What do you say to someone who doesn’t approve of the healthy life style changes you make? This person may say that you aren’t fun anymore or urge you on, saying “just have one!”
What do you do if the person saying this is your spouse, best friend or brother?
What if the person saying it is you? You know, that quiet inner voice that whispers that you should have just one drink or just a few more potato chips because you deserve it. What then?
These were some of the questions raised at the last Virtual Moderation Management meeting I held. Great questions and ones that those of us working toward a healthier life style are all too familiar with. The answer seems pretty simple and goes back to that old saying, “would you jump off a bridge if all your friends were doing it?” Of course, everyone says that they wouldn’t but what if the person wanting you to jump really loves you? Or, what if there is a part of you that does want to jump? That makes the decision to stay on dry ground much harder right?
You would think that peer pressure would end after high school but as you probably know, this behavior continues well into adulthood! First, let’s talk about the reason why this happens. Why would someone who loves you tell you tell you to make bad choices? Here are a few that I have come up with…
1. They don’t like to see you succeeding and making better choices. Meaning, they may be a little jealous.
2. They are uncomfortable doing things they know are bad for them without a partner in crime.
3. They don’t like you as much unless you are indulging.
4. They know the old you well and are unsure how to react to the new person they are with.
5. They are afraid they won’t have anything in common with you anymore. Like one of you won’t fit in.
Ugh! Right? These reasons don’t sound all that great! I hope people who love me are not thinking these things! To be fair though, (and before your face turns bright red) remember these people probably have no idea why they want you to give in to bad habits. Maybe there is a good reason for it, I AM having a hard time coming up with some good reasons though…
The answer is pretty simple, you shouldn’t listen to what anyone else has to say about the decision to better yourself. It is your body and nobody else’s business, except maybe your doctor. If you start worrying about what people are thinking of you, the chances you will give in to cravings are much greater. You also have no way of knowing what people think and trying to figure it out why is pointless. So, communicate! If it the person really loves you, they truly want the best for you. Explain to them how important it is to you to change your habits and how great you are feeling doing so. If this doesn’t work then maybe it’s time to find some new friends or go to a counselor.
Alright, what about the inner voice telling you to give in? That one can be a little bit more difficult to deal with because, it never stops talking! One possible option is to quiet your mind with the use of mindful meditation. You do this by doing every activity mindfully and paying full attention to the present moment. Try this, every time that voice starts talking, go back to how the sun feels on your face, the way the clean laundry you are folding smells, or even how fun it is to watch your kid play. Doing this takes a bit of practice but it will definitely quiet that voice in your head.
Speaking of that voice in your head, why not give it a name? A friend of mine from the group, Moderation Management came up a name for her inner voice, something funny and fitting and I thought it was a great idea! This is such a good idea because it separates you from your thoughts, making you an observer and so it’s much easier to tell it to shut up!
To sum things up...
If you are struggling with peer pressure from someone you love, talk to them! I truly believe that communication ends most problems, even the really big ones!
If you have annoying voice in your head telling you to do the things you have decided are bad for you, try some mindful meditation and give the voice a name! I want to hear what names you come up with, so post them below!