It was awfully humiliating, but luckily it’s not what you think. In my last post, I described how my intuition helps me out in the form of recurring dreams. This peeing incident was just a different recurring theme making its rounds in my head. From plane crashes to climbing down steep mountainsides, these dreams always have a message to deliver to me. Once I get the message and act on it, the dreams move on.
I’m afraid that things are getting even freakier than plane crashes and fear of heights.
In this latest series of dreams, I have to pee. Sometimes I’m sitting on a toilet while a friend is whispering something in my ear. While this seems like perfectly acceptable behavior in my dream, that’s a little too close for comfort in my waking life. Sometimes I enter a public bathroom, and as hard as I try to pick a stall, a series of nonsensical stuff happens that prevents me from getting into one. Or every bathroom stall is filthy and overflowing with the kind of crap you wouldn’t want me to describe here. Or sometimes the toilet is too high for this germaphobe (that’s me) to squat over it (because I refuse to sit, you know.) In case you were wondering, only once did I wake myself up peeing, thinking I was on the toilet. I caught it instantly, so there were no soiled sheets. I swear, it only barely happened once.
Have I mentioned yet how awful this dream is? First, it’s physically uncomfortable. It doesn’t feel like a relief or a release. Second, it’s a total mind f*ck. Every time I sit on a toilet while I’m awake, I second guess whether it’s okay to let it all go or not. And even worse than those 2 things, the mental images in the dream are just plain nasty.
So what the heck does this nightmare mean anyway?
According to DreamMoods.com, this dream depicts the need to “relieve” oneself from burdensome feelings, or fear of being judged and criticized for these feelings. I better figure this one out soon, so I can end this misery STAT (that means now for those of you who don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy.)
Last week as I was reflecting on these dreams, the answers occurred to me, and I thought I would have to suffer through this awful experience no more. But last night, my cleaning lady caught me peeing in the sink. It was really embarrassing, and on top of that I had to wipe up the pee that was overflowing onto the floor, so I could hide this shameful act I had just committed.
Alas, I guess enlightenment and change don’t always come so easily.
So maybe if I confront the fears of being judged and criticized right here on my blog, I can end this dream once and for all.
When I left dentistry, I felt comfortable revealing my hidden true feelings about it because I no longer had to worry about my reputation or offending patients that I cared about. (Besides, only about 20 people were supposed to read it anyway.) Now I feel like I have to be really well-behaved when it comes to my new career. By “well-behaved,” I mean that I can only say positive things about the livelihood, and I must avoid anything that could be offensive or even negative. (Ever seen the movie PCU? I’m talking about those extremes.) While it may be more “appropriate,” that’s not real, and can actually be just phony.
Warning: weight loss is a sensitive issue for some. The following content may offend (or even bore.) That is not my intention. If you are EASILY offended by others’ comments and will decide to make this about you and become defensive, just skip down to the bottom of this post, click the like button, and we’ll all be happy.
Disclaimer: I am simplifying a few of my many thoughts here with the intention of keeping this post as short as possible. Though I might not directly address it below, I do have compassion for people and their individual struggles, food addiction, and emotional eating issues. I also know weight loss is a far more complex matter than what I am addressing here. And dammit, it’s hard to be hungry and feel like you’re depriving yourself.
In case you’ve missed it, I run a weight loss program. It’s a great fit for me because I love helping people change their lives and achieve improved health and weight loss. I enjoy the day-to-day process of teaching them and strategizing how to make their lifestyle changes work for them. That is fun stuff for me. It’s all the stuff I enjoyed about Dentistry– teaching, consulting, and problem-solving. Plus, I am passionate about food and healthy living. But lately some thoughts and feelings have been surfacing; thoughts that I think I was hiding from myself. (That seems to be the message of the dream, right?)
Some of the challenges of weight loss frustrate and sadden me.
This problem really stems from my desire to control everything around me: outcomes, people, their behavior. I used to base my own success on other people’s results. Old habits are hard to break, but I’m working on it and improving. I hate to say this because I don’t want to believe it, but there are many people who just can’t do it. They can’t lose weight, and they can’t change. Even with the right tools and support, they continue to sabotage their success. I help people with the daily challenges they might have adopting a new lifestyle, and I’ve noticed a common theme with the people who are successful at it. They simply see a problem and find a solution for it. To them, there is no other choice. The solution always requires them to change, but a reasonable solution is available. (I’m talking about waking up 5 minutes earlier to eat breakfast; or carrying a healthy snack with them, so they don’t stop at the McDonald’s drive-thru.) While I love these success stories, I sadly see some failures too. The people who fail to reach their goals see every problem as insurmountable; to them the problem is so big, that it’s all they see. I’m not saying the solutions are always easy, but they do always exist.
Are we willing to see solutions to our problems, or just excuses? What sacrifices are you willing to make to achieve a desired result? When it comes to your health, are you worth it?
Sometimes I get so discouraged that I feel like I care about my clients’ health more than they do… even though I know that’s not always the case. This is not new for me. In the past, I often felt this same desire to control my dental patients, despite knowing that this mindset was all wrong. I wanted what I thought (and often knew as a health care provider) was best for them. The good news is things are different now. Even though I acknowledge and write these feelings here, I admit this is only a small burden that occasionally blurs my outlook. I am now more capable of grasping the idea that we each own our individual problems. I recognize that the fact that I want to control other people is my problem, just as their diabetes and high cholesterol is their problem. While I sometimes get discouraged, I try to remember that we are all doing the best we can.
But where is the sweet spot between caring and apathy?
It’s easy to take the other extreme and think that I am simply providing the tools, and they can do what they want with it. I tried that as a dentist, but I felt myself slipping into apathy. My apathy was a defense mechanism that protected myself from being disappointed. It is easier to not care than to feel disheartened, but it’s no way to live each day of your life.
This brings me to my next question.
Have you ever thought about WHY and HOW the weight loss industry is a billion dollar industry?
The industry thrives because of people’s inability to succeed. How very sad. I want my business to be successful because of the success it breeds, not because some poor soul has failed over and over and is looking for the “next best thing” in weight loss. I don’t want to prosper because someone else fails. Oh, there go my control issues again.
There. I said it. This was the hardest post I’ve ever had to write. So can you please go away now, pee dreams?
It doesn’t end here. Recently the airplane dream returned. This time I’m in a crowded airport. This is an indication of approaching a new departure in life. Some new idea is taking off or is ready to take off. This could be a new relationship, new career path, or new adventure. Hmm…. who knows? I have a feeling there may be even more excitement coming my way.
Until then, I’m curious to know: do you ever struggle with the balance between caring and apathy? How do you handle it?