Truth #6: How to Really Treat Yourself

treat yourselfTreat. Do you use this word as a verb, or a noun?

You could use it to describe how you talk to yourself when no one else is listening. Do you frequently call yourself names? Or beat yourself up for something you did that you regret?

You could use this word to describe how you take care of yourselfemotionally, and physically. When you need company, do you call a friend? When you are exhausted, do you give yourself a break?

It’s about how you interpret your needs and fill them.

In my family, we often use the word ‘treat’ to mean what we use to give ourselves as a reward.

As in: I’ve been good, I’ve worked hardI deserve a treat.

This treat usually comes in the form of a food. A dessert. A sweet snack. A rarely indulged in food like French fries, or an extravagant meal.

When you think of food as good or bad, allowed or forbidden, then a food treat becomes a way of giving yourself something you are lusting after. But don’t really believe you should be having.

And this sets up a pattern of being good and being bad.

Neither one lasts too long.

When you’ve been good for a while, and taking care of yourself, you lapse into the deserved treat, throwing you back into being bad, accompanied by regret and shame.

And when you’ve been ‘treating’ yourself for a while, you eventually will wake up longing for the clean life… giving yourself what you really need.

How can you distinguish what you do really need and find ways to treat yourself without throwing yourself and your goals under the bus? Does it need to play out like this extreme pendulum of good and bad?

It starts with redefining the word ‘treat’.

I’m all for rewards for something you’ve accomplished. Even bribes to help you do what you most want to do. But a treat is something that feels good even after you’ve done it. If you give yourself a treat that wrecks havoc with your body and makes you feel lousy after you’re done, scratch that one off the list. If your treat takes you back to square one on the path to a goal you’ve been working on, take that one off the list, too.

A true treat should be enjoyable in the moment. AND it should leave you with no regrets. No shame. No self-beating.

So whether your treats are usually foods or time off or giving yourself a hall pass for getting things done, ask yourself these questions before you decide to indulge:

  1. Will this make me feel good in the moment I am having it?
  2. How much of this do I need or want to give me the feeling I’m looking for?
  3. Is it easy for me to stop when I’ve had enough? Can I stop this activity? Get back to work? Stop eating?
  4. Will I feel guilt, remorse or shame when I’m done with this treat?

Okay, if your choice has successfully passed this little quiz, go ahead and enjoy. And then get back to work. Get back on your plan. Get back to your life.

Because if you are giving yourself the right amount and the right kind of treat, you’ll be ready and happy to stop.

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