Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Volunteering & the Self-Esteem Connection

I just spent seven and a half hours at a training session for our local hospital in order to give away four hours of my time on a semi-regular basis at the Women's Care Center there. 
Now why... WHY... would I... a woman with 5 kids, who is already coaching (and co-coaching) two soccer teams, volunteering at a local nursing home and playing full-time mommy, school-teacher, and maid, volunteer at the local hospital?
It would sound so wonderful if I made up some elaborate reason about helping further the kindness of humanity... but the truth of the matter is... I get a break!

I love my kiddos to pieces, and I could never be without them for very long, but even I need a break every once in awhile, so that I can come home and just bask in the joy of them running out to greet me as I pull into the drive.  As a bonus, while I'm away,  I get to be an adult for a few hours, see tiny little newborn babies, have intelligent conversation with grown-up human beings, and for at least 5 hours of my day... and I get to be ME... not mommy.

Truthfully... I really do enjoy helping others.  And it's not just only because someone else's life is being enriched... it's because MY life is being enriched.  When I'm able to help someone else, I feel good about myself.  Instead of focusing on my own life stresses, I am able to put that energy towards helping someone else to feel good, or to relieve their stress.

Now, what does all this have to do with food or dieting?  The connection is in self-esteem.  When I am helping someone else... when I'm offering part of my day to give someone else a smile... I'm not so "me-focused."  And with that focus being pulled away from myself, food is suddenly not so important.  I don't really care if I skip the bread and just eat the ham, lettuce and cheese for lunch, because I'm so wrapped up with the conversation I'm having with my retired friends, Pipp & Bill, that the food I'm eating is no longer the highest priority on my lunchtime agenda.

The point of the matter here is... the more that I focus on the well-being of others, and the less that I draw attention to myself...  the facets of life that push me, and tempt me to break the diet, just fade away.

Essentially... in the end, I believe it all boils down to a self-esteem connection... The psychology behind it... well... I'm still working on that one ;)

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