In last week's post, entitled "Are You Fooling Yourself?", I asked some provocative questions and said some provocative things about the ways in which we can fool ourselves about our health, wellness, and self care practices. I mentioned denial, bargaining, and the ways in which we attempt to deceive ourselves into delusional beliefs, or simply trick ourselves into thinking that what we're choosing to do is okay, even if we know deeply that it's not. Do you resonate with that notion? I do!
I wrote the following in last week's post:
We can bargain our way into (or out of) anything if we really set our minds to it, and we can fool ourselves pretty well in the process.
If you're going to bargain with yourself (or God, or what have you), bargain for good things. Instead of saying, "OK, I'll have no sweets for two months if I can eat this slice of birthday cake right now," you can instead say, "If I don't eat this slice of birthday cake, I'll reward myself with a movie and a hot tub on Friday!" Now, that's a bargain that could be worth striking (especially if you like movies and hot tubs!)
Sure, you can bargain, but why not be honest with yourself, choosing to bargain for the good things? Sure, that slice of birthday cake might bring you momentary happiness and a rush of dopamine into your bloodstream, but won't it also bring a massive output of insulin from your pancreas, an emotional feeling of letdown, and a sense that you've talked yourself into something you didn't need yet again? I'd much rather bargain for the hot tub and movie, myself.
What do you think about bargaining for the really good stuff?
Honesty is Still the Best Policy
When it comes to your health and self-care, honesty is still the best policy in all things. If you choose to smoke a cigarette, eat that slice of birthday cake, or otherwise engage in things that are less than fruitful for you, why not be honest about it? You don't have to tell anyone else about what you did (unless it would be helpful for you to do so), but you can admit your shortcomings or poor choices to yourself, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and make an honest effort to put your best foot forward in this moment.
Dust Yourself Off
Speaking of dusting yourself off, while it doesn't feel that great to make a big error of judgment vis-a-vis your health (ie: the cigarette or cake), there's always a chance for redemption. And when I say "redemption", I don't mean punishment or self-castigation.
Dusting yourself off after a sugar bender or a major pig-out session at the local BBQ doesn't mean that you dust yourself off with a whip and a chair. It means that you acknowledge your errors, try to mitigate any negative consequences that you suffered (elevated blood sugar, etc), and then gently guide yourself back to your center. This isn't about self-blame, just changing course back to where you need to be.
Look in the Mirror
So, look in the mirror, be honest, be reflective, and use the truth to set yourself free from self-blame, and from practices that involve fooling yourself to one degree or another.
If you're honest with yourself and admit your shortcomings while also trying to do better, you're on course for improved self-care, and a healthier relationship with your body, your mind, and your heart.