Today I wanted to talk about why compassion is key to creating change in your life.
I recently heard a story about a shaming experience with a nutritionist. The nutritionist was quite shaming when the client mentioned that she overate. She gave the client a look that said ‘you did what?!’. I am sure you know this look, the one where someone looks down on you and you feel ashamed for what you did.
This incident made me think about my own experiences with practitioners.
Watch the video here or scroll down for more!
Before figuring out my health issues on my own, I had worked with other health practitioners. One in particular was a nutritionist and she handed me a plan on our second visit. I don’t remember talking about my relationship with food or ongoing support. Actually, there was never any discussion about my relationship to food. Knowing what I know now – we all have emotional ties to food. Whether you are an emotional eater or not (I really believe we all are!)
I quickly realized I needed someone to get where I was coming from. I did not feel supported or that I was understood. Of course looking back I didn’t see my relationship with food as a thing either. I knew I wasn’t getting what I was looking for because I was so frustrated with ‘the plan’ not working. The practitioner in particular didn’t seem to get it either.
I was pretty frustrated and just started doing my own research. At the time I was living abroad and started researching about emotional eating. Through trial and error I started to connect the dots. I gained awareness around my emotional eating and slowly began to change. The key thing for me was sitting with my feelings and myself and being compassionate. Having compassion for how I was being allowed me to feel my feelings and start to change.
Change is Hard
Change is hard because we have so many ingrained behaviours, habits and thoughts that prevent change. If we deter from our norm an alarm goes off in us that says ‘change, new, scary, unknown’. It’s scary to change. Usually you become sick of a behaviour before you want change. You will feel scared, apprehensive and unsafe when faced with change. This is simply because it is different, unknown and uncomfortable.
Sometimes when we try to change and fail we have that internal critic taunting us telling us we can’t do it OR why did we even bother. If you think like that then you don’t need another voice (from a practitioner) to reinforce it! This is why compassion is so important. Compassion allows for graceful and gentle change.
Why does compassion work?
It is gentle because it first seeks to understand and accept. This simple (sometimes not so simple) act will allow us to feel the feelings associated. When we process and feel our feelings we are more centred and clear. From this place of clarity we can change and create healthy habits.
So going back to the story above:
If you found yourself overeating this would be a great time to show yourself some self compassion starting with inquiry:
You can ask yourself the following questions as a start:
Why didn’t I follow through on the plan or meal?
Why did I eat more?
What was I feeling?
Was I triggered?
Was I in a stressful situation at work or around family?
Is this my normal coping strategy in stressful situations?
(all these can be asked by a practitioner too!)
Awareness is key. Once you start noticing what is happening you can either make the choice to continue eat or stop and go inwards. You can start to journal, meditate or ask the questions above and see what comes up. This takes time.
In this video I did about emotional eating I share another way to break the cycle. But the point of this post is to see that compassion is critical. It allows us to feel our feelings.
So, compassion is key to change. Of course if you are working with someone they will need to motivate and guide you too but in a more kind way!
Anyway, thanks for watching and reading. If you have any questions or thoughts please leave a comment below, I would love to hear what you thought!
To compassionate change,