Looking on the bright side

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    • #12282
      Sophia G.
      Participant

      Hi Gillian,

      I’ve found the Week 4 really challenging, and at first I thought I could never make Choices to that more extreme level, and really struggled with it. But I’ve thought it through, and can see the logic of not denying unpleasant realities, and think I’m progressing ok towards accepting those stronger options/choices more. I hope so. It is really challenging.

      I’m going to do the 4.5 Questions soon, and before I do I have a question please, or questions.

      Would it help me if I focus on the good aspects of my unwanted potential choices? Sometimes there are some benefits, tho obviously usually hard to find.

      My main one is, which I’ve been aware of for years, is that being an addict gives me some insight into, and compassion for, other people with addictions. People with drink problems, gambling issues, all sorts of things which I would never dream of doing myself –

      – eg gambling really doesn’t appeal over-much at all. I’m perfectly happy buying a lottery ticket occasionally; it seems a good bet to me, and not an issue in any way. But seeing my own addiction to food (and previously smoking, years ago) obviously gives me insight. And it’s also helpful at work, where we get a lot of problems and annoyances from druggies and drinkers. It helps me be genuinely compassionate, unlike a lot of my colleagues who are very dismissive of such people when they make problems.

      So I think that bringing this to the front of my thinking will help me have a genuine choice, and I can tell myself that one of my choices is to continue being an addict which at least has this bonus of causing me to to be understanding and less arrogant etc. It’s a leveller too.

      Another almost separate question about looking on the bright side/ finding a benefit, might be that when I am looking at my options, if it’s something healthy like a banana, I can tell myself ‘Well at least it’s healthy’.

      I think this second method with eg bananas could be more complicated than the first method of awaking compassion.

      What would you advise please? And thanks so much.

    • #12283
      Gillian
      Moderator

      Sophia,

      To be honest it looks to me like you’re going down a strange and unproductive line of thinking here. Your own experience of food addiction (and smoking in the past) has given you insight and compassion for addiction in general and for those who are addicted to all sorts of things. So far, so good. But I don’t see how you continuing to overeat (or not) would have any impact on that insight and compassion you’ve gained.

      There’s a difference between accepting the reality of being someone who can overeat in an addictive way (which is the vast majority of people in our culture today) and actually doing that and acting on it. But it’s not as black-and-white as you seem to think? I don’t see the aim of this course to be turning you into someone who is not addicted to food. Is that what you’re thinking?

      However, the real problem (one shared by most if not all in my courses) is that you think by making a choice seem more positive you make it more real as a free choice. That is your biggest mistake. Bad choices with dreadful outcomes are still choices you are completely free to make. So even if there were no good aspects to your potential choices – none at all, only bad aspects – you still have the freedom to choose.

    • #12285
      Sophia G.
      Participant

      Thanks. I can see logically that bad choices with dreadful outcomes are still choices I’m free to make. I don’t want to deny reality.

      But I don’t actually see how I was going down a strange and unproductive line of thinking, sorry.

      I’ll have to re-read what you say and maybe put it aside to a later time. Or maybe I wasn’t clear, and made confusion.

      But I hear what you say about the ‘real problem’.

      Thanks very much.

    • #12317
      Gillian
      Moderator

      I think, Sophie, I cannot understand what you’re saying no matter how many times I read it.

      Maybe if you return to the instructions for the exercise:

      For example, “I can’t keep on eating so much because it’s making me miserable.”
      “I can keep on eating this much and continue to be miserable.”

      It’s not that complicated. You ask yourself which one you believe. That’s it.

    • #12320
      Louise
      Participant

      Sophie, I wondered if some of the ‘positive’ aspects of addictive eating you are seeking (eg, ‘overeating makes me more compassionate and understanding’; ‘it’s healthy food, so it’s ok, even if it is also food I don’t need right now’) are just justifications for the overeating you want to do? Just a thought?

    • #12332
      Sophia G.
      Participant

      Thanks very much, Gillian. Yes, I have been over-complicating things.

      I’m doing pretty well generally, and just want to sort out my major addictive desire/patterns first. I’ll fine tune it later. Not Too much at once.

      After an initial struggle, I have, I think, got to grips with the exercise, which is really just believing the truth at the end of the day. It seemed like a really hard thing to do, and a big step up from the previous exercises etc. But then after I thought it through and now they seem obvious truths

      e.g. ‘I can carry on eating whatever I fancy and just quietly, undramatically accept being a slave to my addictive desire.’

      ‘I don’t have to stop eating and I can just keep buying new clothes whenever my size goes up enough that I need new clothes..” Can I ask you more about this one please? –
      – I had thought that by making this option more palatable, i.e. thinking I could buy nice big clothes instead of dark sacks, this would help open up my mind enough so that I would see it as an Option and therefore make it more easy for me to see that option as well as the other option of not over-eating.

      But after your comments, I’ll avoid that as it may just complicate things. Is that right? Keep the buying-new-clothes-option simple/nasty instead of making it more palatable?

      I can keep it simple instead, and that will help me when there are some options with no bright side to them. Would you say that’s what you are advising, please? If I know the reasons behind things, it always helps me see things.

      Thanks so much.

      Thanks for your comment, Louise. I don’t think I was using those ‘positive aspects’ as justifications, but yes they certainly could be, especially the health angle of course, which I imagine is pretty popular with us all at times..!! … and certainly I’ve used it a lot in the past, whilst simultaneously definitely knowing really that I was conning myself. Think I won’t use that one as justification now, unless I slip a lot, which hopefully I won’t.

    • #12339
      Gillian
      Moderator

      Sophia,

      These exercises are to help you to gain awareness of your own thinking around these issues. They’re not about getting the correct answers.

      It’s best for you to figure out where you’re at with this.

      There’s more to cover of course, and I’ll be talking more about this exercise and choice in general.

    • #12364
      Sophia G.
      Participant

      Thanks very much, Gillian. I got a bit anxious, and working through it I did get clearer and more aware of my own thinking. Figured that confusion out, I think. Guess I was getting a bit black and white thinking about outcomes, as you said.

      You spoke earlier a few times about choices and outcomes being not all good or not all bad, which is where my confusion/lack of awareness lay, I think, which I hadn’t even realised was there. So when I remembered about you saying that, I felt happier. Outcomes are what they are, and some are mixed, and others are pretty pure hell especially the health-related.

      Just panicked a bit I think, as I’d thought I’d finally got a place I can succeed with this, and then I hit one of those walls.

      I like the way you make us figure things out ourselves often. We’re all adults.

      And I love the science behind this approach. Having had some very challenging experiences in some areas of life in the last few years, I find I am really cynical now about some things which I used to be too open to, and I am keen to find real truths not just ideas.

      There are many ideas and beliefs which I have lost faith in entirely, fairly recently, things which I was very close to and eventually walked away from (nothing to do with eating etc). But you base your teachings on sound science and experience. This is very good for me at the moment as I look for some truths. Maybe that’s why I may have been looking for ‘currect answers’ as you put it.

      So your approach is great.

      And the recommendations you made about Mark Lewis and Robert Sapolsky and others and their explanations of neuroplasticity, addiction, etc, Wow so useful to change our thinking. They are brilliant, so helpful.

      I look forward to what else you will say about this exercise (I’ve emailed mine in) and choice.
      As time goes on, more questions arise, so I’m watching and re-watching your videos.

      This is great, the way this online course is.

      Thank you very much for your help.

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