We talked about the things left undone, the things that nag at us from our past. We talked about having too much on our plate right now, so that some things are left undone because we don’t have capacity to do it all. We made plans to address the things we can, finish up the things on our ‘to-have-done’ list, and clear out some space to work on what’s most important to us.
Now it’s time to figure out where we want to put our energy. What is most important to us and what do we want to do?
In this blog, in support meetings, and in mindful weight coaching, I give a lot of attention to those internal thoughts we have and to the things we say to ourselves. As we become aware of our self-talk, we take time to turn negative thoughts into gentler, more affirming thoughts. We create a habit of encouraging ourselves instead of criticizing or demeaning.
What about the things we actually say out loud, in casual conversation with others, and in social media posts? Are we as careful with the words we speak as we are with the words we think? The things we choose to say have power, just as the names we give ourselves have power. (See also: “The Name Game”)
Is there something from your past that keeps you awake at night? Is there some task that you keep putting off that feels like it’s always looking over your shoulder and nagging at you? Is there something you did in the past that you wish you could do over again, maybe doing it differently this time, with more compassion or understanding?
What does it feel like in your body when you think of these things? My body gives me some pretty strong feedback when I start going down the path of regret. My stomach churns and I get a slight headache. In the past, when I used food to anesthetize my feelings, I would immediately look for something to eat to try to relieve the symptoms. Today, I think there are better ways to handle my regrets.
Recently, I was being interviewed in a format where there was a question and answer period at the end. Someone asked what to do if you are at lunch or dinner with a friend who “has a difficult relationship with food” (her words) and you realize you’ve just said something ‘diet-y.’ Do you stay quiet and pretend nothing happened? Do you apologize? What’s the best approach?
My response was to encourage this person to address it with her friend. Ask her, “how did that land on you?” or “I just realized that might have been an insensitive comment to make.” She has no idea whether her friend actually took offense or not, so it might not be necessary to lead with an apology. But what I absolutely would not do is stay quiet and pretend it didn’t happen.
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