Carrot or the stick?
Updated: Mar 15
Photo by: Cherie Cox
What helps us grow? Let’s talk self-compassion and self-criticism. The carrot or the stick… Both may be here to serve you but which one do you choose? Does the carrot make you apathetic, or more of your divine self? Does this stick give you “the results” or just beat you down? What in fact helps you move towards your best self, the truest you?
When it comes to intuitive eating, I would argue self-compassion is at the heart. If we want to follow a very specific protocol like a diet to change our shape – “eat this, not that” perhaps self-compassion is less imperative. Yet, perhaps this problem focused vantage point (e.g. “my shape needs changing”) is what moves us away from our inner core, putting us at risk for food and body pre-occupation, weight cycling, eating disorders, weight stigmatization and distraction from other personal health goals, just to name a few… Perhaps.
AND… It’s pretty natural to look outside yourself for answers when you notice a pattern of food regret and guilt, believing you don’t have what you need within to re-calibrate (thanks to diet culture). In fact, some structure can be positive and help you lean in but when our inner selves are disregarded in the process, I argue this is when the divide and turmoil begins. Perhaps it’s always a bit of a dance to find where the boundaries of our inner and outer worlds land. I invite you to continue being curious, to continue your exploration and find what’s right for you.
I know my intention from the heart is to show up for you, I want to share what I’ve learned on the path to food freedom in hopes it can support you to live the full and rich life you desire and deserve. I know it’s in alignment with my deeper purpose.
I thought I was using the right scaffolding I needed to deliver my messages and do the work of showing up for you. I was leaning in. Then this subtle shift took place, nearly unnoticeable. It had become more about the performance (external) and less about the process (internal). More about results. Before I knew it, radio silence overtook the space my messages to you once occupied. Each week that past, it got harder to come back to. Can you think of any parallels with any eating or exercise plan?
At first I rationalized it was no big deal for me step away and it really wasn’t… But I knew I wasn’t seeing the whole truth. Whatever it was, I couldn’t find my way forward, fearing I couldn’t offer enough value to you. Fearing failure. I’m not cut out for this. I’m not good enough. You know something really fascinating? I didn’t even notice fear had crept in until I tuned into my food cravings, they were my first signal. That’s a post I’ll save for another day. It’s funny how fear crept in without me even realizing it. The upside to my radio silence was less vulnerability. It made me feel safer to not show up, to stay tucked away and out of sight.
Funny thing happened next. I tried strong arming myself into showing up for you again. Uh oh. You might have guessed, the more I tried to force it, the more I put my head in the sand and time continued to pass as it does. Brute force wasn’t working… And I was determined to sort it out which is when a little light went off. What about offering myself a soft place to land, some warmth, kindness and understanding? In the name of fairness, it is ok to take a break. Take a rest from inner work when needed, this includes your work as an Intuitive Eater too. Your inner world won’t just vanish on you.
Once I stopped berating myself for not sticking to the plan, I started removing my head from the sand and could see the detour as part of the process. It gave me the opportunity to regain clarity and get curious on what needed to shift so I could stay in the game.
You see, just like your journey back to being an Intuitive Eater, I’m learning what works best for me to keep creating inspiration for all of you. I plan ahead and try to use all the ingredients I think I need to be creative and show up for you in an attuned, real way. I’ve committed to doing this because it’s part of my own journey towards freedom. What I mean by freedom is living in alignment with my true self. Not so different and perhaps identical to eating intuitively. I try to keep leaning inwards, accessing my inner wisdom to share what I think is of value to you on your journey.
Next time, I hope to notice the cues that tell me I need a change and find a way to communicate that with you, before the disappearing act. I hope to keep noticing when I need to adjust my sail. And if it happens again, I will do my best to meet myself with more compassion.
I invite you to consider how you'll notice when you go off course so you can adjust your sail and restore the balance of staying true to yourself while you walk bravely through this world.
You’ve got this. You always have.
Wishing you all great blessings,
Catch the video on self compassion I made right here