Listen to the voices in your head.
We're faced with choices all day long. Small, minute, almost invisible decisions all. day. long.
From the second your alarm goes off (gonna hit snooze or gonna get up like I planned and hit my yoga mat?) to driving to work (gonna slam on my breaks for this red light or put the pedal to the metal and speed on through?) to your afternoon snack (vending machine or desk banana?) to the moments after work (hit the library for that new book I want or tap happy hour with my coworkers?) to your dinner (didn't finish my asparagus so should I have ice cream?) to bed time (one more episode of Orange is the New Black or go to bed NOW like I intended), it's one long litany of decisions.
It's like a constant tug of war, and we have all of these competing voices reverberating in our heads: a cacophony of media and workout videos and well intentioned public figures and diet books and self help books and shoulds and shouldn’ts and overall "how to live my best life but also treat myself" confusion.
In my world, I talk about this as learning to separate the external voices (which are the external cues coming from outside ourselves) from the internal voices (which come from the internal cues of your own wisdom and knowing which, yes, whether you believe it or not you DO have, and this root is you inner Glowing Goddess Guru Beast).
Y'all know I teach and talk about this ON THE REGULAR, but I had an experience this past Friday night with my nieces (twin 5-almost-six year olds and a freshly two year old) that really made me stop, collaborate, and listen to mySELF.
We had silly dinner at the counter (named "silly dinner" by them... I told them the bar was set very low for silly, and I really thought we could do better—like that laughing floating tea scene in Mary Poppins—but nevertheless, they were pleased with this level of silly). After our pizza dinner, they asked for popcorn.
OF COURSE YOU CAN HAVE POPCORN!
(see! I was doing REALLY well allowing them to let me know what THEIR bodies wanted without shoulding all over them)
Then... it happened.
"ICE CREAM!!!" Shouted two year old V.
As if possessed by all the culturally ingrained motherly-should voices, I heard these words plum fall out of my mouth... completely unprompted by my thinking brain:
"Well, you can have ice cream or popcorn, but not both."
WHAT THE EFF? I heard myself shout in my brain. WHY DID I SAY THAT?
I quickly tried to course correct. "You can have a little pop corn and a little ice cream."
WAIT. WHAT!? NO! YOU CAN HAVE AS MUCH POPCORN AND ICE CREAM AS YOU WANT.
As if two-year old V could sense my impending brainsplosion, she laughed and said:
"No ice cream, Baba. POP—CORN!" (she does these adorable long pauses in between words, which creates the most wonderful speaking cadence, my favorite being "help [long pause] me")
And then the rest of the evening progressed as normally as possible while I internally sorted through my own existential crisis. All three girls had a small bowl of popcorn, and as I put baby V to bed, I told the girls they could get more if their tummies wanted more.
When I came down from cuddling V while dual parts duet-ing with and solo serenading Twinkle Twinkle little star, the girls were sitting on the couch with devious little smiles on their faces.
"Did you get more popcorn??"
"Oh, good, babies! Is there more??? Did you get MORE than one bowl?"
"Oh GOOD! That's what popcorn is for. Nom nom eating it up!!!!" Then, I of course, ate their bellies like one does, to giggles and half-hearted protestations.
"Is there more popcorn?"
"... yes, Baba."
"Do you want more?!"
"WELL, THEN GO GOBBLE IT UP BABY GIRLS! And let's watch Lego Batman take down Lego Joker."
Listen. The reason I'm sharing this story is because... no ONE of us is perfect. And we're ALL working to change our own internal dialogue so that the external dialogue shifts into a congruence of TRUE health.
And true health means happiness and joy and freedom and bliss and NOT restriction and control and shoulding all over ourselves.
The best way to begin to shift this external dialogue (of diet culture masquerading as health and perfection and SHOULDing and shaming) is to take note of the internal dialogue. And paying attention to the beasts and the babes and how we talk to them is KEY. Because... what most of us REALLY want is to take the BEST care we can of the beasts and babes we love. And the best way we know how to take care of them is through the ways we've been taught to care. And it's a beautiful thing to care. But sometimes our triggers aren't necessarily... necessary.
(And we can choose to care so much about ourselves, too. In a compassionate way. That's key, too.)
Note your thoughts. Decide HOW you want to think. Change the world.