At a Christmas party, two guests are standing by the buffet. One has their plate piled high with food. The other has cleverly taken a Buffet Tour and has selected only the food they really wanted. The first guest is eating very quickly, the other is taking their time and savouring their selection.
A friend is having a Christmas get-together. The house is decorated, the tree is trimmed and in the middle of the room a table groans under the weight of an impressive buffet.
There’s everything you could imagine: sausage rolls, veggie vol-au-vents, smoked salmon pinwheels, stuffed peppers, bread, salads and olives, not to mention those little cheesy ball things you just can’t resist (apparently this buffet is from 1974).
In the kitchen, an array of cakes and puddings is waiting to be brought out once the savoury course is finished.
What do you do?
“Genuine forgiveness does not deny anger but faces it head-on.” – Alice Miller
“I forgive them”. This is what victims of crime sometimes say when they’re interviewed on the news days, or even hours, after some terrible violation has been committed against them. Perhaps they were brutally attacked. Perhaps someone they love was murdered.
“I forgive the people who did this to me”, they say.
I always feel a sense of concern when I hear this.
Their forgiveness seems so immediate. It makes me wonder what happened to their feelings.
Self-trust. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right?
Actually, if you’ve experienced a lifetime of self-doubt, it’s more like difficult difficult lemon difficult.
It can be hard to connect to that quiet, assured, trustworthy voice within you.
But it’s there.
You may struggle to hear it, but it’s there.
I was horse mad as a child.
I was born and raised in Australia until the age of nine and, along with a modest collection of pony books and stickers, I had an imaginary horse I kept tethered in our backyard. Truth be told I had about fifteen imaginary horses – all with their own names – but that’s another story.
More than anything, I wanted to ride a real horse.
When I was about eight, I came across a brochure for a kids’ activity camp. I can’t remember how but it immediately caught my eye because there on the front cover was a photo of children smiling as they rode horses through the countryside.
“Compare teaching yourself to eat just the right amount of food to teaching a child to ride a bike. Do children learn easily when you get angry or criticize them for making mistakes? Will children feel like giving up if they are expected to do it perfectly right away? Will they want to try again if they’re ashamed about falling off? Or do they learn best when you observe what they do, encourage each positive step they take, and offer gentle suggestions on how they can improve? Do they want to keep trying because you focus on how much they are progressing, not on what they do wrong? Will they feel encouraged when they notice it gets a little easier each time?
Learning to stop eating when you’re satisfied is exactly the same. You’re most likely to learn when you’re gentle, patient, encouraging and optimistic with yourself throughout the process.
You’re having dinner at a restaurant with friends. You skipped lunch so your stomach is growling like a caged beast as you examine the menu. You go to town on the bread basket and devour your starter as soon as it arrives. Now the waiter puts your main course in front of you. It’s a sizeable portion and you’ve eaten almost enough already.
What goes through your mind?
- Nothing. You pick up your knife and fork and eat until you’re finished.
- “I’ll have to eat it. If I don’t, what will people think?”
- “Diet starts again tomorrow so bring it on!”
- “I’m paying for it, so I might as well eat it, otherwise it’s a waste.”
- “But it looks so good! Also, I’ve had a tough day so I deserve it.”
Which answer leads to you feeling satisfied and thoroughly enjoying your evening?