A little over a month ago I attended a seminar in which we spent a good deal of time talking about the difference between an unfulfilled expectation and an unfulfilled commitment, and how it affects us.
Let’s say I am trying to turn a new leaf and make healthier choices and improve my nutrition. I create an expectation that I will eat 3 fruits and 4 vegetables each day. As I work toward meeting this expectation, I falter one day, and get pretty upset. The expectation that I set for myself went unfulfilled and I failed. I probably spend some time beating myself up, and figure out how to start over with a new expectation.
Now, let’s change the language a bit.
Let’s say I am trying to improve my overall health. I make a commitment to myself to be healthy, including improving my nutrition. I start off strong and am making healthy food choices, and then I attend a birthday party and have a big slice of chocolate cake and a glass of champagne. I faltered on my commitment, but has my commitment changed? No. I am still committed to my overall health and nutrition. As soon as I finish licking the crumbs, I can continue with my commitment without beating myself up.
An expectation is finite and has an end point. It is about DOING something. Unfulfilled expectations lead to upset, feelings of failure, and often self-sabotage.
A commitment is through time, and takes time. A commitment is a pledge to a way of BEING. A commitment to something big will never be fulfilled. If, for some reason, a commitment goes unfulfilled, it merely leads back to the original commitment.
We have this false sense that when we set goals and expectations for ourselves; we are eventually going to get to this magical place of perfection. (I hate to tell you, but that magical place doesn’t exist.) As we strive and strive to DO more, we eventually falter and get upset.
Instead, I ask you to commit to BEING something more. That doesn’t mean that you don’t ever have to take action and do something, because you do, but change the language. Make it about BEING, not DOING.
What are you committed to for yourself?
I have never been one to weigh myself on a regular basis, at least not since I was in high school. We do own a scale, but we use it more for when we have to weigh our luggage before a trip to France, than we do for weighing ourselves.
Now, though, I get to see the numbers on the scale on a regular basis for my monthly pregnancy check-in with the doctor. To be honest, I sometimes get on the scale at home before hand so that I know if I am going to be “talked to” about my weight gain at the visit. It seems absolutely ridiculous, since I am obviously supposed to gain weight during pregnancy, but I still get all worried about it. I have become slightly obsessed with the number on the scale.
What do I weight now? Am I gaining too much? Is the doctor going to have to talk to me about my weight gain? Is she going to ask me about what I have been eating and if I have been exercising? Do I weigh more than my husband yet?
The other day I was actually down 0.4 pounds since my visit a month ago and I did a little happy dance. Instead of the nurse asking what I had been eating, she asked me if I had been eating. The irony is that I am bigger—I actually look pregnant now.
We, women, seem to put so much weight into that number that appears on the scale. It seems like we always want it to be smaller, no matter what we look like. I have a former client who used to weigh herself 3 times a day, and all it brought her was misery and that feeling that she wasn’t enough.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Our weight is a factor when we are gauging our health, but there are so many other factors to consider beyond just that one number. I talk to women that workout on a regular basis, keep a balanced diet, and still want to weigh less. When I ask them what will be different, they often say that they will be more confident and just feel better about themselves.
At what point can we be confident and feel good in our skin no matter what our size or our weight? At one point can we love and accept ourselves for who and how we are? At what point can we let go of that number on the scale?