A few weeks’ ago, I found myself at an event where I pretty much ate everything that wasn’t an inedible part of the table.
I ordered things from the menu that I never eat. Mostly because they don’t make my body feel good and they don’t even call to me in that seductive voice — the one that sugars sounds like when she draws me in to her. Sugar, on the other hand, I know her voice. I get her.
I woke up the next morning wondering what the heck happened? What was going on at that event that turned me into someone even I didn’t recognize?
I sat with myself in a very curious, loving way and she spilled her guts just like a 3 year old who is in fear of getting caught being part of the trouble– so much so, that she throws everyone else under the bus first in hopes of saving herself.
My essential self– the one that guides me in her infinite wise ways had absolutely no desire to be at this event. And since I didn’t honor her wish, my social guide (the one that wants me to get along even at the expense of compromising myself at times) decided it was best to bribe me in a means to keep the peace. She wanted me there because it would be awkward and uncomfortable to say no.
And when I think on it even further, I see that my social self is in the habit of doling out bribes when she knows there is a part of me that is not down with whatever is on the table. A table of obligation or shoulds that have me saying yes, when everything in my body wants to say no.
I never realized it until now. It makes perfect sense. Create a distraction so that the real uncomfortable moments of the evening are less felt. What a game I found myself in and how grateful I felt for the 3 year old in me that came clean. Without knowing the answer to the question “why?” I feel I would stay in this holding pattern indefinitely.
Do you take bribes? Maybe it’s not food. I know for me it can also be a host of other things — busyness, social media, drinking, shopping — an endless list of things that we think are going to feel good in the moment. But, in truth, they leave a gaping hangover because what they are trying to stifle is still there– underneath it all.
I felt it all the next morning. Now, I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t a bit (ok, maybe a lot) frustrated with myself. But, if we don’t treat ourselves with compassion in these moments, their legacy continues. So, next time something comes up where I really want to say no, I’m going to pay a whole lot of attention to what happens next.