There are so many opportunities in modern culture to fool yourself and others. You can date on the internet so you can lie about your age and how you look – at least for awhile. You an use clothing to cover up “flaws” in your body. And the list goes on. I’m concerned about how we fool other people but more concerned about how we fool ourselves. Everytime I sit and talk to a patient about their nutrition or exercise habits, I have to ask myself what am I doing in those areas? Everytime I talk to someone about stress management, I have to look at my own stress-filled life and see if I’m doing ok or am I not coping well with stress. And I’m not always doing well in any of these areas, but the least I can do is to be honest about it. When I tell the truth to myself, I avoid having the monkey chatter from my conscience. I also can avoid acting out of hopelessness and making the situation worse. I can make a choice, which I think is the hardest part of making any behavior changes. Do I want to eat those M and M’s (“but they have healthy almonds in them” my little voice says) or do I prefer to eat something that is more congruent with who I am? Sometimes, quite frankly, I choose the candy. Or I choose to lay in bed when I said I’d go to the gym.
BUT…I am honest to myself about it. I try not to make excuses or justify why I did something that was not in my best interest. Instead, I try to re-align with my own highest self, my soul’s true desire which is always to keep me healthy, happy, alive and kicking! I re-align in every moment of every day to keep strengthening the part of me that wants to be true to myself and weakening the part of me that would prefer to give up and just watch TV all day or eat that bag of cookies.
So, when I hear that little child-like voice telling me to do something that I could get away with when I was a kid (and by the way, as a kid, I was riding my bike up big hills as I ran my paper route and then swimming all day long), i remind myself that I’m all grown up now and I have other goals and responsibilities -things that I chose in my life – either directly or unconsciously. And I remind myself most of all that when I sell out on myself, I am not happy in the long run. While the quick fix may feel good for a minute or an hour, it doesn’t last long. Do I really want to trade 5 minutes of happiness for a lifetime of happiness? Not usually.