How to Be Okay With Taking Care of Yourself

Taking Care of YourselfLast week we had a great exchange on the web-based program. Actually, we have a lot of those. It’s always such an incredibly open, respectful environment for sharing and learning. But this one in particular mirrored a recent article in which I discussed how to be okay with and taking care of yourself when you know others are upset with you. So I thought I’d share an excerpt of our dialogue here to help you to truly step free of the self-compromise and self-judgement that keeps you using food to cope. The main story that was causing this individual such stress was this one: “I am telling myself that it is impossible to make a decision which is honouring to my values AND guaranteed not to hurt others. (To, me that seems true.)” My response was something like this: That is true! You can’t guarantee that you won’t “hurt” or “offend” or downright “piss off” others when you take care of yourself. That’s the whole point. In order for you to live your life fully and to be the best you can be; to feel truly passionate and alive and confident and secure; you have to know that it’s okay if others are pissed off by your choices because your responsibility is to yourself first and foremost and not to anyone else. If doing what is truly right for you doesn’t work for someone else, so what? You are not responsible for others. Your value system will ensure that you consider the needs of others. You are not going to become a narcissistic, selfish B.I.T.C.H. by taking care of yourself. What you actually become is a strong, confident, secure woman who knows what she feels and needs and doesn’t let others tell her otherwise; Someone who really can be there for others because she’s so there for herself; Someone others truly respect because they know they can trust that whatever you are doing it’s what you really want to do, not what you feel guilted or obligated to do. Having a ratio of 75% Internal Locus of Control to 25% External Locus of Control doesn’t mean we compromise ourselves and do what others want 1/4 of the time – it means we consider the needs of others but we always give more weight to our needs and only agree to a solution that really feels good to us, not one whose primary purpose is to avoid disappointing or angering others. So, you’re not out to lunch. Taking care of yourself means that sometimes people will not get what they need from you. But unless you’ve signed a contract to put others first and to not get what you need until everyone else is happy, happy, happy, that’s not actually your concern. What I have discovered as I have continued on my journey from full-on co-dependence to interdependence, is that the people who are healthy and who recognize their own responsibility for their life as well as appreciate and respect my responsibility for my own, are only too willing to work with me to find a mutually beneficial solution when we seem, at least initially, to be at cross purposes. And those who really believe that the world, and me included, owes them something, aren’t in my life anymore because they needed people they could control and I’m no longer that. It’s not a loss, it’s a great freedom. I encourage you, the next time you feel that your needs and someone else’s are in conflict to say this: “I care about you and about our relationship. I want us both to be happy. I will work with you to find a solution that really feels good to both of us. What is it that you really need/what is most important to you about X?  Here’s what’s most important to me about X…. How can be both get what we need? Let’s commit to not making a decision about this until we both feel good about it.” There’s no rush. Take your time. Let these dialogues happen over a few conversations and you’ll see how, except in abusive relationships, you can always find a way for both parties to get what they need. So, even though the original story: “I am telling myself that it is impossible to make a decision which is honouring to my values AND guaranteed not to hurt others. (To, me that seems true.)” is true, you no longer have to finish that story with: “and that means I can’t get what I need/want because someone will be upset with me.” Now, instead your statement can be: “I am committed to ensuring that I get what I need/want. That is my fundamental responsibility to myself. I am open to how and when my needs might get met, but I will ensure that they do. I will do what I can to ensure that the other person in this situation also gets what they need but I am not going to sacrifice my needs for them. I am not responsible for the needs of other people. I am responsible for honouring my values and principles and for taking the best care of myself that I can. In that way, I will be the most confident, secure and respectful person I am capable of being.” (P.S. You will also find an immediate and drastic reduction in any use of food to cope and any bad body thoughts when you begin to approach the world from this perspective. They are directly linked. Your co-dependent approach to the world, that leads you to compromise yourself and thus to lack trust in your ability to take care of yourself, will dissolve when you begin to apply this approach to meeting your needs in relationship. Guaranteed!) Love, The CEDRIC Centre - Michelle Morand Whether you prefer one-on-one counselling (in-person, by phone, or email), our intensive and transformative workshops, the self-help approach, with the book, or our Food is Not the Problem Online Membership Program, take action today to have a stress-free relationship with food. Sign up for our free newsletter today (see the left top side of your screen). Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive product discounts and are first in line to get on all the latest new at CEDRIC. © Michelle Morand, 2010

Posted in: 2010, CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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  1. helani July 3, 2010

    I was sitting here at home alone, as usual, thinking about food. I had eaten my regular healthy meals and I was not hungry but the obsessive food thoughts played in my head. I made a decision to do things differently this time and did not ‘react’ to the food craving which was not in my stomach , but my head.
    I wrote in my journal , observing my feelings of loneliness and emptiness and listened to the stories i built of how unloveable and excluded i was. then, i wrote a list of things that i could do to ‘distract and self-soothe.’

    journalling helped a lot to refocus. also, my hands were to busy writing to fall into the mindless nibbling ritual. i used colored pens to amuse myself and used fancy writing styles and doodles. other options did not feel like a fit; sitting on the beach alone felt too lonely, so did walking. my friends were unavailable, i was tired of reading self help books and tv was not a healthy option for me. i sat in quiet reflection and let my sadness arise, and offered myself what i needed; not food, but compassion, breathing loving thoughts into my own heart and rocking myself gently. comforting words helped me; ‘this too shall pass’ ‘i am avoiding the consequences of poor food choices,’ i told myself.

    then a thought struck. read michelle’s newsletter and look for support that i need right now! this is the first time i did this. it is a healthy option…a place where i find wisdom and strength to see me through the night…knowing that michelle has been through the same trials. id do not feel so alone.

    i was taking care of myself big time ! i am pleased that i encouraged myself to go through ‘the process’ instead of turning to old programmed escape habits .

    thank you for you help

  2. Suzanne July 5, 2010

    I love our new and eloquently expressed statement. I copied it on recipe cards and am keeping one in my purse, one on my fridge door and one as a bookmark on my night table. This is my new core belief and for the next 5 days (5X to change and old belief, right?), I will be reading it 5X a day. Theoretically, I know that means it should be entrenched in the first day, but I’ve had a lot of practice in the old belief, so I’ll give it 5 days. ; -) I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Thank you for this treasure.


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