The title to chapter 4 of The Year of No Nonsense is the crux of why I love this book. The chapter is called, “Breaking Up with the Lies We Tell Ourselves“. It resonates so deeply that I lost my breath a little when I read it.
Not that I actively lie to myself now, although in truth, I still do… sometimes. Not often. Hardly at all, really. But, sometimes.
The author, Meredith Atwood, is the kind of person I’d like to know in person. From her “About” page: Meredith Atwood is a former attorney, author, podcaster, speaker, 4x IRONMAN triathlete, and coach (endurance, strength, life, career). <<< Well! That sounds interesting, doesn’t it? She writes like you’d expect… smartly like a lawyer and punchy like a coach. It’s an engaging voice and one I couldn’t put down.
Of course, before I read that chapter 4 title… it was the title of the book that grabbed me. That part about “No Nonsense” screamed out for my attention and was the only thing I saw, as I reached for the book. Because, see, I was already on the path. I told you about a little of it here, in this post about leaving Facebook. And this is also where chapter 4 comes in… because…
Lemme tell ya…
I’d meant to leave FB the day I wrote that post. Cold turkey, except it really wasn’t, because I’d be toying with the idea for months. On that day (September 21, 2021) I closed my page dedicated to this blog and never looked back. But my personal FB page? I went back-and-forth. Deactivate, activate, deactivate, activate. Until just before the whistleblower / closure. Just a few days before, I’d reactivated with a mission in mind. I fulfilled that mission today by writing the following:
- A story for you: Back in the early days of message boards, there came a time when members decided it was time to leave. While it was either a determined decision or spur-of-the-moment, the outcome looked the same. If the member dared to write a “goodbye message” they were called a child, taking their toys and getting off the playground… or worse, a Drama Queen. I always understood the “Why?” of it, as I am a preemptive thinker (and driver, for that matter! LOL) always looking ahead to (hopefully) avert potential dangers, or in this case, let people know you’re leaving. So, my friends, I’m closing up Facebook shop. If you want to keep in touch, I may be found on my blog: theselfhelpwhisperer.com FYI: My choice is NOT a direct result of the outage the other day, although I had to laugh as I was deactivated for the better part of September and opened up just in time be included in the closure.
To add to that waffling, or maybe because of it, the rest of my life fell in line.
I’d stopped walking every day. I told myself it was the weather – and it was – a little.
I’d kept up with the calorie-counting but on too many days, I played around the edges of the maximum allotted calories.
Yeah, still mostly active. Yeah, still mostly eating right. LIES I told myself. See?
But lies you tell yourself are not the only ones discussed in this book. In fact, it all begins with your childhood and heads into adulthood with the lies OTHERS have told you.
From there, Atwood uses the rest of the book to get you excited about reclaiming your health, happiness and success. How? By getting rid of the nonsense!
But, look… she doesn’t expect you to do it all at once. In fact, she asks you to begin by identifying “My One Nonsense Thing” and going from there. She likens it to an onion and calls it, “The Whole Life Overhaul”. If you peel away too much or set a piece of the onion aside without addressing it, you’ll have a stinky mess.
I love what she says on page 207 – one small sentence that I know is TRUTH. Here goes: “Psssst – you aren’t broken.” Simple, but true. When we feel broken, she says, we “chuck ourselves into the landfill” and the list of things that need to be “fixed” feels endless. We just lay there. I mean, what else is there to do?
Instead, and in opposition to what many psychotherapists say (and I have agreed with wholeheartedly!), we need to peel that onion – from the outermost layer and work your way in.
NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
How many times have I mentioned that finding the core of a problem is the only way to permanently fix it? Many.
Let’s take weight, for example. Maybe a morbidly obese person has been fat since they were a pre-teen. The person has many choices of how to attack the problem, of course. But in the interest of describing (what I believe is) the objective in this book, there are two choices:
- Work on it through therapy, where the goal is to determine what caused the weight gain in the first place and go from there. For example: It’s remembered that there was sexual molestation and the weight gain was used as an unconscious form of protection. Theoretically, if not literally, heal the trauma from the molestation and the weight will drop off, not being needed any longer. Or, after this realization, begin working on healthy ways to lose the weight, now that you no longer have that core trauma paralyzing you. This is dealing with the core issue that is causing the immediate issue and working outward.
- Work with a health coach and / or nutritionist and lose weight, which immediately makes a person feel healthier and more able to deal with current health concerns and in turn, is more able to deal with the trauma of the past. For example: A person admits they’re obese and begins to lose weight. In doing so, their depression lifts, they get more active, have more energy, and sleep better. The more they care about their health, the healthier they become. Therefore, they are more able to deal with trauma from the past. This is dealing with the immediate problem first and working inward to the core issue. <<< This is what Atwood calls the Truth Onion, beginning with the truth, “I’m obese”.
I’m not saying one way is right above the other – in fact, I suspect they both have merit for different personality types. And, let’s face it… it’s almost always a good idea to get rid of excess weight… for our health. Body positivity aside and no judgement here.
So yeah, this book REALLY made me think! I’ve been trying to get rid of the nonsense for YEARS. It gave me the impetus to dig a little deeper into why I have done things the way I have. To be clear, I’ve done both of the suggestions above for my weight – but neither as whole-heartedly as I might have, had I 100% gotten on board either way. Just something to think about.