The second way we are conditioned is called modeling.
What were your parents/guardians like in the arena of health, fitness and well-being when you were growing up? Did they take care of themselves? Did they spend time cooking healthy meals or was it frozen pizzas and processed food for dinner? Were they physically active or were they couch potatoes? Did they tend to engage in restorative / self-care practices, or destructive ones? (e.g. smoking, abusing alcohol) Did they enjoy vibrant health or did it always elude them?
Why is this information important? You’ve probably heard the saying “Monkey see, monkey do.” Well, humans are the same. As kids, so much of what we learn comes from what was modeled to us.
Although most of us would hate to admit it, there’s more than a grain of truth in the old saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” We tend to be identical to one or a combination of our parents in the arena of health, fitness and well-being.
Again, you can have all the knowledge and skills in the world, but if your “blueprint” isn’t set for success, your health is doomed.
People are often shocked to realize how much their parents’ experiences have influenced their beliefs and habits around health.
Some make instant gratification decisions when it comes to food and activity because “You could easily die tomorrow, so you might as well enjoy life while you can.” Others go the opposite route: they’re strict and regimented about their food choices and workout routines in an attempt to be “perfect” – to not turn out like their parents.
When anger or rebellion are people’s primary motivators for pursuing great health, it doesn’t usually result in the happiness and fulfillment they are seeking. Why? Because health and anger become linked in their minds, so the more athletic accomplishments (or other outward signs of health “success”) such individuals achieve or strive for, the angrier they get.
Eventually the higher self says, “I’m tired of being angry and stressed out. I just want to be peaceful and happy.” So they ask the same mind that created the link what to do about this situation. To which their mind answers, “If you want to get rid of your anger, you’re going to have to get rid of your health.” So they do. They subconsciously let their health go.
They make poor food and lifestyle decisions, they immerse themselves in other pursuits (e.g. career), or they sabotage their success in some other way. But that’s okay because now they’re happy, right? Wrong! Things are even worse because now they’re unfit, unwell, and angry. They got rid of the wrong thing!
They got rid of their health instead of the anger; the fruit instead of the root. Meanwhile, the real issue is, and always was, the anger between them and their parents. And until that anger is resolved, they will never be truly happy and healthy no matter what the scale say or how many finishers’ medals they have hanging on the wall.
The reason, or motivation, you have for striving for better health is vital. If it comes from a non-supportive root such as fear, anger, or the need to “prove” yourself, your health will either elude you, or if you do achieve some success, it will never bring you the happiness you thought it would.
Steps for Change: Modeling
- Awareness: Consider the ways of being and habits each of your parents had around health, fitness and well-being. Write down how you may be identical or opposite to either of them.
- Understanding: Write down the effect this modeling has had on your health so far.
- Disassociation: Can you see that this way of being is only what you learned and isn’t you? Can you see that you have a choice in the present moment to be different?
- Reconditioning: Declare out loud: “What was modeled to me around health, fitness and well-being was their way. I choose my way.”
I really encourage you to invest the time to do this exercise (and the verbal programming one from Part 2). Your health, vitality and energy may depend on it!
Now I want to hear from you. What’s one thing that was modelled to you about health and wellness growing up? Please leave me a comment below and remember, you have a choice to think and act differently going forward. How liberating!
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