Grasping our chest, we shoot our chin up to the sky with eyes closed ready to be kissed by the thought of our dreams.
One day, when I get [insert dream here] I’ll be happy.
We paste it on our vision boards, thinking maybe if I wish it hard it enough, it’ll come true. It’s where we sweat our souls on the elliptical or work until we collapse on our beds just to wake up between 2-4 am. Wrapping our lips around mason jars filled with green smoothies we give our hatred head drowning the body image we hate that we hope to change. We do all of this because we’re aiming for that dream.
Because: one day when I get [insert dream here] I’ll be happy.
We’ve all done this (myself included) however no vision board will prepare you for what happens if you do get that dream. So here’s a bit of advice that I provide to my patients:
What are the drawbacks of getting what you want?
They all look at me confused. How could there be a drawback of wanting to be 30 lbs lighter, meeting the man of my dreams or having clear skin? Not being able to see the drawbacks does one of three things (or a combination of a few):
1. It makes getting what you want more challenging as you remain stuck in the dread of where you’re at, ungrateful of the blessings and attracting more of what you hate.
2. It provides you with no coping mechanism if you end up getting what you want, not realizing that there are drawbacks.
3. It makes us perpetually chase the next dragon for a thrill we never achieve. Why? Because we’ve made the dream such a big deal, that receiving it finally loses it’s sparkle. So we chase after the next dream hoping to get that high.
I did this for years and the second I was able to lose the 25 lbs I did, I became subject to criticism. The second I had a rolling roster of patients, or became a regular expert on a daytime show, I was subject to even more pressure. I had to juggle more and reach a whole new level of accountability.
Reality slapped me…and hard.
So coming from this experience, I pass this learning onto my patients and those that follow my recommendations get results. They understand that losing weight isn’t just about green smoothies and sweat. It’s also about the emotional homework of the digital labour that it takes to dig into their souls to find answers and balance. It’s about neutralizing the very energy that has held their emotional weight for years.
So what could possibly be the drawbacks to losing weight for example? Here are several:
You begin to get more attention.
Now this may seem like something that some people strive for, but others feel very uncomfortable in the spotlight. And for some of my patients, the need to hide was one of the reasons why they gained weight in the first place.
Taking your new body for granted.
I have seen this time and time again. Whether people detox or go on a weight loss program, they’ll finish their plan or achieve their goal and go right back to where they started and start taking their body for granted again. It’s why people gain weight rapidly, because the pendulum swings hard one way just to swing back the other. So a drawback is that this could happen.
Jealously or being completely ignored.
The day I lost 25 lbs and reached my goal, I was eager to jump off the scale and tell someone, but I didn’t know who would actually care as much as I did. In fact, one woman at the office I worked at even told me, “Melissa, you look like you’re withering away.” I didn’t get it. My happiness was diluted as I noticed that most people didn’t care. Suddenly, I was obsessed with reaching a new goal that might bring about the happiness that I initially set out for. I realized I was chasing a dragon and that the weight was never the issue in the first place.
So since I’m using weight as an example in this scenario, a mindful way of losing weight is to realize the drawbacks of losing it and the benefits to where you are right now—because trust me, they’re there.
And then there’s this thing called gratitude. Gratitude has breathed life onto paper, iPhones and social media for the world to see. We’re told that if we just appreciate more, we’ll get more. Simple concept, right? Thing is, it’s not or everyone would be doing it. It takes work just like any other relationship we have. When we’re happy, gratitude flows easily. However, true gratitude is when we’re able to appreciate our lives during the toughest moments. By seeing the yin in the yang and acquiring true balance, we can learn how to really cultivate and manifest what we want…but remember to consider the drawbacks of getting it.
This is not about spiritual woo-woo, it’s simply yin yang balance and it can’t be escaped or the universe will throw you the same lesson in a different form. It’s why people repeat the same patterns in their relationships with their partners, family, food, career, etc. In fact, when I provide the emotional homework in my practice to patients, it’s the one area that they generally slack in. If many of us who strive for great health actually put in the same effort into our mental health as we do in our physical, then we’d be one step closer to our goal.
It’s where gratitude breathes and creation thrives from death. It’s where results happen because by understanding the yin and yang behind what we want, we set it free to happen versus suffocating it with our desires. By setting it free, we stop comparing ourselves to others who happen to have what we want. And it’s from there that we’re released from the claws of negativity as we step out of the shadows of comparison from the illusion we’ve concocted of another.
This is where real change unfolds and we’re able to close our eyes, throw our chin up into the air and be able to truly kiss the sky with blissful gratitude.
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Assist Ed: Bruce Casteel/Ed: Sara Crolick