My children are always teasing me about the importance I place on word choices. My philosophy is that the words we use impact our feelings and behaviors, so I want to make the most of every thought and statement. I want to choose the self-talk that will help me reach my goals and enrich my life. I want the language to be a reflection of what I want and need most.
I had the privilege of witnessing a conversation that I felt beautifully illustrated this point.
Two women were discussing incorporating change in their lives. They lamented that “getting healthy” did not lead to accomplishing that goal… but rather to pressure, poor follow-through, disappointment, exhaustion, and often a sense of failure. Every time they mentioned “getting healthy” or making “healthy choices” they corrected themselves in assorted ways:
- I want to have more fun.
- I want to do this because it feels good.
- I want to be kind to myself.
- I want to embrace the moment.
- I want to express love to my body and myself.
- I want to experience more pleasure.
- I want to take care of myself.
- I want my body to feel loved, honored and respected.
Living a healthy life style is of course an important goal. However as these women acknowledged to each other, “getting healthy” often becomes equated with things we think we should do. When these “shoulds” do not really feed us or make us feel good they rarely lead to consistent new patterns. Without consistent new patterns that feel good, lasting change rarely emerges. I think these women are on to something; establishing a practice of self love, fun and pleasure.
Robin Okun, LMSW, is a coach, therapist, speaker and Founder of Mindful Movement, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more about Robin at http://www.robinokun.com