Knowing something is one thing and putting it into action is another. Recovery is an area where the action part is paramount! So how do we do this? How do we take what we learn from books, talking, and screens and put it into action?
Practice Saying No
Personally, I believe if my clients haven’t “modified their bodies” or “internalized the learning,” we don’t have success. I have also heard “I don’t feel good enough about myself to say ‘no’ to what is bad for me and ‘yes’ to what is good for me.”
Here are some simple exercises/assignments you can do to increase your chances for success, regardless of where you are on the self-esteem chart. Invite a good friend (who also wants to have success in life) and make a commitment to practice a few times a week.
Let’s start with the simple assignment of saying “no.” In order to accomplish this exercise, we will also include making requests. Begin with simple requests like “please get me a glass of water.” The response has to be “No, thank you for asking.” After you have performed this exercise for five minutes each way, report to each other what happened. What sensations did you have in your body? What chatter tried to stop you? Repeat this exercise until your body is at least neutral and hopefully comfortable.
Raise the Bar
After you get comfortable with saying “no” to a simple task like get me a glass of water, start to raise the bar with triggering topics. The most difficult topics for most are sex and money. You will likely need many hours of practice and repetitions on these more challenging topics. As you start to feel more comfortable, have the requester add real-life drama and guilt to the request. “I need you to give me money; I haven’t eaten in a week.” The decliner can NEVER use a story to support “No, thanks for asking.”
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