I Deserve It!
By Cheryl Hansen
I’ve been avoiding a much-needed gut check. “Why,” I’ve been asking myself, “do I revert to old habits? Why do I abandon successful strategies when I’m stressed or happy or tired or overwhelmed?”
For weeks, I’ve refused to answer my own questions. It seems like this conversation with myself calls for oodles of time, total silence (save for a few encouraging birds tweeting), sunshine, spreadsheets, search engines and some kind of cushioned seating area. In other words, it never seemed convenient, which is convenient for someone actively avoiding said gut check.
But on the way to yoga this morning, I called BS on myself. Turns out I didn’t need all that much time, cushions or resource material.
- I turn to sweets and treats during times of stress because I feel like I deserve sugar since something difficult or uncomfortable has occurred.
- I skip walks and yoga class when I’m overworked or overtired because I feel like I deserve a break.
- I indulge in unhealthy foods in unhealthy quantities when something goes well because I feel like I deserve to celebrate.
- I treat my children and friends to copious amounts of high-cal food because I feel they deserve a joyful outing with me (and I deserve one with them, of course).
- I grab a bag of candy at the end of an average day because I feel like I deserve candy because I made it through the day (as if that was unexpected).
I could go on, of course, but the pattern is pretty clear. I have a completely effed-up idea of what constitutes a reward. Indulging in what is basically poison—at least to me—should not be awarded for a job well done… or to soothe a wound of any kind. Surely, there are better payoffs that actually make me feel good in the moment and hours later. I’m setting myself up for failure simply be defining these behaviors and foods as special and rewarding and fun. No wonder I feel deprived when I’m practicing healthy living. I am eliminating what I still consider the good stuff.
But it’s not. It’s life sucking. It’s headache inducing. It’s energy zapping. It’s self-confidence killing. I deserve better.
I deserve better.
My job, therefore, is to establish new rewards. Healthy rewards. I need to be real, however, because a bowl of broccoli or a bubble bath probably won’t cut it in the moment. But I feel strongly that this is perhaps the most important step I need to take. Knowing the right way to behave and doing the right things only takes me so far if deep down I feel like I’m abandoning something of value to me intuitively. Before I can change my habits, before I can change my body, before I can change my overall health—I need to change my mind.