The power of ONE.
While sitting in group this week, I was reminded of something really powerful. We were discussing distress tolerance skills and each member revealed a skill they had used the previous week in dealing with food issues. One member stated that she used a skill that had taken her 45 years to learn – saying “No thank you.” In three little words she had done something SO amazing. Not only had she stopped the transfer of cake onto the plate in front of her, she had drawn a boundary and put herself first above the food and above others feelings. It sounds so easy doesn’t it?
But, and I think many of you will agree, it isn’t really easy at all. Otherwise, we would have been doing it years and pounds and heartaches ago! The funny thing about those three little words is that, as people battling disordered eating, we are already starting in the red. Most people who suffer from eating disorders have one thing in common that ‘normal’ eaters do not – a personality trait that is predisposed to ‘follow the rules’ above and beyond what is actually good for us.
Learning how to say ‘no thank you’ evokes a lot of emotions and requires a lot of power. As people who find it hard to say what we need, let alone listen to our own inner voices, saying ‘no thank you’ means that we are not only standing up for ourselves but also that we MIGHT offend someone else. Up to this point, the thought of disappointing others or pissing someone off has led us to some pretty disastrous behaviors. Forget about what happens when we actually HONOR our own presence in the room, nay, our LIFE.
Enter the concept of using distress tolerance skills. THEY DO NOT WORK WITHOUT PRACTICE. And you CANNOT practice them only when you are at a 10 on the distress scale – let’s face it, a bulldozer couldn’t keep you from your behaviors. What we ask you to do is this: start using the skills in a situation that won’t trigger the crap out of you! Challenge yourselves to use those three little words in a time and place that calls for it but is WAY less threatening than a 10. Maybe you can try it in line at Starbucks when they offer to put whipped cream on your coffee drink – “No, thank you.” Maybe you can try it when you are eating at a restaurant for lunch and the waiter offers the dessert menu – “No, thank you.” The POWER that comes with learning how to be your BEST FRIEND and defender of all things you really want is immeasurable. Trust us.
Shine bright and conquer your power Buddies!