Beliefnet
Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I was thinking about how many great debates I have with myself. Do you may know what I mean? You’re tempted to do something you may know is bad for you or want to avoid something you know you should do. So the head battle begins. Do I do what I WANT to do or what I SHOULD do? Or will what I SHOULD do make me happier in the long run? Sometimes it’s a heavy decision. A sample of some great debates are:

* Should I take the job I was offered if it pays great money but sounds boring? I want a job that stimulates me. But I need to make more if I ever want to get out of my one room. Is moving worth being unhappy at work?

* I know I should walk away from my romantic partner who’s hurting me but my feet feel stuck. Sometimes he’s so lovable. When she’s not evil she makes me happy. But the bad times hurt. But the good times—oooohhh are so good! How can I leave? But the hurt times really hurt!

* I need to tell my roommate no more late rent payments or leave. Can I do that since I like her? I like her but I have to lay out her rent too often and she’s a slob. But she’s such good company and means well. I don’t want her to hate me. But I can’t keep paying her rent!

Sometimes it’s less serious but important just the same.

* I’m so craving cake. Is it okay to let myself have a piece? Ah, but I know it will make me want more. But right now I want it! But I’m on a diet! But I want it!

* Laundry is piling up but I don’t want to bother with it today. But I’m running out of clean socks. But I’m tired from working overtime and deserve to relax. Need clean clothes! Need to relax!

* I know I need to go to the gym but I don’t feel like it. I want to get into shape so I should go. But one day missed won’t hurt me. But it’s important to keep my routine.

BUT… BUT… BUT… BUT…

I’ve indulged in many of these dialogues in my head, kind of like playing a self-version of good cop, bad cop. So what’s considered winning in these kind of debates? Giving into your whims or doing what you set out to do? Giving into a craving or fighting it?

Last night I went running in Central Park. For the last few years I’ve run at least 3-4 times a week. Lately I haven’t been running much. Seems whenever I’ve been free the weather is nasty. My schedule has been crazy so free time has been scarce. I do power walk all over so I am getting cardio and my weight hasn’t suffered. But I’ve been wanting to run. I hadn’t planned to yesterday but the weather was unexpectedly nice.

After an hour of working out with weights with my trainer, I usually don’t run. But I said I’d try to since the rest of the week will either be rainy or I’ll be out. I was tired from my gym workout but the good weather called me and I went. But I left much later than I’d planned.

My head said that it would be okay to take it easier on this run since it might be harder to do the full hour after the leg press, etc. in the gym. Plus I haven’t been running so I might not be up for the full run. I was already hungry and I wanted to get back early to eat so I could go to sleep early. I tried to convince myself I should get back into running slowly. Plus, I didn’t want to get back after 8:30, but would if I did the full run.

So I agreed with myself to see how I felt.

I run legs in the park, stretching in between. As I ran into the park, I gave myself permission to cut the first leg short if it got to be too much. “You can cut yourself slack since you haven’t been running” a tired voice said. “But I need this run since I haven’t been doing it” I countered. So I bargained. “Just go a few more yards and see you feel.” “I can finish this one leg” I declared, since it would be the only run this week. And I did!

My mind debate continued as I did. I knew that it was good for me to run as much as I could. So I cut myself mind slack, leg by leg, and ran as much as usual.

While most of us don’t have split personalities, we can have split desires. Once side can be based on logic and the other side on immediate needs. These days I can accept it and try to argue my way to pushing myself to do what’s best for my highest good. Sometimes I put it into God’s hands. Even when I was running, I said if I have the strength to finish, I will. With each leg I argued that it was okay to stop early. Yet each finished leg made the argument stronger for finishing it all.

Sometimes I go with the one that isn’t the best choice, like a cookie. But these days, self-love drives me to the healthier choice, and the one I want.

In my DoorMat days, the argument was usually stronger for what someone else wanted from me. Even when I knew what I wanted, the argument to please would usually win over my own desire. Of course it’s better to debate the healthiest choice the hardest. It feels empowering when you make the choice that ultimately is best for you.

When the desires of someone else wins the argument in your head, you often lose.

When I choose to continue to run the full leg, or to pass on the cookie, or to take Saturday off, even though I have work to do but need some rest, I feel very empowered with the results. When I win the battle for the best choice for my highest good, I’ve taken control of me.

Have YOU won a battle in your head? Please share it in the comments. I’d love to know how my readers make the best decisions for themselves or overcome a tempting alternative that they may regret after. PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS!

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