Don’t we often invalidate ourselves by starting with the “why” when we can’t understand something we did?
“Why can’t I just make a healthy lunch?”
“Why can’t I keep my healthy habits going?”
“Why can’t I plan ahead for my meals?”
Who feels like this at times?
Let me start with saying, “WHY” IS THE WORST WAY TO START ANY SENTENCE.
WHY? Because it automatically makes us feel useless, hopeless, insignificant, unmotivated, and insecure. Ask yourself this, “Why can’t I just get it together?” How does that make you feel? Like crap right? Like it’s never going to work and we might as well deem ourselves as failures? See, sometimes we may never know the answer to “why” and guess what? That’s OKAY!
I want to give you an example of a situation like this that happened to me a few weeks ago. I went to dinner with my fiancé at this awesome burger place that’s our normal friday night date night spot. I tend to gravitate to my usual grilled chicken or burger on a gluten free bun with a kale salad. Sometimes we share the sweet potatoes fries which are to die for! Right next door there is this insane ice cream shop. It’s not your typical Brewster’s or something, it’s homemade, insanely delicious, melt in your mouth, kinda ice cream. I was feeling satisfied after dinner and I wasn’t really in the mood for ice cream but my fiancé wanted it so I told myself I was only going to have a few bites.
So you know what happened next right? Obviously I can’t have just one bite and I’d be lying to myself if I said I could. I’m a major sucker for sweets but I still said, “I’m just going to have a bite.” We decided on the milkshake with Oreos, vanilla ice cream and bits of brownie. Ummmmm….yeah, it’s over from there. I ate half of it and afterwards said, “Why did I eat that? I didn’t even want it.”
Hello! Self-invalidation right there. Instead of beating myself up and asking why, I validated that I felt that way, offered myself some compassion, and went on with my evening. I wasn’t going to dwell on the fact that I ate it and when I did ask myself why it was because it tasted damn good!
Here’s what we can do:
1. Instead of asking why after the fact (because we are already feeling vulnerable and yucky by this point) let’s stop ourselves before and ask “what is going to be the potential outcome of this event?” Example: If I don’t make my lunch today, how is it going to affect my progress towards a healthier me?” Right there we are giving ourselves the willingness to build our self-esteems and confidence by owning that moment. That could save us a lot of “why”s after the fact.
2. If we happen to ask ourselves “why” after a situation let’s stop right there. We can come back to that and find the answer when we are feeling less exposed and vulnerable. We will have a clearer, more concise answer after we have some time to sit back and think about it mindfully.
3. Instead of the “why” ask, “what was the reason behind this.” or “how can I improve for next time”
This is all part of our growing process and tuning into how we are feeling and our actions that follow. Remember that it’s okay to acknowledge we might not always have the answers to our behaviors but we can stop the downward spiral of feeling inadequate by stopping the “whys.”
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