Are You A Rebellious Child?
Whether you’re trying to stick to some new health, spending or relationship goals - the likelihood is that at some point you hit the point where you self-sabotage and rebel against the new ‘rules’ that you put into place. How do you prevent that..? Start with your mindset...
The struggle is real
So I’m sitting at the spa (it’s for a meeting don’t worry, sadly not for a pamper) and I’m served a gorgeous frothy cappuccino...and a slice of biscotti. Not just any biscotti - my favourite, pistachio and cranberry. Oh my days...I glare, drooling at the seductive sight on my saucer. How did they know this was my all time favourite biscuit..?! It’s only a piece of biscotti. A small piece. I deserve it. I’ve worked really hard, I’ve missed lunch. It would be rude not to. I want to do business with these people - I can’t leave the biscotti...right? I’m not an animal, I can have one piece without buying another five to take home with me to eat in the car on the way home, surely?
Here’s the deal
So is it only me that has these little conversations and makes these little deals with stuff in their head? Well, I know the answer to that one. It isn’t only me. Sometimes it’s the biscotti like today, other times it’s to have 10 more minutes in bed, or a glass of wine (ok more than one glass, don’t judge me). Other times it’s the negotiation of whether or not to do the workout. Or maybe the deal I make with myself about what I won’t buy if I decide in the moment to buy a new pair of boots that I’ve seen (when I already have three pairs that look pretty similar but haven’t got quite the right heel..).
Good cop bad cop
I often have these little conversations in my head and I have my very own, ‘Good cop, bad cop’ thing going on! I get all controlling with myself and tell myself I ‘can’t’ have it - which is like a red rag to a bull. So then I convince myself that I deserve it…dangerous ground! Why should I not have it. It’s not like I go out drinking or smoke - I don’t spend that much on myself. I didn’t eat dessert yesterday so this giant-melt-in-the-middle-muffin with my latte today is a no-brainer..! Nobody is going to tell me what I can or cannot have (mental image of me as a five year old stomping my feet!).
Today however, today was different. I decided that I could have it, if i wanted it and asked myself how much I wanted it. I gave myself permission, instead of telling myself that I couldn’t have it and eating it out of some misguided rebellious glee.
And then something miraculous happened - I didn’t want it any more.
The emerald and ruby studded italian temptress then just looked like a bit of dry biscuit. It lost its sparkle. It’s power was gone. The shift in my mindset from saying, “No, you can’t have it!” to, “How much do you want it? Go ahead then if that’s your choice.” totally freed me up from wanting it as an act of rebellion against myself.
Take a different approach
You see, we know this with our kids - tell them no and whhhoooosh! Watch them go! My son is five (almost six as he reminds me frequently and the word ‘No’, to him is like catnip! He goes into meltdown mode pretty quickly and then really starts to dig his heels in and tell me all the reasons why he should have that jelly / toy / extra ten minutes out of bed. The rebellious side of him just takes over because he doesn’t like to not be in control. Whereas if I say to him, “What are our rules around jellies?” he is usually happy to reply with something like, “We don’t eat them on a school day.” And it ends there! Not always..!
Create mental space
Even as grown ups (I still have to remind me that I fit in that category these days), we like to feel we have options, feel that it’s our choice, feel like we are ‘in control’. So we have to get better at talking to ourselves differently. Asking ourselves the right questions when we have these impulses, creating space to take a breath and make some positive conscious decisions between the impulse and the action. The space there just gives you a reflective moment to make the decision - rather than acting as if and excusing your behaviour that a force greater than you came over than you and poured out that extra large glass of red wine. It was a thought, a decision and an action, whether we want to admit that or not!
So stop trying to ‘control’ yourself, exercise choice instead. Give yourself permission or choose a different action. One you’re likely to be much prouder of in the days and weeks to come.
Love and hugs,
Donna & Cheryl xx