Self esteem and habits

cat poster

I started an email chain with my siblings about organization, and one of them said that good habits come down to self esteem, which is a very complicated thing for me and I said I would put it in a blog.  When I think of self esteem, I think of confidence, self indulgence, self care, self worth and self efficacy.  I suppose validation comes in somewhere in there, but I’m not sure what it means, really.

It’s like how I sat through two of my psychology professors asking “We’re all clear on shame and guilt, right?” and I didn’t put my hand up.  And my hand is always up.  (Guilt is knowing something you did was bad, shame is thinking you are bad.)  Well, l can quickly ask Merriam Webster.  Validation 2.b: to recognize, establish, or illustrate the worthiness or legitimacy of <validate his concerns.  And while we’re at it, Approval: the belief that something or someone is good or acceptable.

Confidence is the first word I learned to elucidate self esteem.  This was from a book which I believe was called “Confronting the myth of self esteem” which started with kids getting a badge that said “I am loveable”.  They said it is better to say “I am loved.”  There was also a weird parable about how love is for giving to other people, not heaping on yourself.  I see confidence as a spiritual fruit of humility, charity and virtue.  (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45.  It is somewhat the opposite of self indulgence.  This was very characteristic of my 12 step recovery years.  I was gentle on myself, but what I considered my spiritual self, not the self that the world markets to.

The a few years ago, nearly several now, I got involved in lifestyle change.  I worked a lot on finding positive motivations rather than being tough on myself.  I came across the idea of self care in a talk my brother in law (an LMFT) gave on the idea of loving yourself.  He also talked about self worth as an understanding that you are unique.  He was more convincing than that probably sounds.  He presented it as a compliment to self efficacy.

So I was very interested in self care for the next couple of years, that we have a need to be involved in taking care of ourselves.  Though it has come to my attention that my husband thinks I am too self sufficient.  This goes back to the 12 step recovery, which I started out with overeating but eventually worked on codependency.  As I conceived of it, self care is about what you are moving toward rather than what you are escaping.  It fills a need we have to be developing and growing.  I think this is a spiritual need, though you see it in humanist psychology.  I guess it depends on what you think the target of development is.

I had misunderstood self efficacy to be about external results. But it’s actually a theory where belief that you can do something increases your ability to do it, which leads to improved results, which in turn increases your belief.  So it incorporates both practicality, but also “belief” which is a word I struggle with.  I guess in my own history belief is the early stages of faith.  But when used in behavioral science, I don’t really know what it’s supposed to mean.  It smacks of magic feathers and placebos.  I know the effect is real, but it is too often allied with illusion.  I prefer words like expectation and trust.  I guess faith is spiritual, expectation is mental, trust is emotional but belief is… I don’t know.

Maybe that’s why I struggle with stuff. If faith is knowledge of things which are not seen which are true, it’s as if belief is the same but for things that are not true, or if I want to be generous, not yet true.  To believe a pill or magic feather will work puts belief in an external agent.  Believing in yourself is another matter, though.  I guess it is the word Morpheus uses toward the end of the Matrix.  And of course Vitruvius brings it back to the knowledge that you are unique.


If clutter were fat

I’ve been pondering my day 2 commitment that involves choosing 2 plans.  I’m not really familiar with organizing the same way I am with diets, but then there was a time I didn’t know diets backwards and forwards.

I did flylady back when it was a yahoo group.  I even worked with the root she sprang from, Sidetracked Home Executives.  I read an article about the Kondo “does this spark joy” method.  I read the 7 habits of highly effective people once upon a time, and it had some applicability, I guess.

I just really want to draw a correlation to a sound nutritional and exercise plan, though.  So here we go.

Paper/books:  The trouble with paper is that it arrives by mail every day.  Or in the kids backpacks.  Or you are in school yourself.  There are some variants like books, music and movie media or games, though those have to be purchased at least.

Clothes:  They say clothes make the man, and some of us hang onto clothing as if our lives depended on it.  I understand.  I’ve gained and lost weight over the years, and know how on the one hand we hope we will someday fit something but also hang onto the big stuff in case we need that too.

Knick knacks:  I don’t have a terrible time with these, I wouldn’t say, unless I expanded it to include hobby supplies.  (ouch).  These can especially be hard to get rid of if they are memorabililia or gifts.  I’ve never been able to collect things, but I can see the allure.

A lot of programs will challenge you to rid yourself of the things that vex you most.  Something we learn in nutrition, though, is that eliminating every instance of things, even the things that should be limited, is not healthy.  You need some salt and some fat, even if it’s about half what people choose to eat left to themselves.  Sugar is debatable, but it does have protein sparing effect.   So I’ll posit that clothes are like fat, paper and media are like salt, and knick knacks are like sugar.  These are the things we need less of.  Knick knacks we don’t technically need, but how realistic is that?

What happens with these things in the body is they cause metabolic embargo, aka insulin resistance and hypertension, and the more of them you get, the more you actually want to eat because even though you are eating plenty, your cells can’t get what they need.  I think these sources of frequent clutter are also similar in that we get them as gifts from other people.  Enduring social pressure to eat things that are not on plan is a major aspect of the Beck Diet solution.

So what do we want more of?  In nutrition there are things that are better to eat, and then there is exercise.  We tend to think of nutrition and exercise as different things, and it is possible to lose weight without exercising a lot, but 90% of people who maintain weight loss long term exercise.

I feel that time management is key.  There’s two sides to this: getting started and seeing things through.  Both involve resisting procrastination.  Since they are closely related but distinct, I would term them as being like fruits and vegetables.  Similar in importance is goal setting, which I would compare to water.

So what can be compared to protein?  I’m not really sure yet.  Maybe if I knew, I wouldn’t have the problems I do.

One way I think I am going to shake up my plan is to alternate the tasks I start days off with, because I tend to run out of time for my PM task.  I’ve been doing decluttering in the morning.  I consider decluttering to be like exercise.  I suppose I should define that by decluttering, I mean going through boxes that have things in them.  Some of the things are useful, some are nice, and some I just didn’t know what else to do so they wound up in a box.  It seems to me that a signature of clutter is that the stuff winds up grouped temporally instead of functionally or spatially.

Two kinds of procrastination

There’s doing something leisurely instead of doing what you know you should, and there’s “thinking about it tomorrow” which happens during cleaning, when not accompanied by organizing.

Organizing doesn’t have to involve discarding today.  It does involve putting things “where they belong” so they can be accessed when needed.

Aren’t people with OCD supposed to be neat freaks?

And therein lies the problem.  I was thinking about it today, as I took a pair of tweezers away from my preschooler and threw them in a high place with a lot of writing implements.  Part of the reason we wind up crisis cleaning is we can’t figure out where to put stuff to begin with, because so many things are not neatly categorized.  And categories depend on what you’re trying to accomplish.  Kind of like how tomatoes are a vegetable for purposes of interstate commerce, but a fruit to biologists, and a true berry to botanists.

So I guess the trick is always asking first and foremost, When I want to be able to find this again, where would I look for it?

I didn’t have a super worth it memory from my actual organizing today, though I did find myself in possession of 3 pairs of scissors.  Scissors are my totem for a think I know I own but can never find when I need them, and my husband threatens to buy more.

Worth it memory 1

Today I started getting the West basement room ready for carpet.  I moved 3 shelves, 2 from the room itself and 1 out of the way of another shelf.  And I remembered that I really love rearranging furniture.  I also felt very good about being able to complete those 3 tasks.  I don’t know if I would have guessed I could accomplish all that, but I did.  In doing so, I found a lot of space on the shelves.  It’s good, every now and then, to defragment a shelf.

Beck [problem] Solution, 1 and 2

1.  A friend is working the Beck Diet Solution on a forum, and I thought I’d go through some of the exercises relative to chronic disorganization.  The idea is that the particular diet is not the issue, but cheating, giving up, and sabotaging yourself.

Task — List the advantages of you accomplishing your goal).  Write these down and review them twice a day.

My overall goal is to keep a home where anyone would feel comfortable.  (like the congregation lay leader.)  There are a couple of traps I fall into.  One is that because I can’t find stuff, I have to buy new stuff.  Another is that when I crisis clean, I shove stuff in boxes or bags without rhyme and reason, which leads to not being able to find stuff.

My home is a place I can feel comfortable hosting anyone.

I can find things I need and avoid unnecessary purchases.

Maintaining my home will prevent crisis clutter.

The second task, if I were doing BDS, is to choose two diets, so that if my first one doesn’t work out, I have a fall back.  The thing is, chronic disorganization schemes don’t seem as straightforward to me as diets.  But this is coming from several years of successful dieting.  I think there was a time diet was very complicated for me… when I wasn’t doing it well.  Diets can either address how much you eat or the quality of what you eat.  That seems to be a principle I can work with.

There’s form and function.  Form is if the public areas of the house (Dining room, living room, and in our case kitchen) look presentable.  Function is whether there is order and sanitation in the private areas.  So like a reasonable diet needs to address quantity and quality, mine organization plan needs to address both.

I’ve tried flylady several times over the years, and I guess that will be my backup plan.  I think my first line will be to spend 30 minutes on a public room per day, and then spend 30 minutes decluttering or organizing.