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Living a SANE lifestyle may sound crazy, but just because something isn’t typical doesn’t mean it’s crazy.
The supportive people in our lives will be happy for us if we are striving to live a healthier and happier life.
If everything we do is accepted by everyone all of the time, we are probably not living differently from the norm.
We can’t control other people’s perceptions, but we can help or hinder their opinions by what we say and how we act.
The unknown may make people feel uncomfortable.
When a person strays from average, then they often automatically feel they will offend someone.
You may already have something about you that is unique; that sets you apart from the norm. Consider how you handle this difference in social situations and apply it to eating SANEly.
Ideas for communicating the why behind your food choices with others:
Tie your eating habits to your spiritual beliefs.
Tie your eating habits to a medical condition.
If you have a valid “because” people will often be more understanding.
If we are striving to live intentionally and have a deeper “why” behind our eating habits, we can share the benefits of living SANEly without making others feel inferior.
Not having diabetes is becoming more atypical.
Be intentional about what you put into your body.
Connect with heroes/mentors who chose a different path and be okay with being different.
Write a brief statement explaining why you eat SANEly; include a medical reason for doing so. i.e. “I am pre-diabetic. Will you please double the vegetables and hold the starch?”
Stretch goal: Observe your thoughts with respect to what others are thinking about your eating habits. Chances are most people are not thinking about what you are doing as much as you think they are.
How do you react if someone suggests you are crazy for living a SANE lifestyle?
What is considered normal in America today?
Do you want to live a normal life or an exceptional life?
What is your deeper “why” behind living the SANE lifestyle?
How can you respectfully share your reasons for going SANE?
Scroll up to pin and share the sexy infographic versions of these 😉
3:32 – 3:49, “If you are interacting with a person who finds out that you are changing your life so you can be happier and healthier…and their reaction to you is, “That’s just crazy,” then maybe we should talk about THAT first.”
5:45 – 6:21, “If we live our lives trying to never make another person feel uncomfortable because we are doing something that they know subconsciously they should be doing…well, there are a lot of really smart people all throughout history that have said something along the lines of, “Society and everyone in it is going to continuously try to bring you back to average.” No matter what, the second that you stray from average in anything—forget about food, anything—you will make people uncomfortable.”
7:10 – 7:52, “…if you want exceptional results and you want to live an exceptional life, you are going to be doing exceptional things, and those things are going to take you away from the norm. But because they are taking you away from the norm, they are going to take you away from the norm. The norm in this country is to be overweight. The norm in this country—I think it is something crazy like one in every three adults is either on, or has been on, some sort of antidepressant or anti-psychotic medication. Diabetes is becoming fairly normal, overweight is becoming fairly normal, ADHD is becoming “normal” in children, depression is becoming normal in adults. So deviating from the normal is okay.”
9:08 – 9:25, “I think it becomes an art, and I think you are brilliant at this, being able to live your life and do the things that you know you should be doing without ever coming across as judgmental or as though you are trying to just build up your own ego by doing these things, you are really doing it because you have a deep “why.”
12:37 – 12:46, “I think what is important is when your whole family is making this change, some more willingly than others (laughs), then you need to be able to know how to talk about it so that everybody can feel comfortable.”
12:48 – 13:40, “I like what you are saying about not being normal is okay, and I think that there are, of course, so many ways this applies in life. I don’t want my children to be normal in the language they use because they would be using foul language every single day. I don’t want them to be normal in how they spend their time after school because that means that they would pretty much be on video games from the moment they get home until the moment that they go to sleep. There are a lot of ways I don’t want my kids to be normal, and I think that when we talk about it, and when we teach the “why” to our children that is what helps them, because then they think, “Okay, I’m not going to let my brain turn to mush just by being on the screen all day, I’m going to do other things, too. And they start understanding the “why” and then they are the ones chopping the vegetables and they are the ones preparing the healthy foods and looking for better recipes. And all of a sudden it becomes this family bonding opportunity that starts to filter out into your friends, and into your relationships.”
14:09 – 14:51, “…chances are every single person who is listening to this has something they already do that isn’t normal that they have figured out how to talk about, whether it is they don’t drink alcohol, or I’m sure everyone listening to this podcast has got something about them that they would consider unique, and I bet maybe there are more than one of those things. And if you have one of those things which doesn’t really actually seem to be an issue—think about that—like you know this is something unique about you that has never really been an issue in social situations, you have just figured out a way to handle it, sometimes we treat eating as if it is different. Eating is just a lifestyle choice, just like anything else. It is just a lifestyle choice.”
15:30 – 15:48, “And I love how you also teach the whole idea of progress, not perfection. I think we can’t reiterate that enough, because what I’ve found is that when I tried to go cold turkey with my family on anything that was inSANE, that was really stressful.”
24:50 – 25:25, “I love that you are giving validation for going SANE, not that we really need it. Internally, I think everybody knows, “Yes, of course, I just want to eat healthy, I can eat healthy.” But I think this is almost kind of a warning, or lets you know, before you get started, before you go out there and start telling everybody, not everyone is going to be as excited about it as you are. And I just think we need to just make that really clear and let people know, yes, some people are going to think you are crazy, but you have your reason. You tie it back to whatever it is you want to tie it back to. I love it. Any reason is good, you just need a reason.”
27:18 – 27:40, “We are essentially saying, you can live SANE, you can be a good example, you can be respectful of other people, and as you are out there showing people you are very normal, and you are very approachable and is it stressful to interact with you even though I’m not the same way you are, I think that’s how you are able to help, actually, spread this good information so that other people might want to try it, too.”
April: Hi, this is April Perry and Jonathan Bailor back with another episode of the SANE show. Jonathan, I am excited about today’s topic.
Jonathan: It is going to be definitely a good one, April. I saw the notes beforehand and I was like, “Oh, yeah.” (laughs) So, I’m really excited.
April: Well, I’m giving you an opportunity today to help all of us understand why SANE isn’t crazy. But we’re going to talk about why it does sound crazy to a lot of people. And really, I’ll tell you, I haven’t been living SANE as long as you have, and my doctor and I and our family have had to kind of counteract a lot of different questions and issues so today we are going to kind of go rapid fire through those and help people who either have just started going SANE and are finding that they are trying to explain themselves a lot, or help people who are thinking about going SANE but who don’t want to be called freaky. We’ll help with that.
Jonathan: So, this may take two shows, because I think you made a really good distinction there—crazy versus sounds crazy. And sounds crazy is a really good distinction because there are a lot of things that have sounded crazy at one point in time. Just 100 years ago, 200 years ago, women voting sounded crazy, but that doesn’t mean it was crazy. It sounded crazy, but it’s not actually crazy (laughs).
April: It is different from the norm, I guess, right?
Jonathan: Exactly. And that is actually another thing we will talk about is just how, or not, different from the norm SANE eating is. But I think you’re right on. Something not being typical doesn’t mean it’s crazy. It means that not having diabetes is becoming atypical, but that doesn’t mean it’s crazy to not have diabetes, right? So, I think maybe in today’s show I would like to focus on the more macro—what do we mean by crazy, what do we mean by intentional eating, what do we mean about living and intentional life, and is that crazy? And then we can get into the specifics about if we want to do a root Q and A with people who are really pressing us on it? Maybe in the next show. How does that sound?
April: Okay, yes, that sounds awesome.
Jonathan: So the very first thing that I think is really important is how we define crazy and how we react to people calling us, or asserting that we are crazy. So, the very first thing is, should we even react if another human being is going to just say that something we are doing to try to improve our lives is crazy, and I think that is worth talking about in and of itself. If you are interacting with a person who finds out that you are consciously changing your life in some way so that you can be happier and healthier and their reaction is, “That’s just crazy,” then maybe we should talk about that first.
April: Yes, well, I’ve been on both sides, so I’ll share my first experience with this. It was probably ten years ago. I went to a friend’s house and she started talking about her diet and she said, “I don’t have any white flour or any white sugar anywhere in my house.” And at the time I was buying that in 25-pound bags at the store, and that’s what I was baking from all the time. I made cookies and breads and things like that. And I remember feeling kind of paranoid, like, “Oh wait, can I still be her friend? This is really strange that she doesn’t cook with these things that are just really normal, these are things that make my family happy.”
And I felt kind of uncomfortable around her because I didn’t even know what I should say, or if I wanted to bring her food, what would I bring to her? If our family got together for dinner, what would we eat? It just felt really odd. At first I just thought, well, it that really necessary? I mean, my family is healthy and we’re generally fine, and at the time all my kids were all really little and no one was really struggling, but at the same time I was still counting my calories, I was still exercising every day, and I wasn’t really happy overall with how I looked. But I didn’t connect it to those ingredients, specifically. So, I think it was just the unknown. I just felt kind of uncomfortable because I didn’t know how to connect with her. Does it seem like that is pretty common?
Jonathan: I think that is incredibly common, April, and what I want to really empower our listeners with in this episode, and we can get a little more concrete, but I think sometimes understanding a deeper side of things, not just the surface side of things, can really help people as they try to make long-term change. Sometimes other people may or may not have issues, and their issues are then projected onto us.
So, if we live our lives trying to never make another person feel uncomfortable because we are doing something that they maybe think they should be doing, or know subconsciously on some level that they should be doing and they’re not doing it, honestly, there are a lot of really smart people all throughout history that have made quotes something along the lines of, “Society and everyone in it is going to continuously try to bring you back to average.” No matter what, the second that you stray from average in anything—forget about food, anything—you will make people uncomfortable.
This is not a show about finances but how many people are like, “Oh my gosh, if I start making money or if I get a lot of money, people are going to feel uncomfortable around me.” Or, “If I have this level of income, or if I have this appearance, of if I date this person, or I do anything…” honestly, anything is going to offend someone who isn’t doing that other thing.
So, that’s from a macro perspective, if our goal is everything that we do, including how we eat and what we put into our body, is accepted by everyone all the time, there is nothing either of us can say, or anyone can say on any podcast anywhere that is going to allow us to reach that goal. So I think to be challenging that goal, and actually taking pride in the fact that if you want exceptional results and you want to live an exceptional life, you are going to be doing exceptional things, and those things are going to take you away from the norm. But because they are taking you away from the norm, they are going to take you away from the norm.
The norm in this country is to be overweight. The norm in this country—I think it is something crazy like one in every three adults is either on, or has been on, some sort of antidepressant or anti-psychotic medication. Diabetes is becoming fairly normal, overweight is becoming fairly normal, ADHD is becoming “normal” in children, depression is becoming normal in adults. So deviating from the normal is okay. Maybe that’s kind of a key take-away.
April: I love that. It reminds me of the idea of putting a whole bunch of crabs in a pot—have you ever heard about that, how you don’t have to worry that they are going to escape because any time a crab gets close to escaping the other crab will just pull it down, right back in? And so I think that you are right. There is a natural tendency for us, which is kind of sad, but I know I’ve been in that situation before where you feel this need to pull someone down who is doing something maybe better than you are.
My husband and I were actually talking about this same idea the other day. He said, “You know, there is this cognitive dissonance that is created when you see someone doing something you know you should do, but you’re not doing it.” There is just some dissonance. So you either need to, A, change your life and start doing what you know you need to do, or B, you need to decide in your mind that that person is crazy. But I think that there is a way to do this that doesn’t need to be holier than thou, I’m better than you because I don’t eat sugar, that type of thing, because that has been uncomfortable for me to be around when someone is trying to talk about a good habit they have, but they at the same time are trying to build themselves up by putting other people down.
I think we have to be very careful. I think it becomes an art, and I think you are brilliant at this, being able to live your life and do the things that you know you should be doing without ever coming across as judgmental or as though you are trying to just build up your own ego by doing these things, you are really doing it because you have a deep “why.”
Jonathan: April, that’s the key point there, in that there are ways—and this is my last sort of soapbox rant, about how we can’t control other people’s perceptions and other people’s perceptions are going to bring you back to the norm, no matter what, by and large. However, you are exactly right, that we can either help or hinder that process very easily. I think probably a lot of people have had an experience like you are describing where, I don’t mean to pick on vegetarians, but they are just maybe the most intentional—a lot of people know at least one vegetarian.
And depending on the vegetarian that you know, there are some vegetarians who—let me give a concrete example. We had Thanksgiving last year at my in-laws house, and they are absolutely awesome. And my brother-in-law brought one of his friends, and she is a vegetarian. And she is what I would call an awesome vegetarian, because she came, she made it very clear that she wanted nothing changed about the meal at all, she wanted the meal to be exactly the way it was going to be, she was going to bring some additional dishes, and it was just a complete non-issue. It was just like, “Oh hey, yeah, absolutely, I’ll have some of that mock turkey, I’ll have some of those sweet potatoes. Hey, I brought some tofurkey, would you like to have some?” It was a complete like, “Hey, I’m doing this, we’re not going to talk about why. Non-issue.” It added some spice to the mix, something different going on.
And contrast that to a story, for example, that my mother shared with me after I told her about that Thanksgiving holiday, and she said that one of her friends, one of their children was dating—was because of incidents like this—a vegetarian, and they had this wonderful family cookout, and it was a big deal so they had to purchase veggie burgers and they made the veggie burgers special for this guest. And when the guest was served the veggie burger, apparently they looked at it with sort of a disdained, angry look, and they said, “Was this made on the same grill as the other burgers?” It was in a very condescending way. And it was, and they said, “Well, I’m sorry, I just can’t eat this. I can’t even believe you would serve this.” So there are different ways that we can handle these situations, and let’s not be that second person. How about that?
April: Yes. I think that is a great idea, and I think that it’s a skill that you develop, and I think it is something that we definitely have to teach our children because I kind of assumed that my kids knew how to talk about going SANE in a way that was normal, and adult would think was normal, but them I started hearing from their friends, “Oh, sorry, we had some sugar. Is that okay? Are you upset?” And people were coming to me asking questions like I was this kind of militant mom, and I thought, “Wow, I probably need to work with my kids on how they can describe the eating that we are doing and the goals that we have, because it is not just me representing myself.” I think what is important is when your whole family is making this change, some more willingly than others (laughs), then you need to be able to know how to talk about it so that everybody can feel comfortable. And I really like that.
I like what you are saying about not being normal is okay, and I think that there are, of course, so many ways this applies in life. I don’t want my children to be normal in the language they use because they would be using foul language every single day. I don’t want them to be normal in how they spend their time after school because that means that they would pretty much be on video games from the moment they get home until the moment that they go to sleep. There are a lot of ways I don’t want my kids to be normal, and I think that when we talk about it, and when we teach the “why” to our children that is what helps them, because then they think, “Okay, I’m not going to let my brain turn to mush just by being on the screen all day, I’m going to do other things, too.”
And they start understanding the “why” and then they are the ones chopping the vegetables and they are the ones preparing the healthy foods and looking for better recipes. And all of a sudden it becomes this family bonding opportunity that starts to filter out into your friends, and into your relationships. Because with SANE, most people want to be healthier, most people want to lose weight, most people don’t want to get diabetes. So when they start hearing and seeing things are working for your family it actually gives them a lot of opportunities to start asking questions, maybe asking for a recipe here and there. And all of a sudden we have friends everywhere who are making these awesome SANE dishes, and it is pretty exciting to see your input.
Jonathan: April, you made a really key point there and that is, chances are every single person who is listening to this has something they already do that isn’t normal that they have figured out how to talk about, whether it is they don’t drink alcohol, or I’m sure everyone listening to this podcast has got something about them that they would consider unique, and I bet maybe there are more than one of those things. And if you have one of those things which doesn’t really actually seem to be an issue—think about that—like you know this is something unique about you that has never really been an issue in social situations, you have just figured out a way to handle it, sometimes we treat eating as if it is different. Eating is just a lifestyle choice, just like anything else. It is just a lifestyle choice.
This is sometimes why I get so amped up about the “everything in moderation” logic. The logic of “just eat anything, just not too much of it, just put anything in your body, just not too much of it,” we would never use that logic in any other area of our lives, ever—ever. It’s like, “Oh, just inhale anything, just not too much of it.” Well, wait a second, that doesn’t make any sense. So, we sometimes treat eating differently than any other lifestyle choice. So, if you have a lifestyle choice that you have made that is not normal, that doesn’t seem to cause a bunch of social awkwardness, what can you learn about that, and how can you apply that to your own SANity? What do you think about that?
April: Yes, I think that’s a great way to think about it. And I love how you also teach the whole idea of progress, not perfection. I think we can’t reiterate that enough, because what I’ve found is that when I tried to go cold turkey with my family on anything that was inSANE, that was really stressful. And it is interesting, I’ve been getting a lot of emails from mothers and children—it has actually been really neat to see a lot of people coming when I talk about this—and what I’m hearing is the question, “How do I get my family to change without revolting?” I heard the word revolt a lot, and I think that what is happening is that when we help to understand what it means to deviate from the norm, and when we connect it, like you were doing so well with people in history who have deviated from the norm.
Maybe that is something we can talk about for a moment, because I think that helps us understand this “why.” Yes, if we know that we are not going to get diabetes, we are not going to be overweight, we are going to be able to have healthier, stronger bodies. But I think connecting ourselves with mentors or with heroes, and helping people to see that those people were also called crazy, I think that is really helpful. I remember you said your mom would say, “Hey, Jonathan, do you want to be like Superman? Do you want to be strong?” I think that is really smart. And so, what are some other ideas that you have as far as heroes or people who were also called crazy?
Jonathan: There are really two key ways, I think, we can help with this. We talked about some great ideas, some great concepts, but I love how you always—you are very good at getting me to get back on track and make it concrete. So thank you. There are two things I think we can do here. One is, what words can we use with people in our own lives with our families to help them understand the deeper “why? But then there are also some things that we can do with people outside of our family to—I’ll call them free passes, because there are ways to describe things that are not normal that people will just blindly accept. It’s like a hack. It’s a social hack.
We can get into those in a second, but for the “why” with your own family, I think that is extremely important, so first and foremost people might just say, especially as a child, I can remember—I am not so far removed from being a teenager, I can definitely remember what it was like to be a teenager. And although I am further removed now, I was like, “Wow, if I happened to have a child in high school that child would be in high school right now. What the…?” (laughs)
April: I’m there—thanks (laughs).
Jonathan: (laughs) So as a child, you really want to be the norm. You want to have the same shoes everyone is having. When I was in high school, for example, it was all about starter jackets. Remember, back in the day? Starter jackets! Anyway, just the idea that it’s crazy to choose what you eat—that’s just factually false. For the vast majority—mainstream Christianity is, actually, the only one of the major world religions that doesn’t practice some sort of dietary restriction.
Jonathan: So, Orthodox Christianity, Mormon type of Christianity—forgive me if I’m not using the right term—Buddhists, Hindu, Islamic traditions, Jewish traditions, the Old Testament of the Bible—mainstream Christianity is the only religious tradition that really doesn’t hang its hat on some form of conscious eating. Again, it just choosing, it is being intentional, just like any way of life tells you to be intentional about the choices you make, being intentional about the foods you put into your body—you are putting things into your body, so being intentional about that is probably a pretty good idea. So that, in and of itself, I think if we can kind of frame it in terms of, honestly, throughout history, and even in the modern era, it is actually very, very, very typical to choose what you put into your body. I think that can be very helpful.
April: Yes, agreed.
Jonathan: Alright, so that’s the first thing. It’s not that atypical in the first place. And I think the key sort of hack that you can do—that is something I find to be helpful when talking to people who you have some time to actually sit down with and kind of get into it with, just describe it like, “Hey, you know, what we’re doing is, we’re just being intentional, we’re just being deliberate, and we’re not alone, we’re not crazy, we’re not on some island by ourselves.” This is a pretty typical thing that people do and just because the commercials you see on television don’t support this, the commercials you see on television don’t support a lot of the stuff you probably teach your kids to do, so this just falls in line with that.
The second side of this is, how do you talk to other people about it? So, you are going to have two groups of people. You are going to have people that you are going to have an opportunity to really talk about this with. That is going to be a very small percentage. Then you have people that just need to get through the day. And if you just need to get through the day, here are the two free passes you have. These are two things that you can tie something back to where I don’t care if it is professional, personal, educational, you get a free pass.
The first is, tie it to your spiritual beliefs. If you tie something to your spiritual beliefs, at least in America, anyone calling you crazy because of that is socially unacceptable. So we call this good or bad, but if you say, “I have to miss work because it is a religious holiday,” you get to miss work and no one can fault you for that. So if you can tie this back to your spirituality you get a free pass. No one is going to question you on it.
The second thing you can do to get a free pass is to tie it to a medical condition. So if you can say, “Hey, I am prediabetic, or diabetes runs in my family, so we have to avoid sugar,” honestly, imagine if both my parents had diabetes, I am trying to avoid diabetes, and do you honestly think any human being would come back to you and be like, “Well, you’re crazy!”
Jonathan: If you tie it to a medical condition, or you tie it to a spiritual belief, you immediately get hacks. So, those can be helpful.
April: And I do that all the time, actually, because both my parents do have diabetes and my mother has Alzheimer’s which is type 3 diabetes, as we have found out. So, yes, I get it all the time, and people are so understanding, so willing to just accommodate. And usually I say something like, “Well, so is my dad, or so is my grandpa.” And so, I think that is a beautiful way to do it, as well.
Jonathan: And I think it is really powerful, April, recently there was a South park episode that made—you know something is becoming popular when South park starts to make fun of it. There was a South park episode about people—I only saw segments of it, but I think it was basically off the gluten fad. Now everything is gluten-free and you can’t eat gluten? So obviously, if you go SANE, you’re unintentionally going to be avoiding gluten. You won’t eat much gluten when you’re SANE. But most people when they say, “I’m gluten free,” the reason people will perceive that as holier than thou is that they don’t really have a reason. They are just like, “Oh, I’m gluten-free because gluten is bad.”
Quick side note. A very, very famous study was done—I hope I haven’t said this already in the podcast, but really quickly, there was a very famous study done across many, many cultures where there was a line of people waiting for a copy machine, and an individual wanted to cut in front of them to make a copy, and they said, “Excuse me, I’m in a hurry, and I only have two pages to copy. May I cut in front of the line?” And 93 percent of people said yes. So, she gave a great reason and 93 percent of the people said yes. Then they did this again and she said, “Excuse me, can I cut in line?” She didn’t give a reason. Very low compliance. Only 40 percent of people let her cut in line. Well, then they did a third thing, and this is the fun part. She said, “Excuse me, can I cut in line because I need to make some copies?” Which is, of course, it’s a reason, but it’s an irrelevant reason, but what the study found consistently is that the rate of compliance was just about equal to when the person gave a valid reason.
Jonathan: People just need to hear a reason. There is a “because” meter in your brain and that’s why it made you crazy when your parents would say, “Just listen to me because I said so,” and you would be like, “Ahhh!” So, you need a valid “because.” So as long as you have that valid “because” and you don’t come off like, “I don’t eat gluten because gluten is bad,” people don’t really get that. But if, for example, you were to say, “I don’t eat gluten because if I do I have a horrible allergic reaction, I don’t think people are going to call you out for that. So just think about it, come up with that quick “why” sound bite. And if you do find people that pressure you even after that “why” sound bite, maybe they are self-selecting themselves out of your social circle because people that are going to criticize you for your medical needs and your spiritual needs—I’m not sure I want to associate with those people in the first place.
April: Well, I love that you are giving validation for going SANE, not that we really need it. Internally, I think everybody knows, “Yes, of course, I just want to eat healthy, I can eat healthy.” But I think this is almost kind of a warning, or lets you know, before you get started, before you go out there and start telling everybody, not everyone is going to be as excited about it as you are. And I just think we need to just make that really clear and let people know, yes, some people are going to think you are crazy, but you have your reason. You tie it back to whatever it is you want to tie it back to. I love it. Any reason is good, you just need a reason.
But I think there are so many valid reasons that are so easy to talk about, and I think when it is just done in a way that is humble, just not trying to impose my beliefs on anybody, but “This is why I’m doing it, and this is what I believe in,” I think that most people are really happy for you, for the most part, and yes, they might not know what to feed you if they invite you over for dinner, but I think that gives us more reasons to invite people to come to our homes for dinner, to be able to open our lives.
And I have found that is one of my main challenges—I’m an awful hostess. I just don’t have platters, I don’t have tablecloths, I don’t have—that’s just not my thing, and I’m always really hesitant to have people over. When you and Angela came to visit our family I was totally stressed out. Fortunately, you guys were so easy. But I’ve found that as I’ve learned how to just open up my life and open up my home and not ever feel like I have to apologize, whether I’m apologizing for not having a pretty tablecloth, or whether I’m apologizing for not having a lot of sugar, I feel like letting people into your life—that’s what people want. They want to spend time with you. They aren’t coming to see your house, or to see your place settings, or to see some fancy garnish. They are coming because they want to have time to be with you in your life or in your home.
And I think that when we can just make sure that we are not creating these walls between us and other people, “I’m not associating with them anymore,” you have so many reasons out there that you can divide yourself from everybody else in the world. But when we can start breaking those down and be able to really be responsible with each other for what really matters to each person, I think, not that we are just trying to build world peace here, but we kind of are. We are essentially saying, you can live SANE, you can be a good example, you can be respectful of other people, and as you are out there showing people you are very normal, and you are very approachable and is it stressful to interact with you even though I’m not the same way you are, I think that’s how you are able to help, actually, spread this good information so that other people might want to try it, too.
Jonathan: I love it, April. Well, in the tradition that you have taught me, do you mind if we close, because I know I have taken this completely off track of our notes?
April: It’s okay.
Jonathan: I do have a next action and a stretch goal that I would like to share with people.
April: Please do.
Jonathan: Alright, so the next action, and we always do this, the next action is a little bit easier than the stretch goal. You may say, “No, we need more of a stretch!” It’s going to be more of a stretch, don’t worry. But the next action is just try to think about SANity on some level, like someone who has a peanut allergy. Food allergies are quite common and people aren’t like, “Dang it, Billy, you and your peanut allergy. I wish you wouldn’t go into anaphylactic shock all the time.” So just try to change your mindset a little bit about that. And then, honestly, we’re all pre-diabetic. Technically, we are all precancerous and we are all pre-Alzheimer’s. Pre-blank just means you don’t have this disease yet, so the next action is to think of a quick and more medically-oriented way that you can—diabetes is my go-to. Even “weight loss” has a stigma around it. Not becoming diabetic doesn’t.
So honestly, if it is just a quick next action, write down a sentence where you say something along the lines of—here is what I say when I say, personally, when I go to restaurants. I say, “I’m prediabetic, could you double the vegetables and hold the starch?” And that’s 100 percent honest. I’m not diabetic, I could become diabetic in the future, therefore I am prediabetic. So, as a next action I would recommend trying to customize something like that, just a quick sound bite where you can say, just like if you had a peanut allergy you would say, “Oh, by the way, I’m allergic to peanuts. I’m so sorry if that is an inconvenience, but I just need to give you a heads up, I am allergic to peanuts.” Easy. So, “Hey, I’m prediabetic.”
Or, if you were diabetic, you would say, “Hey, I’m diabetic.” And people aren’t going to make you feel uncomfortable. So, just come up with a quick talking point like that, which isn’t “holier than thou,” it’s not about weight loss, it’s not about being skinny, it’s about avoiding diabetes. And then for the stretch goal, and this is going to be a little bit of a stretch, and I’m going to try to describe it as quickly as I can, but I recently heard something in an audio book that I’m just pining to share with people.
April: (laughs) Good.
Jonathan: And that is, a lot of what we have talked about here is a little bit of, I think that Mary thinks that Thomas thinks that I might be thinking about—you know, so it’s this internal, who is thinking what about who, and da-da-da-da-da. Well, sometimes we might think that someone thinks something about us that they don’t actually think and we create the second world in our brain—the second reality. So an exercise that has really helped me, and a distinction that has really helped me is, any time you are talking to yourself, there is a speaker and a listener. In order for you to speak to yourself there has to be two parties. There has to be someone talking and there has to be someone listening.
And what you will notice is that the listener is just quiet and peaceful. The speaker is the one who is full of anxiety, who is full of like, “Oh my gosh, all these people think things about me.” That’s what Freud calls your ego. That’s not really you. That thing that is really you is the quiet listener that is just listening. So the stretch goal is, I would just ask, if at all possible try this, it’s very hard, it’s not easy, but if you can just observe yourself having these thoughts, thinking, “Oh my God, Mary thinks that I think that she thinks that Thomas thinks that Billy thinks,” some of that might not actually be real. And if it’s not real, then you really don’t need to worry about it because it’s not actually there. So, as a stretch goal, can we observe our own thoughts about this because I wonder how many of those are literally just our thoughts about it. Does that make sense?
April: Yes, and I heard a quote that I am going to quote very badly, because I don’t have it word for word, but it was something like, “If you’re worried about what people are thinking about you, you might be surprised how little they actually are.” And I think about that all the time, because it is true. You think everybody is out there with this checklist of everything I’m supposed to be, and do, and have, and they are checking all of my responsibilities and they know that my car hasn’t been washed in a month and they know that all these things that I haven’t done. It’s really not true. Most people are thinking more about themselves or about their own responsibilities. They are not really all that concerned about you. And so, I think when you realized you aren’t being observed as closely as you think you are.
And I’m living with teenagers right now and so this is something that we have to talk about all the time, because when you are a teenager you are kind of concerned that everybody is watching your hair and your clothes and your every move and maybe that is true while you are a teenager. But I agree, if you can love those two words that you talked about and recognizing that you don’t have to be always concerned and always thinking that everybody is there to find to fault with you. In fact, typically, quite the opposite.
Jonathan: I love this, April. This is my kind of podcast. I love these metaphysical heady podcasts, but we promise the listeners the next show we are going to do something similar but we are going to do more typical sound bite things.
April: I have a list, all the reasons people think SANE is crazy, so we’re going to go through those and we’re going to help to kind of squash those and help people know what to say. So, this has been a wonderful SANE show. Really excited about the next action and the stretch goal, I think it is totally doable, coming up with our “why,” coming up with that reason, and not worrying so much about what other people think about us. So thanks again for being with us and remember to stay SANE.
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