How to Ditch the “Should-Know-Better” Part of You That Goes for Cupcakes Over Carrots

As multi-dimensional beings, we're comprised of many different "parts" all living together within one psyche.

Each part, it seems, has a mind of its own.

When it comes to eating, there's a part of us that knows pretty well how to make healthy choices.

And then...there's a part of us that, despite knowing better, all to often bypasses the fruit bowl for the candy jar, orders a bacon cheeseburger over baked salmon, goes for seconds when the first plate, slice, drink, etc. was enough, or takes the entire chip bag or ice cream container to the couch instead of a bowl.

Most of us can't stand this should-know-better part of us. We criticize, curse and condemn it. We try to wrestle it with willpower or shame it into submission. We swear at it, promising, "This is it. Never again!"

And where does all this judging, punishing, cussing and declaring get us?

Usually, our well-intentioned perfect eater takes control for a few hours, days or weeks until...we once again find ourselves with cupcake frosting on our nose, chip crumbs covering our shirt, or wine stains on our teeth.

So, how do we end this tug-of-war between our "good" and "bad" selves? How can we stop repeating these same old patterns and transform all this energy into habits that better serve us? Here's how:

Step 1: Accept It.
Most likely, you reject this undesirable, seemingly self-sabotaging part of you and its irksome behavior. However, what you resist persists. Therefore, your lack of acceptance actually inhibits the transformation process and creates more suffering.

Acceptance is always the first step. Releasing any unwelcomed aspect of your being starts with embracing the totality of yourself, including your compulsive, messy, imperfect parts.

It sounds counterintuitive, but acceptance will empower you to make genuine, lasting change from a place of love not loathing. 

Step 2: Listen to It.
The very wise Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron says, "Nothing ever goes away until it's taught us what we need to know." 

As hard as it may be to believe, this undesirable part of you is here to help you, to shine a spotlight on an aspect of your life that needs some love, attention and healing. It's trying, often desperately, to fulfill an unmet need.

Once you've reconciled with your rejected self, listen to its message with compassionate curiosity and tenderness. Deepen your understanding of it. Ask yourself:

  • Who is the "you" getting in your own way? 
  • What is it trying to teach you? 
  • What need is it trying to fulfill? 
  • How is it protecting or serving you? 

When you finally get its lesson, its presence will no longer be needed. By befriending and attending to this once-loathed, now-welcomed part of you, it will calm down and eventually move along.