Chocolate made me a better person. Really. It has special powers. I’ve always known that, but I didn’t realize just how special until I used it to control my attitude and mood for three days straight. Let me explain.
You all know I can be a little neurotic. Well, I get extra neurotic before a vacation with thoughts like: “will I wrap everything up in time?” “Are we spending too much money?” “Is it okay to leave the kids?” etc. Though I have my moods on a tight leash, I still, at times, take my anxiety out on my husband. This comes in the form of biting or sarcastic comments dropped here and there and a generally demanding and snide attitude about what he has or hasn’t done for me lately. I know it is gross, especially since I teach about having great relationships.
Three days before our weekend getaway in Miami, (yes, the first airplane trip my husband and I have ever taken away from our kids in seven years) the low-grade beating began. By Friday he and I were both sick of me and he was sticking up for himself (thank goodness). I knew I was not behaving in accordance with what I teach and I was embarrassed and remorseful. However, I had not yet changed my mind fully. A good idea DOES NOT necessarily translate to a change in behavior. Can anyone relate?
On Friday morning I vowed to myself that I would not make one more rude comment, then moments later told my husband I wouldn’t share the breakfast I was making because then I’d be late to the airport (not true). Shocked at my lack of control over my mouth, I promised him–out loud this time–that I would not make any more comments, and told him he could give me ANY consequence he could think of to make my pledge stick. This was the turning point. He said no chocolate on vacation should work–and he was right.
Understand that I LOVE chocolate and I rarely eat it, maybe once a week and unlimited on vacations. Since I broke my sugar addiction, I really limit my intake and that feels good, but on vacations I go hog wild. In fact, chocolate, for me, is kind of the main point of a vacation, and for this vacation, my box of chocolate was already packed when this decree came down.
Amazingly, my mood shifted immediately and nobody could do any wrong. Nothing could have gotten to me. To every person I spoke, I explained my rule. I was excited to be happy, agreeable and in control and I wanted to tell everyone to make sure they would be on board with supporting my intention throughout my day. I would have done anything to support my intention of being kind and friendly in order not to lose my chocolate! As soon as the consequence was in place, I became vocal and creative about how to stay happy, productive and in a great mood. Out of this loving comments flowed naturally to my husband. It lasted the whole weekend.
Although I teach and practice this with regularity, I was once again shocked at the power of a promise with the right consequence. Changing one’s mind is truly difficult. When we get on a track or believe we know what is right or best, it takes a lot to change tracks. What if instead of using our vices (TV, alcohol, internet, spending, etc.) to numb us to our real issues, we used them to force us to deal with and succeed at overcoming our real issues? Please take a moment to consider making your vices something you have to earn with behaviors that make you proud. Put them to work FOR you, starting now.