I used to work with a woman back in my high tech days who talked about her two-step program to dealing with problems in life; “get over it, stay over it.” She didn’t win any awards for being politically correct. And she was darned good at calling bullshit on flimflam.
You’ve seen the Internet click bait that you know is not true, yet it’s still oddly irresistible. The 10-step process to achieve your dream without making any actual inconvenient changes in your life, the 7 essential things some celebrity says you have to do, or one trick to Cinderella yourself into your fantasy life.
Anyone who says there are, is trying to sell you something. True there are outlines and maps that can help to guide you, and there is a step-by-step process that you can look back on after you’ve completed a change. But that step-by-step is rarely clear at the beginning. In fact, if you are clear at the beginning, then you lose the opportunity to learn by attending to your experience. It’s in the learning that you distill from your experience and the unexepected turn of events along the way that allow you to live into a different version of yourself.
What does change really take?
There are no straight lines in nature. It’s easy to think that change is a straight line from here to there. It’s anything but, and really it's a line from here to here. It’s a pathway from this moment to the next to the next. It’s not one and done, but a practice failing your way to success by cheerfully discovering what helps and what doesn't.
If you constantly beat yourself up, call yourself names, and in general belittle yourself, then in service of escaping that abuse, you’ll abandon the road. Bring a little love and compassion to the endeavor, and yourself.
Being fiercely clear there are times you both succeed and fail at what you’ve set out to do. And deciding that not being perfect does not mean you are in capable or should quit.
We hear people say that change is hard. Maybe you say that to yourself as well. What does hard mean to you? Does it mean you give yourself a pass because it’s difficult? Or slow down enough to inhabit the difficulty, while dropping the usual subtext of self criticism? Having compassion for the inevitable difficulties you will meet is key to facing the next sure to pop up challenge with a glad heart and the mind of a beginner.
The ability to tolerate loss
Eating your sugar-coated anger is not longer an option. Foods you’ve loved and loved to share with others means you need to find another way to express your affection. You will lose more than weight. You will lose habits. You will lose the shortcuts you take to assuage difficult feelings. You will lose your ability to go numb.
The capacity to be teachable
To learn from your experience and let that change you in incremental bits. Much like learning a new language you have to be able to take correction with grace and humility as you stumble your tongue over new sounds. Or in this case, new ways of relating.
Change rarely happens over night.
It has taken you years to get to where you are, it takes time to live yourself into new ways of thinking and behaving. This does not mean you are broken. And it is not so much that you have to break old habits as live into new ones. It’s less a matter of willpower or knowledge and more one of persistent curiosity and the willingness to allow yourself to turn into someone you cannot from the perspective of this moment recognize.
Finally, you have to develop the strength to disappoint those around you who you care about. Making change in your life may rattle them. They will miss you accompanying them in the ways you’ve both grown to expect and feel comfort in. And your changes will silently point out to them the places in their life where they are not living into the person they want to be. You will hear “you’ve changed,” and not with the voice of admiration but with the voice of blame and perhaps envy.
Taking sugar out of your life will make you a bit of a renegade. To most people this is an impossible task. Keep in mind that it’s fun to do the impossible!
The future rarely looks or feels like we imagine it. It is impossible at the start to know the path you will take and the kind of person you grow yourself into. Two people can follow the same itinerary and have completely different journeys. It may not be as simple as “get over it, stay over it,” but staying attentive on the path will bring you lessons at every turn.
Forget the two-step; take the first step!
Join the Journey Beyond Sugar and start to change your relationship with sugar today.