Someone wrote to me and told me that she had made some choices which were different to what she expected to have made. This is my response.
We all have to learn that we are human (and, also, that those around us are human), and that we can make choices that we don’t necessarily consciously agree with.
Once we accept that we have made a choice counter to what we believe is right, all we need to do is make the next choice conform to what we believe is right.
In reality, there is no right or wrong. There is only what we believe to be right. That is what we strive to conform to. If we stray, we can always bring ourselves back to what we believe is right. We do this daily in all areas of our lives, but, for some strange reason, when we stray from our concepts of what is right diet-wise, we often figure that all is lost, and we continue to do what we know is not right.
What we always need to understand is that the next meal can be different… can conform to what we believe is right.
Each meal we eat is a separate entity. Once we understand that, we can begin to handle our “transgressions”, forgive ourselves, and move on to the next meal, and make it conform to the things we want to do.
Sometimes, this might be a meal by meal process, and sometimes it might be just a momentary digression. Regardless, each meal is a new opportunity.
Re-reading this response, I am reminded of something that many of us might be aware of, but not consider when we are thinking about what we eat. In Christianity, we are taught to work at adhering to what we believe Jesus, or God, wants us to do. At the same time, we are taught that God is a loving and forgiving God, and that, if we mess up, we can straighten up, and God will still love us (remember the Prodigal Son story?). Why can we not be as forgiving of ourselves as we believe God to be forgiving of us?
Of course, if we just continue to *expect* to be forgiven, we should, at some point, wonder how big God’s forgiveness really is (I believe that it is unlimited – that, even on one’s death bed, if we repent, God will forgive us) In the case of our bodies, God has given us a vessel which has an expiration date. If we believe that right living and right eating can extend that expiration date, then we should strive to care for the temple which God has given us, and, we might beat ourselves up if we don’t do what we think we should to care for it. If we are working on a religious timetable, that should be enough to keep us on track.
If we are not working on any religious timetable, i.e., if we don’t believe in God and all that, then we should eat any way we please because nothing really matters, and nothing will ever change anyway, and the end will come. Or…. if the end is going to come, you might think you can stave it off for a while, and then you are on your own, and you have to make your choices. If you choose to eat wrong, well, it’s your choice… the end is coming regardless of what you do. If you choose to eat right according to what you believe to be right, and you adhere to that schedule, well, then, the end is going to come, but you might be happy believing that you might have put it off for a while longer.
Regardless of your beliefs, if you have a belief in how you should eat, then you should strive to eat that way. You will have made a conscious decision. If you choose to disregard what you have said you want to do, then that is a choice that you have made, and you should accept your choice as one that you have made consciously (I mean, you did not wake up stuffing your face with that cheesecake, did you? I mean, how did it get into your refrigerator in the first place?) If you make choices, those are choices that you have made, and you must accept that you have made those choices. At the same time, you must be aware that, at the same time that you are enjoying the choices that you have made, or beating yourself up about having made them, you can make your next choices be more in line with what you believe to be right choices. You can always make new choices. You are not locked into your past choices at any step of the way. If you are Christian, you already understand this on some level. If you are not, well, you can still get into the idea, and understand that your next choice (on any issue) can be the start of your new life.