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Help Another, Help Yourself

Sometimes we know what to do but we just can’t do it. Then the light bulb goes off and we are able to do the thing we couldn’t get ourselves to do.

The other day, a woman who had been feeling a bit stuck in her ability to change her behavior shared an inspiring story. She had invited a younger woman to her home, a woman for whom she is a bit of a mother figure. The younger woman presently carries much more excess weight than the patient. The patient felt deep empathy and compassion for her young friend. With the friend in her home, she began to see the contents of her kitchen with new eyes, as if for the first time. She saw many processed foods lacking nurturing macronutrients and micronutrients. She heard herself say silently, “you would not feed this to this dear young friend, why would you have it here and feed it to yourself?”

When her young friend left, she was propelled by the love and wise thoughts that had entered her heart and mind. Even though the not so nourishing food may have been there for months or years, it was gone in a matter of minutes. In performing this act, and sharing it with me so that I can share it with you, she demonstrated that when we truly help another, we help ourselves, we cannot find where one ends and the other begins. Also, this story teaches us that when we try so hard to force changes in our behavior without change in our thoughts and feelings, we often end up frustrated and “beating ourselves up”. But when we do change our thoughts and feelings, behavior change can come much, much more easily.