In case you don’t know, we have dedicated the month of April to posts that are personal and broader than just nutrition and fitness. After all, any advice or program you follow will ultimately be your personal interpretation and need to fit into your life. Make sure to check out our first post It’s Not Personal and our second post about Food Memories.
In this post, I want to talk about being a skeptic. I’m sure that everyone has considered themselves a skeptic at one point or another. For example, you may catch a few seconds of a commercial and think, “Wait a minute, but what’s the catch?” It is obviously natural and healthy to do this. If not, our homes would all be filled with “As Seen on TV” goodies.
I have a tendency to be a bit of an extreme skeptic, which at times, can become downright negative. For some reason, I can have the tendency to think about the other side of a comment or viewpoint and immediately react negatively. However, I have been making an effort over the years to work on this. I still keep my naturally skeptical and critical mind, but instead have made an effort to pause and put things into perspective. Put another way – the goal is to think critically, but not be an ass – and Elyse can attest that I am still a work in progress!
By putting things into perspective, I ultimately come back to the question “Does it really matter?” Does every innocent statement need a reply or a challenge? No. It is simply not healthy to think overly critically about every little thing that comes up. First of all, it is exhausting. Second of all, you have a lot more credibility when you respond back once in a while on things you actually care about.
The realization that I needed to work on this area really came from social media. It is alarming how almost every single viewpoint these days needs to be challenged or be on one end of the extreme or another. While I do not personally post on social media often (outside of Fairburn it Off), seeing the back and forth in writing on a screen made me think differently about how unnecessary and tiring this kind of thinking can be.
So what specific actions have I taken to address this?
1. I pause. For example, I may hear or see something I disagree with. However, I will first pause for a few seconds (ideally 10 seconds) before I even think about any sort of response.
2. I think about things that make me happy. No one has the right to be happy all the time. Just like no one has the right to never be offended. However, what no one can take away from you are the personal thoughts that make you happy. Positive thoughts about your family, significant other, or even your cat, can bring your perspective back to the things that matter.
Elyse and I at the MSPCA, one of our happy places!
When we post and share advice on Fairburn it Off, we try to do so from a place of positivity. There is enough negativity in the world, so the last thing you need is more negative talk coming from us. However, the point of this post is that we don’t want you to believe that we feel all fired up and positive 100% of the time. Like many others, we have good days and we have bad days, and we have tendencies that we are working on ourselves. To be honest, one of the happy things that pulls us out of bad days, is you. There have been times where we have had a bad day, but then saw a post or a comment from a member that completely turned that around. As much as it is our job to bring you tips, advice, and positive vibes, we are lucky to receive that back from you!
So what are some takeaways? Take a breath, take a pause, and try to be slightly more positive and forgiving of the things around you. This does not mean you need to be a bundle of joy all of the time. However, focus on the things that really matter to you, and be less reactionary to the things that don’t.
I will make a point to keep you updated on my own progress and would love to hear from all of you. Reach out on social media at @fairburnitoff, or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.