A week ago, I tried dropping those indulgent treats I always let myself have because I’m sick. Success!! Not once did I give in and allow myself a bowl of ice cream for having a sore throat or anything like that. When I felt peckish, I had a store of healthy snacks and I nibbled away at them and felt quite good about being healthy. Polished my Angel Halo a lot.
Oh, no, not once did I think “I’m sick, I’m allowed to have chocolate.” No! Instead, by Sunday evening, I merely said “Screw it, I’m bored and I want something sweet!” and ate half a pack of Tim Tams…
I suppose it was kind of successful because I didn’t use my illness as an excuse and I didn’t spend most of the weekend appeasing myself in my discomfort by eating rubbish. It was a different habit that undid me, the habit I’ve been in for a while of just giving in and eating chocolate when I shouldn’t, not for any particular reason. So the “successful” part was not eating even more junk food, as well as holding off for as long as I did.
Sounds a bit lame? Well, in a way it is, because I still ate chocolate biscuits! Lots of them! But I need to acknowledge what I did do well, and be remember to be proud of that.
The uncertainty was much harder to embrace, because I had committments for Saturday and Sunday and there comes a point where a decision has to be made so that others have fair warning. What I tried to was to not spend hours angsting about it, but to wait until closer to when a decision would have to be made to start analysing how well I was.
What was interesting about this approach was that I found I still made a decision earlier than I had to, but the decision seemed to come naturally. Specifically, I was drying my hair in the morning of my best friend’s bridal tea, a few hours before I had to leave. I had resolutely put from my mind all thoughts about whether I’d be well enough and was merely focused on this first step. After all, I’d need dry hair whether I went out or not, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to go with it wet. As I was doing this, I found myself so exhuasted by the effort that the thought popped into my head that there was no way I could manage going out. I reminded myself that I wasn’t allowed to think about it yet, and continued to concentrate on drying my hair. As another wave of exhuastion rolled over me, I just knew that I wasn’t able to go.
It was a terrible thing to have to decide, because I felt like I was letting my best friend down, as well as missing out on something special. However, when I had stopped trying to analyse it from every angle and angst over it for hours, it became clear to me that there was nothing to think about because there was actually no question of me being well enough to go. I had cleared my head and allowed my body to dictate what it was capable of. I sent a suitably apologetic message to my friend and crawled into bed with the curtains closed. I stayed there, dozing and resting, for the rest of the afternoon, only getting up after half an hour of my tummy rumbling proved more powerful than my lethargy.
So, I think I’ve learned something from that. It’s clear to me that my habit of having to think about things carefully and thoroughlly is usually completely unnecessary for me to make good decisions. I usually know the right decision to make without all the angst, if I will just clear some space in my head so that I can realise it.
I know that all that “listen to your heart” or “trust the universe” stuff can sound rather unpractical, but I don’t think that’s what this is about (although listening to my heart is perhaps a good analogy). In reality, I underestimate my own quick intelligence. It doesn’t take me as long as I think it should to consider all the information I have and my own feeings and to know the best choice. Quick decisions are not necessarily hasty, because I am (we all are) actually very good at rapidly processing multitudes of information and ideas. So I think I need to cultivate “going with my gut” rather than wasting time pretending that considering something for hours is going to mean I come to any different or better solution.