There’s a good reason you keep doing that thing
You know that moment when you realise you’ve just done that thing you said you weren’t going to do again?
You promised yourself you’d stop overeating, you said you’d stop drinking so much, you want to stop having that kind of relationship or shouting at your child, but in the moment you can’t manage to stop yourself.
You see yourself do it but you can’t stop.
How awful is that sinking feeling?
We all know it.
You feel out of control and everything feels overwhelming.
Usually we get really frustrated or viciously angry and critical towards our sweet precious self.
We snarl, “WHY did I do that again?! WHAT is wrong with me?”
And there is this terrible deep fear lurking in the back of our mind, “What if it’s always going to be like this? How will my life be if I never manage to overcome this?”
Ok, so take a slow deep breath right now.
I mean it.
Don’t just keep reading.
Pause and breathe. Slow deep breath in, hold it for a moment or two and then let it out slowly.
If it felt good, do another once or twice – or more – and then continue.
I have good news for you.
That behaviour has a simple cause.
It’s not your fault.
You’re not broken or faulty or a lost cause.
That thing you can’t stop doing, is just your unsuccessful way of trying to meet a deep need you have – maybe for safety, comfort, love, affirmation…
There’s nothing wrong with you.
You’re trying to do something good for yourself…
Just in a misguided way.
And that’s not your fault because you didn’t have this information before.
This is the good news and your way out of the behaviour.
If you can identify the real need and fulfil it, the behaviour is no longer needed.
But how do you identify your need?
Here’s an excerpt about this from the book, ‘If You Loved Yourself, What Would You Do Now?’
“Any strong unpleasant feelings show you that a need of yours is not being met. Here are three simple ways to determine what your need is:
Exercise: Identifying your need
- Ask yourself, “What do I need?” You can use the list of needs opposite to help identify your need.
- Notice what you feel and ask yourself, “What’s the opposite of that feeling?” If you feel disrespected, you have a need for respect. If you feel scared, you have a need for safety, etc.
- Ask the handy Love question.
Once you understand what you need, you can find a way to meet it. Being kind to yourself and identifying the needs beneath your strong feelings gives you the tools to communicate clearly and empathically with yourself and others.”
There’s a whole lot more about needs and how to meet them in the book.
In fact, that’s the whole premise of real self-love.
Being aware of your needs and meeting them.
So speak kindly to yourself in those horrible moments of frustration, when you act out your need instead of meeting it.
And ask, “If I loved myself, what would I choose to do now? If I loved myself, what would I say to myself now?”
And do that.
(The list of needs is also available on the Center for Non-Violent Communication website. )