How do you regard life? Is life a test, is it a battle, is it sacred? What is it for you?
This is no idle question. Our beliefs impacts heavily on how satisfied we are with our life – and, as a result the sort of decisions we make. When we are happy with the way our life is going and the way we think it should be going, nothing is a challenge. When life is not how we think it should be, we become unhappy and create unnecessary stress for ourselves and everyone else around.
The words we use about our life shape our experiences and more importantly our reactions. When life is a test that can mean that you can pass or fail. When life is a battle everything might be a fight. If life is sacred perhaps it is all about love, honor and respect for you.
If you look for something, you will find it. If your life is a test, you will constantly find yourself in situations where you are tested.
Why is this idea important to those who have found it hard to match the societal need to be slim & trim? Because the way in which we view the world creates an ideal of how life should be for us. When our life matches the ideal state we are happy, when things are not like they should be we are unhappy. And it’s going to come as no surprise when I tell you that most of us should all over ourselves most of the time. We should work harder, have a better body shape, earn more money, spend more time with our loved ones.
We say we should do these things yet why is it when we say we want these things, we continue to do quite the opposite?
If in our ideal world view we should control overeating, why is it that we can resist everything except temptation? What is it that drives us towards poor choices, inconsistent with our values and ideals?
The answer lies in understanding how we have been trained (by our society) to deal with this unhappiness and how we have allowed ourselves to become disempowered. We live in a blame culture where something, someone or even ourselves are the cause of our actions.
We have all got events in our long-term, short term or immediate history that we blame for our overeating. This or that happened to me and I feel lousy, so I’ll eat another cookie. The event or story may well be accurate but blaming an event simply preserves the identity you have created for yourself with that incident as an excuse for not making a good decision. The past is the past. It has happened and can only hurt you if you let it.
Similarly, we blame other people for the actions we take - ‘So and so said or did this to me’. So what? If you don’t like what they did, do something about it other than being a victim. Eating to console yourself only punishes one person – you, and you deserve much more than that.
When we think we cannot blame an event or a person, we blame ourselves. We waste energy telling ourselves that we are being mature by taking responsibility for our actions. Maybe, but responsibility without accountability is worthless. There is a world of difference between accepting how you reacted was not consistent with your values and admitting that the behavior demonstrates a pattern that falls short of your standards and you are going to change something so it will not happen again.
In truth, what this all boils down to is a choice between being in control and empowered or remaining a victim. In life happiness comes from growth and progress – and you have the choice today to take control of your life, accept your responsibility be empowered to make the right decisions or to remain a victim. Blaming is not really an option.
My epiphany, the changing moment in my journey came at the point in time at which I accepted that I am responsible for every morsel of food that passes my lips and for controlling my reaction to the