Let me set the scene, I’m sure you’ve been there. It’s an average Wednesday evening and you promised yourself that you’d go to that spinning class you’ve been meaning to start for ages. It’s been a long hard day at work and even though you know exercise is exactly what your mind, body and soul need, when your mate says; “Do you fancy going for a quick drink?” without much hesitation you say; “OK, but just for one”. Then the inner dialogue begins. “You should be going to the gym, yes but I deserve it, I’ve worked hard, you know it’s never just for one, I’ll go to the gym afterwards, I can’t be bothered, I feel fat, I hate myself… oh f**k it!”
‘One’ doesn’t stand for a glass any more does it, it means a bottle, right? You go to the bar, spend a minute deciding whether two glasses is that much cheaper than a bottle, figure that you know you’ll have more than one so it’s definitely cheaper than 4 glasses. So you settle on a bottle which then requires your mate to repay an equal favour and buy another bottle. You probably skipped dinner so suddenly your Wednesday evening that had had such good intentions is turning into a blurry eyed, late night tube ride home. Then there is the next morning; a dodgy night’s sleep, the shrill of the alarm, thirsty, heady and a day of work distracted by salty, sugary cravings. Plus it only escalates the nearer to the weekend it is, Thursday night probably involves shots, Friday night you might end up sleeping with someone you regret and then Saturday night could lead to doing a few lines, being up all night and losing your Sunday.
So what happened, how come this keeps happening and why can’t you stick to your good intentions? On the surface you’re probably starting to think that’s just who you are. You can’t help it. I’ve been there too, asking myself why I can’t have just one drink. Why does it need to be all or nothing? Consciously you want to not over drink because your intelligence tells you it will make you feel rough the next day. However subconsciously there’s a whole load of other crap going on.
I’m sharing my experience with you because you might relate to it. I’m not saying what I did will work for everyone but if you find just a small insight in what I am sharing with you then that is awesome.
The problem was that even though I really did want to not feel crap in the morning, underneath it all what I wanted more was to get drunk, I just didn’t realise it. The reason why drinking conquered over all of my good will was because it created a sense of escape and unknowingly, I really needed to escape.
The ‘I’ I am referring to here is the core of who you are. It is a bit like the solid little doll in the centre of a Russian Doll. This ‘I’ is the real you, courageous, confident, brave, wise, full of self love and unbreakable. Life can be scary, stepping out as the real you, not caring what others think, so we choose to protect ourselves with a load of hollow layers that portray confidence on the outside but not on the inside. Those layers are in fact filled with self doubt, comparison, guilt, worry, hurt and self sabotage. Until you choose to lead from your centre and nurture the real you, you will always feel like you need that sense of escapism.
So in short the real reason why you can’t say you’ll have one and mean it is because subconsciously you want to get drunk more than you consciously don’t. I made the decision that I didn’t want to waste any more days feeling rough and annoyed with myself because I drank too much. Essentially I saw that I wasn’t loving myself and I learned how to shed the hollow layers, embrace the real me and let her lead the way.
I’m sure I’m not telling you anything new, you’d have to be hiding under a rock to have not heard about “self love” today. What I hear most commonly is “Lydia, I know I need to love myself, but how?”
One tool I use to work on self love is to put yourself into love training. I would never insult your intelligence and say, “Well just tell yourself that you love yourself”. That’s hard when you feel like you don’t and you’re nobodies fool, especially not your own.
Start by accepting that you want to become better at loving yourself because it’s something that you haven’t been great at because that will mean that you’re in training. Training takes practice and it also means that you are allowed to get it wrong or make mistakes, because you’re learning.
Then you need to start to show yourself love. If you were in a relationship where your partner never said how beautiful you were, bought you flowers, made you tea, picked you up from the station or took you out for dinner, after a while you would start to feel unloved. It’s likely your boyfreind does love you but he just has other things on his mind. Vice versa, if you saw that your partner really needed some love, you’d find a way to give it to them, a text, gesture or gift, even if you weren’t feeling all loved up, you would do it anyway, so that they felt loved.
It’s no different loving yourself, don’t wait to feel it first, take action and show yourself love anyway, you have to be shown love to feel it.
Write down three ways you can start showing yourself love today. You need to be specific, it’s not “Be kinder to myself”, if that was an action what would that be? Run yourself a bath maybe, or make a home cooked meal each day.
Start with these small actions, rather than trying to only have one drink and when your self love is stronger, you will automatically want to do what is best for you, rather than wake up with a hangover.
Let me know how you get on or if you have any questions pop them in the comments box, I’d love to hear your thoughts.