Take a Break
Celebrating You 2.0
You can’t change a habit by “just saying no.” You have to change your brain and how the habit works. As daunting as that might seem, it’s easier than you might think.
Changing your brain starts with practicing two skills: questioning your thoughts and learning how to respond to your feelings without distracting or pushing them away. These are skills that everyone needs and that can be applied to every part of life.
Learning how to do this requires that you become acquainted with yourself. You discover that when your relationship with yourself is solid, it’s so much easier to say no when all your excuses appear.
This is why celebrating yourself matters. Otherwise habit change is just going to battle with willpower, and trust me, willpower always gives out.
What You’ll Discover
The reason why your relationship with yourself is connected to habit change.
Why so many people believe that celebrating yourself is a bad thing.
How self-love leads to becoming less self-absorbed and how this helps change your relationship with alcohol.
Featured on the show
You are listening to the Take A Break podcast with Rachel Hart, episode 200.
Welcome to the Take A Break podcast with Rachel Hart. If you’re an alcoholic or an addict, this is not the show for you. But if you are someone who has a highly functioning life, doing very well, but just drinking a bit too much and wants to take a break, then welcome to the show. Let’s get started.
Hello my friends. It is my 200th episode. It’s so wild. Seriously, how is this my life? How did I do this? I really have this question a lot. I’m kind of blown away that this is the life I’m living. How did I change my relationship with alcohol? How did I write a book about it? How do I have a podcast about it? How do I have a business all about this?
Not only that, but a business that supports my family. How on earth is this possible? And then I remember, oh right, because I learned the think-feel-act cycle. I learned the importance of my thoughts and what was happening in my mind, and how what I was thinking creates my feelings, which leads to whatever I do or don’t do in the world, all of my actions. Not just whether or not I pick up a drink, but everything.
But still, even still, I get a little blown away by it sometimes. I will tell you, my mother, I love my mother. She is so excited for me; my dad is so excited for me as well. They are I think also kind of blown away by what I’ve done. But my mother always will say, “You know Rachel, I remember when you wouldn’t even call the local pizza place to place an order.”
This is a thing that she always comes back to. She really wanted me to do this growing up, to get comfortable on the phone. And I really didn’t like doing it. And here I am with a podcast. But listen, I’m not a unicorn. There is nothing unique or different or special about me and my ability to do this or my ability to change my relationship with alcohol or change my desire.
I just learned something that no one ever teaches us. They should teach this in school and they don’t. And it is the biggest disservice done for everyone. But here’s what I learned. You can stop believing your brain. You can stop listening to all of the thoughts in there as if it’s just the gospel, the truth, that it cannot be questioned.
All of your thoughts, I can’t handle this, I need a drink, I deserve it, one won’t hurt, everyone else is drinking, it’s so weird not to, they’re going to judge me, people are going to think I have a problem, I don’t want to be the buzzkill, it’s so boring not to drink. All of these thoughts, and I know there are more because I had many more, I just stopped believing that they were the truth.
I just kind of cracked the door open a little bit to start to question them. What would happen if they weren’t true? What would happen if I started to consider that maybe all of the evidence I had backing these thoughts up, maybe that happened because that’s the only story I allowed my brain to see? That’s the only lens through which I could view the world.
That’s what is really possible here. Once you start to question all of the thoughts that are fueling the habit, all of the thoughts that are leading to you picking up a drink, suddenly it’s not just that you can change your relationship with alcohol, it’s that you learn that all of your thoughts are up for grabs. Everything you think. Not just what you think about alcohol. Everything is up for grabs. That’s what’s so powerful, that’s what’s so exciting.
And I will tell you, that is what I believe is the true transformation that is possible. And you know what, I’m still in the birthday mood, I like having a whole birthday month. I like taking November from a whole birthday month. So I want to talk about what it means to celebrate yourself without a drink.
I talk about this very early on in the podcast, episode 42. It’s all about celebrating you. And what does that look like when the celebration doesn’t include alcohol? What would you do? How would you spend your day? What do you actually desire to do? How do you desire to spend your time?
But I want to take this idea deeper. I want to take it deeper than just how do you desire to spend your time and what do you want to do. That’s very important. But I think it’s so much more powerful to really start doing the deeper work of what if celebrating you isn’t just what you desire to do, it’s how you talk to yourself.
Do you celebrate yourself with the language that you use to talk about yourself, or does that language focus all on your flaws, everything you need to fix, everything you need to do better? Because listen, that’s where my brain was for a very long time. And in fact, that’s where my brain will still hang out to this day unless I make a point of managing it.
And when I say manage it, I don’t mean deleting the negative thoughts. I mean holding them up to the light, seeing that it’s just a thought, it’s just a sentence, and maybe I can question it. Maybe I can see what it creates for me in my life when I believe it and when I allow it to go unchecked.
Every time that my brain wants to go to okay Rachel, here’s another thing you’re doing wrong, here’s another thing you need to fix, here’s another thing you’re screwing up, you know what, it feels terrible. And it’s exhausting. It’s not just that it feels terrible. It’s exhausting because then I go on this wild goose chase to try to fix myself.
And you know what, maybe it’s because I’m turning 40, I think that I’m really at the place where I don’t want to be on that chase anymore. I’ve done so much work leading up to get to this point, and I know a lot of you have as well.
But what if we were just going to drop it? What if we were just going to see, maybe this idea that we’re doing something wrong and that we have something to fix and that we got to find the problem, maybe that’s the lie we’ve been fed. The lie is that being negative is useful. It’s productive.
Oh and PS, you don’t want to be too positive about yourself because you really shouldn’t toot your own horn. You’re not supposed to brag. You’re not supposed to really say out loud how great you are. But I really want you to consider why not? Why are we supposed to diminish ourselves? Why is that a good thing? Why is it acceptable for us to focus on what is wrong with everything about us, but it’s not okay if we focus on what’s amazing?
And if we do focus on what’s amazing, oh, we definitely shouldn’t say it out loud. I want you to think about that question because there are amazing things about you. Things that your family or your friends or your neighbors or strangers, that other people can readily see. They can see what’s amazing about you.
But what happens if someone points them out? What do you do? Do you push it away? Do you dismiss it? Do you say, oh, they’re just saying that? They have to say that, they’re my partner, they’re my best friend, they’re my family, they’re just being nice.
But seriously, why do we do this? I really want you to consider this because I have been deeply considering this in my own work. I will tell you, it is wildly uncomfortable for me to say I’m amazing, I’m smart, I’m hilarious, I’m fun to be around, I’m a great mom, I’m a great wife, I’m a wonderful daughter and sister and friend, I’m talented, I’m beautiful, I’m successful, and I’m a badass.
Saying all of that out loud, it makes me want to crawl under a rock. But why? Why on earth is celebrating ourselves a bad thing? I think a lot of people that I work with, they’ll say, well, I don’t want to have a big head, I don’t want to be a narcissist. But you know what, there’s a big difference between bluster and true self-love.
Because when you truly deeply love yourself, you’re not spending a lot of time thinking about yourself because you’re no longer a project. You’re no longer something that needs fixing. You’re no longer something that’s broken, so your brain gets to spend time thinking about other things. It’s not so focused on you. You don’t need to search for attention or approval or gold stars because there’s nothing to prove. You can focus your mental energy elsewhere.
But when you drag yourself down and you diminish yourself, guess where your focus ends up? On you. We have it so backwards. We think, oh, if I think all these amazing thoughts about myself, if I really celebrate myself, I’m going to become self-absorbed. When actually, the opposite is true. You’re self-absorbed when your brain is telling you that you’re a problem that needs fixing.
So what if your brain is wrong? This is what you have to consider. My brain was wrong that I would never be able to change my desire to drink. I believed that for so many years. And once I started to see, huh, that wasn’t right, I was able to change it. Because alcohol wasn’t creating my desire. What was creating my desire was what was happening in my head, what was happening in my mind about the drink and what it meant not to.
So if my brain could be wrong about that, what if it’s wrong about this too? What if it’s wrong about the idea? I don’t know, shouldn’t really say good things about yourself, I don’t want to brag, you should just be humble. And what about this? What if all the positive things that I just said about myself, what if they’re true for you too?
You are amazing. You are smart. You are hilarious. You are fun to be around. You are a great parent, or partner, or friend, or family member, or all of the above. And you’re talented and you’re beautiful and you’re successful, and quite frankly, you’re a badass. You have accomplished so much in your life. What if all this is true for you too? What then?
Can you just start to crack the door open to maybe this could be your reality? Because what if that’s the secret? The secret to what we truly want, which guess what, is just to feel good, it’s not about fixing your flaws or your bad habits. The secret is teaching your brain and training your brain to look for evidence that you’re doing it right and that you’re amazing no matter what.
Because you know this from listening to the podcast. Your thoughts matter a lot. They create how you feel. How you feel then shows up in what you do or don’t do. So if you’re spending a lot of time thinking about everything you need to fix, everything that’s wrong with you, you’re going to create a lot of negative emotion. And that’s going to show up in what you do in life.
But on the other hand, if you spend time finding evidence for everything that is right about you, all that is amazing about you, guess what? You’re probably going to feel a little bit better. And if you feel better, you might not need so much relief at the end of the day.
I really want you to think about this. What kind of PR do you do for yourself? I used to work in PR. I used to work in communications. And part of my job was pitching people to reporters and producers. And I was never like, well you know, I think they’ll be kind of okay on your show, or they might be an adequate source for your story.
No. I was like, you have got to talk to this person, they are amazing, they have insight that no one else has. They can explain the issue in a way that will make so much sense to your viewers or your readers. And consider why is it so easy for us to do this for other people?
It’s very easy for us to kind of sing the praises of other people in our life, but we are terrible at doing PR for ourselves. We’re just focusing on, I don’t know, I did an okay job, I mean, I’m fine. I’m not the worst but I’m not the best. For most people, I think we just hover at lukewarm at best, and that’s at best.
And guess what? When we’re hovering at lukewarm, no wonder we want relief. No wonder we want to drink and have fun and relax and feel good and quiet our brain. Because we aren’t creating that internal environment for ourselves because no one ever taught us to. And in fact, people teach us to do the opposite. They teach us that you don’t want to toot your own horn, you don’t want to focus too much on what’s great about you.
But the opportunity to delight in yourself is always there. Always. I don’t care how much you drank last night; I don’t care how much you ate last night. I don’t care about the fact that you were lazy today and you didn’t get as much done as you think you should have. You didn’t cross as many things off your to-do list. I don’t care if you yelled at your kid or your partner for no reason. The opportunity to delight in yourself is always available to you if you are willing to look for it.
And I will tell you this; I was not willing to look for a long time, and I still sometimes find myself resisting. But guess what I was willing to do for a very long time? I was willing to drink. I was willing to eat. I was willing to zone out in front of the TV. I was willing to work around the clock for scraps of approval.
But all of that just created more consequences in my life that guess what I did, I then felt about. I honestly believe that learning how to celebrate you is the key to habit change. It is not a nice add-on if you have some extra time. It’s necessary. It’s everything.
I’ll tell you this. I remember in college when I was in my first year of college, I joined a literary society, which sounds very academic, but it was not really academic. It was a lot of socializing and partying and drinking.
And we had to go through an initiation process, and there were all these kinds of ridiculous antics, many of which were drunken. And there was one girl who joined in my initiation group and she didn’t drink. And she was getting some questions about this and there was some pressure, and I remember her saying I just don’t need it, I don’t need a drink, I’m super fun without it.
And I remember thinking when I heard her say that, wait, what, is this possible? Can that really be true? I was talking about this in last week’s podcast, this idea that if you just feel fine when you say no, that’s not going to cut it. It’s not going to be enough to actually change your relationship with alcohol or change the habit of drinking.
If you say no to a drink and feel fine, it’s just not going to keep you going because guess what, we don’t want to just feel fine. You have to learn how to say no to a drink and feel amazing. Not the next day, not in the morning when you wake up and you’re happy that you’re not hungover or you’re happy that you got a good night’s sleep or you’re happy that you didn’t do anything last night that you regret.
I’m talking about feeling amazing in the moment, which guess what, it means that in the moment, you have to think amazing things about yourself, even when you feel deprived or bored or annoyed or anxious or left out, or you have all of the excuses and all of the reasons to drink. You still have to be able to tap into thinking positive, good thoughts about yourself. That’s what matters.
I really believe that this is the work of our lives. This is what our life is about. It’s about learning how to change our own self-perception. And that is why learning how to use the think-feel-act cycle to change the habit of drinking is so powerful. Because you learn this tool and you start to see, oh, I can apply it everywhere.
And it doesn’t just matter when it comes to the thoughts that I have about alcohol, the thoughts that I have about the wine glass and what’s in it, doesn’t just matter in this one realm of my life. It matters in my entire life.
You can use this tool and use learning how to manage your mind to change how you relate to yourself. And there is no more important relationship in your life than the relationship that you have with yourself. You have to learn how to celebrate you regardless.
Regardless of anything you’re doing, regardless of anything that you’ve done, regardless of all the programming that your brain wants to spit out at you about how you’re doing it wrong and you need to fix yourself. I will tell you, this is the present that I have decided to give myself for my 40th birthday.
To focus on celebrating myself. And to make this be the most important relationship in my life. That’s what I want for you too. That’s what I think is available for you doing this work, and that’s why this work is so transformative. Because who cares whether or not you say yes or no to a drink if you don’t learn how to talk to yourself differently? That’s what matters.
And you’re never actually going to learn how to say yes or no to a drink in a sustainable way if you don’t learn to talk to yourself differently. They go hand in hand. Celebrate yourself. It matters how you talk to yourself. It really truly does. Alright, that’s it for today.
Hey, if you’re a woman who enjoys this podcast and wants to have me as your coach, you have to join the Take A Break program. It’s a 30-day break from drinking that will teach you how to say no to your urges without deprivation, the secret to not needing a drink in any situation, including not needing a drink to take the edge off, and never again feeling like you can’t trust yourself around alcohol. Join me over at RachelHart.com/join. Together, we’re going to blow your mind.