Defining What Really Matters: Are You Spending Your Energy Where It Counts?


A few weeks ago I joined a mental health for creative entrepreneurs group led by one of my dear friends, Rachel, an incredible therapist and artist (she's awesome - check her work out!). Y'all, having other female business owners to talk to and get through the ups and downs of running a business is everything.

This week, group focused on comparisons. In group, Rachel had us write down four people/relationships, items, personal qualities, and abilities each that we value most. Then, we had to cut our list in half, scratching off two items from each category to reveal what's most important. It was insanely hard. Like, I had to cut out my dogs. To the hubs and my BFF, just know you know that you're really valued. 

Besides playing some cruel Hunger Games joke, the point of cutting items off our list was to help us define the values, people and things that mean the most. There's only so many hours in the day, so in a way, crossing items off our list is what we do everyday when we decide where we want to spend our time and mental energy. Put more resources towards the things you value most = joyful, fulfilled, nourished life. 

The "aha" moment I had was when I realized that the areas where I have insecurities or get trapped in comparisons were things that didn't even make my original list. For example, I often find myself envious of other people's material possessions (cuter clothes, nicer house, the whole keeping up with the Joneses shebang), but when it came time to list four items I value, I honestly had the hardest time coming up with items that I truly love. How crazy is that to waste time stressing about things that I don't even really care about?

Doing that exercise made me think about how much time many of my clients spend thinking about food, exercise, thinness and "health."* Those thoughts can take up an overwhelming majority of their day, crowding out time spent on activities or with people they truly love. 

*Using quotations because I find for most people who are obsessing about health, unless they're actually sick with a medical condition that affects their quality of life, their idea of health is mostly about thinness. 

If you could only spend your time developing two personal qualities, would thinness be one of them? If people could only define you by two personal qualities, would you want thinness to be up there? Is thinness a quality you admire in others? Or is it just something you feel envious of? If thinness is a quality that's on your list, how is the pursuit of it affecting other items on your list? Is the pursuit of thinness bringing you closer in the relationships you treasure most? Is it helping you highlight the abilities you care about? 

Is health a quality you'd put on your list? I didn't even think about listing it on mine, probably because health is something I take for granted. Seeing as how health plays such a huge role in quality of life, I could see it being on many people's list.

But what I wonder is if health is something you truly treasure, enough to list it as one of one of only two qualities you spend your time on, would you take care of it in the same way? Would health mean restricting yourself from favorite foods, or would health mean mindfully savoring foods that bring you joy. Would you improve your health by forcing yourself to take intense workout classes you hate, or finding activities you enjoy that make you feel good. When you're focused on real health and not the image of health, it's easier to see that health encompasses mental, social and spiritual health along with physical health. 

What relationships, items, personal qualities, and abilities do you value most? Is that where you're spending your time? 


I work with clients locally in Columbia, SC and virtually throughout the US, helping them discover their happiest and healthiest lives by nourishing a healthy relationship with food and their body. Learn more about my philosophy here.

More on mental health: 

Dieting? Well, there goes your social life. 

Dieting? Well, there goes your social life. 

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Mental Health is Health Too

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Life Itself Is The Proper Binge