Welcome back to the 12 Keys to a Healthy Weight. Last week we looked at the importance of planning, and this week we’re looking at a relationship strategy that helps avoid emotional overeating.
Key #9: Be compassionate and assertive
The Guide To Compassionate Assertiveness: How To Express Your Needs and Deal With Conflict While Keeping a Kind Heart is a book by Sherrie Mansfield Vavrichek that I’ve been recommending to my clients at the White Picket Fence Counseling Center. It’s a nice, simple book that supports my principle that our goal is to always speak our truth and take care of ourselves, but with kindness and compassion for others and ourselves.
We’re not all raised with the best ways to communicate – we’ve had to learn by trial and error, and go through pitfalls in our relationships. For people with eating disorders, relationship issues are the biggest things people eat over. Sometimes we agonize ourselves by people pleasing, or we go to the flip side and wrestle with resentments.
The principles of yoga offer some fascinating, simple and effective tools for dealing with difficult people. The simplicity is what’s most important. Having peaceful relationships isn’t about tying things up with a bow and putting them away. It doesn’t requiring figuring out the perfect things to say or do, or complex volleying back and forth so you always respond the “right way.”
Compassionate assertiveness is more like that sweet spot of hitting the ball over the net. It’s practicing radical acceptance of ourselves and others, grounded in the present moment, in the right place for each situation.
Like many of the other things we’ve been discussing in this series, these healthy spiritual principles are lifelong skills that have to do with much more than maintaining a healthy weight.
It feels good when we know we’ve expressed something compassionately. We’re left with no remorse or regrets, and no reason to punish ourselves with unhealthy behaviors. You won’t have to emotionally overeat later because you’re resentful at someone else, or worse, yourself.
Check in with yourself and other people regularly to evaluate your level of compassionate assertiveness. Use these affirmations to strengthen your efforts:
When I smile, my eyes sparkle with life and light.
I am appreciated by someone.
I give and receive radical acceptance.