resume rejected, your feelings of self-worth plummet.  In the end, you have to find joy where you can, but nothing is going to help until your situation changes.  Depression ensues and is crippling.   Relationships suffer as you are unable to muster the energy to even pretend to be social.   Friends and family worry as your spiral into yourself and your own self-loathing.   The journey towards better health doesn't even register on your radar while you are trying to bring yourself out of your despair.  

--  Struggling is hard because you never now what's at the end of the tunnel.
        -- Don Rickles

I've managed to get a job and renew my slow but steady growth back to financial independence.   I owe a huge debt of gratitude to a great many people who were very helpful during this trying time.  I really found out who my friends were.  So many wonderful people hauled me around town and financed entertaining evenings so my whole life wasn't sitting at home looking for work.   They gave me the few rays of sunshine in these dark times.   You all know who you are and I love you dearly.   I will do my best to, in some measure, make restitution for the debts I owe you, even though you have never asked for repayment.  It is just the right thing to do.   And if ever you find yourself in need, know that if it is in my power, I will give you the helping hand that you gave me.  

--  A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.
        -- Arnold H. Glasow

So, as I see a light at the end of the tunnel, I begin to look back at my journey and what I will do to get myself back on track.  I know I will need to get back to my food journal as I am completely off track with regard to my caloric intake.   My physical exertion is still pretty high, so if I can get the eating under control, I will find myself back on the losing side of the scale.

So I guess the answer to my question is that there are some basic needs that must be met prior to being able to really focus on my journey.   They are so intertwined that weight loss helps with all those problems and would help with the self-esteem and depression issues if it were continued.  But, this journey is such an intense mental effort in and of itself that when you are plagued with the other major problems in life, you find that it is one of the first things to be discarded.   As with all things, a balance must be reached.   Attention must be divided between all things.   And if a hiatus is demanded by life's inequities, you must promise yourself to renew your efforts as soon as is humanly possible after things have changed.  I don't know that I have great insight into how to make this all work, but if I find the solution, I will be sure to share it with you.

--  Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.
       --  Napoleon Hill

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