Mind and Body | Mark’s Remarks - Republic-Times | News

Mind and Body | Mark’s Remarks

By on September 26, 2018 at 10:45 am

I’ve said before that I come from a long line of grudge-holders. I can’t blame my family too much, though. In the day and age that I grew up in, holding a grudge was common place.

If someone wronged you, you either stopped talking to them or shunned them along with anyone else they wronged.  Communication didn’t seem to be in vogue for quite some time, and small midwestern towns are behind the times anyway.

Communication is still not a high priority for some people, and ceasing to speak to someone is the ultimate small-town punishment. For many, it’s just easier to stop speaking, hold a grudge and live that way.

Although I’m a proponent of being up front and communicating and getting things out in the open, I will tell you I don’t always find that it’s easy. As you may guess, I communicate well in written form, which is to me a bit cowardly. It’s easier for me to shoot off an email or write a letter.  I’m brave when I’m writing or typing. I almost always regret sending letters or emails with harsh words, or even total truth.

It’s taken me a good half-century to learn better ways to handle stuff and I still don’t always do it the right way.

I also have a hard time letting go of things. I always think I can somehow get my point across and work things out.  Still, there are other times I prefer to just “bull up,” as my family used to say. It helps, or so I think, to pout and refuse to talk to someone. When you are locked in “12-year-old” mode, you seem to think you are punishing someone by not speaking to them.

It never helps for long periods of time, because things go unresolved.

I read a great article the other day about how our minds and bodies are connected. Although I had heard it all before, it was a good refresher to hear that things like depression, guilt, anger and low self-esteem often coincide with weight gain or difficulty with weight loss.  Lots of folks, including myself, use food as a crutch, either eating for comfort or eating to deal with stress. A lot of people eat instead of dealing with things.

An unforgiving attitude goes right along with the weight gain cycle. You see, bitterness and being unforgiving is really a sin and often this type of attitude causes us to eat or drink too much. Or both. Bitterness and unforgiveness  poison our spiritual bodies, and the more it’s allowed to go on the more we fail at loving.

A hardened heart can manifest itself in obesity.

I’m not saying I am extremely overweight, but I was at one time told by my doctor that I was too heavy for my size and age. Recently, I’ve gotten on a pretty healthy cycle and I’m encouraged. I have also found that getting a good attitude about taking care of yourself starts to change your ideals about people, forgiveness and letting things go.

There have been plenty of instances that I have decided to harbor and hang on to over the years.  I can summon things that have happened in my childhood and the feelings are just as raw and unpleasant as they were then. I remember things people said and I get angry again. I am bitter toward people for hurting me.

If someone has “wronged” my family in any way, the bitterness is stronger and I tend to hang onto it harder. One of my worst triggers is if someone has mistreated my wife and kids.

Here’s the deal: In most cases, there are other reasons someone does something to us to upset us. There are so many times the other person doesn’t even remember what they did.  Much of what we hold grudges about is plain old miscommunication, which is pretty crazy.

Our heart attitude toward others and life in general will affect our health. I’m not saying every overweight person is bitter or unforgiving, but I’m saying there is a definite connection between being unhealthy and what goes on in our heads.

There are people who almost enjoy being involved in strife and drama. They live for it. It’s always interesting to watch those folks operate. If someone or something isn’t whipped into a tizzy, they seem unhappy. I believe people get this way after years of unhealthy habits.

Lately, I’ve tried to ask myself a few questions when someone ticks me off: Does this person know what he/she is doing? What is the background of this person? How was this person raised? Is this person really trying to get at me?

There are several questions we can ask ourselves when someone hurts us, and it usually boils down to another old adage: “It’s their problem, not mine.”

I’ve also found it liberating to just speak up. There are ways of addressing a problem without being a big jerk.  And sometimes I think it’s OK to be blunt.  But a good rule of thumb is to wait. Never act upon something until you’ve had time to think.

And even if you make things uncomfortable for a little while, it’s sure better than carrying a big hunk of unforgiveness around in you.   

Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.