I was talking with a client recently who was whinging about having to eat pizza for dinner on her Saturday night.
I inquired why the tone of voice - it’s tasty and usually doesn’t involve having to cook so it’s a win-win in my books!
It turns out, Julie HATES pizza! And yet her family got pizza every Saturday night because it’s what they all wanted.
And what did Julie want?
So why was she having pizza every Saturday night?
Julie had set up her life in such a way that to be a good mum, she always had to put herself last. She sacrificed her body for her kids, so that should continue and so their needs should always come before hers.
If she put herself first, she was selfish. And mums don’t get to be selfish. That would make her a bad mum. If she was a bad mum her kids wouldn’t love her anymore.
And so she continued to begrudgingly eat pizza as if it’s a testament to her love for her children. Sacrifice of the mozzarella kind!
Yet deep down, every Saturday she started to get anxious. She started resenting the evening meal knowing that, once again, she’s not be eating what she really wanted. She started despising herself and found she was going into this spiral of shame and self pity on a weekly basis, all over pizza!
What’s really going on is that Julie hasn’t set up her life so that she can win. There’s a reason they tell you to fit your own oxygen mask before helping others - if you’re not recharged and refuelled you will find yourself living a life of resentment and shame and wonder why the thought of a pizza could make you so unhappy.
News flash - it’s not the pizza!
So what did Julie do?
She learnt to put herself first. She got the family to try Thai - which they actually liked - and she shifted her previous rigid view of the world that my family will only love me if they get pizza.
Now Julie looks forward to Saturday’s and the family have a conversation about different food options that give everyone in the family the chance to eat what they want.
She’s intentionally set up her life so she can win. She also now truly believes that her family will love her regardless of what meal appears on the table.
And she’s rediscovered the joy in the little moments in life.
Are you like Julie with your version of Saturday night pizza that sets you off like New Years fireworks?
If so, I’d love to chat to you about how you too might be able to have Thai on occasion and build a life where you can win.