I heard it said a while back that self awareness is the boobie prize and I’m starting to figure it out. It goes something like this:
You often hear the peeps say things like:
I’m an emotional eater. I always eat when I’m upset.
That’s showing self awareness. You’ve looked at your behaviour and worked out the whys. But it’s the boobie prize – in fact it’s worse than the boobie prize. It’s an “out”, an excuse for every cream cake and donut.
If you delve deeper, you can get more specific:
When my boss yells at me for something that’s not my mistake, I overeat.
At least every upsetting instance isn’t a reason for overeating. But you still aren’t changing, you’re just analysing. You need to take the next step, the biggie. The fork in the road that takes you onto the path of change (btw, does anyone else still crack up all these years later whenever they think of the “turn left at the fork in the road” joke from the Muppet Movie?)
This change is so simple but seismic:
When my boss yells at me for something that’s not my mistake, I sometimes overeat.
See what I did there? You are going from binging every time to sometimes. Even if it’s just one time in your life when you were in this situation and DIDN’T cope by overeating, it sets a pattern for the future. You can do it. Now look at why you didn’t act in your usual way on this occasion – you go busy and forgot to eat, you got distracted by shiny things, whatever.
Now you can think:
When my boss yells at me for something that’s not my mistake, sometimes I distract myself with other work.
You are totally fooling your brain into a whole new way of thinking. Sure, you might still binge sometimes but it’s not the only option. You know you can do other things; you’ve done it before.
Of course, if you listen to the self-help gurus and those people who run assertiveness training courses, the yummy pink icing on the cake is when you can say:
When my boss yells at me for something that’s not my mistake, I defuse the situation then tell him how that makes me feel.
And, you know, that works in some situations. It really does. But if anyone thinks that is the be all and end all, I’ve got some housemates they can borrow for 5 minutes! Some people are just arseholes. Some people will go out of their way to upset you just for the joy of seeing you upset (and of course some people have their own agendas that are in conflict with yours).
If you really want to clock this game, as the kiddies say (well okay, like they used to say 10 years ago), then after lots of work and effort and trying you might get to this:
When my boss yells at me for something that’s not my mistake, that’s his problem. I know my work is good.
I’m not saying this because I’m all enlightened and full of positive goodness. I’m saying this because it’s something I’ve worked on and am working on still. The thing is when someone upsets you, someone is going to lose. If you stuff down your feeling with jellycakes then you are the one losing. If you learn to cope then you win (even if you and your size tiny jeans are the only ones that know it).