I was talking with someone the other day about my chart and the bling stickers and how they're helping me, when I suddenly realized why I don't respond well to rewards and I am so inspired by glitter bits. Now let's see if I can translate that AhHa sensation into language other people can understand.
LEFT BRAIN: You'll need my help.
RIGHT BRAIN: But I'm the one who recognized it first.
True. You are both right. Well, LB - see if you can explain. RB - listen and tell us if she's got it right.
LEFT BRAIN:It's like this. When you put some big reward out there - something you really want - then obviously you really want it. And we're not dysfunctional enough to think that we don't deserve the things we want. We're wise enough to think we don't deserve the things we can't afford but that's just going to stimulate us to either save for them or earn more for them. But have them? Of course we can have the things we want. We don't want heroin or tickets to a dog fight. We want things that are either neutral or good for us. Things that might even define us. Pretty clothes, vacation trips, a decent car, a new bathroom.
RIGHT BRAIN: (Ha! Won't get that in our lifetime, I betcha)
LEFT BRAIN: Funny. So tying the act of getting things we really want - that we can afford and that at least do no harm - to our weight, our behavior or anything else, is playing a sick game of manipulation and punishment with ourselves. We would never do that with friends or children or loved ones. Why in the world would we do that to ourselves?
RIGHT BRAIN: Yeah. That's just sick. If I want Pretty Christmas Clothes I can have them.
LEFT BRAIN:But a bling chart - well - that's so tiny - so insignificant it's like a sip of water - or a coloring book. It's just fun. A bling chart is like a board game. You have to follow the rules when you play a board game - or you aren't playing it - you're just playing with the pieces. But it doesn't matter if you actually win the board game. It's a game. So getting to put bling on a chart is something to do that's fun. If it also nudges you in the direction of healthy eating or more exercise or a calmer approach to meals - well, all the better. Getting to put bling on a chart doesn't really make clothes fit better. But knowing you get to put bling on the chart if you fulfill the small task of ... staying within your points/calories or setting the table and dining in a different way - well - that's just fine. That helps us remember before we pop that slice of cheese in our mouth or filch that cookie out of the lunch room at work. It's that pause that's important. Getting to play with chart bling is something that helps us be more mindful. You have to remember about the bling as one of the rules of the game. Then you choose - to bling or not to bling.
RIGHT BRAIN: LOL! So we don't have to do the Reward Thing anymore right?
LEFT BRAIN:I don't see why we should. Unless you think of chart bling as a reward.
RIGHT BRAIN: I don't think. I feel. What about saving money? I mean - isn't that a reward? And don't we already own that money and can't we do what we want with it? Within the limits of family debt, of course.
LEFT BRAIN:Well, yes we do. The only reason we'd save money would be for the fun of splurging on ourselves without having to adjust our spending elsewhere. We can splurge within the limits of family debt.
RIGHT BRAIN: Oh. Hmm. Yes. Well. Hmmm. So we get to save money. We don't have to. Well. I feel like I want to save money too.
LEFT BRAIN:Alright. I am good with that. How much?
RIGHT BRAIN: Uh. I don't know.
LEFT BRAIN:How about $25 for each week we fill up that chart?
RIGHT BRAIN: What about the weeks when we only half way fill it?
LEFT BRAIN:Okay - How about $15 for every week we fill up some of it.
RIGHT BRAIN: Yeah. I like that. I like that a lot. and then we get to go shopping for US in December.
LEFT BRAIN:Yep. Then we get to go shopping. And we won't feel either resentful or guilty about rewards ever again, right?
RIGHT BRAIN: RIGHT!
Well. it looks like TheBrains have it all figured out. For now. Till things change. Tomorrow. At Tara.
LEFT BRAIN: (psst - she's SUCH an ENFP. She can't even come to closure with something as simple as this. But we love her anyway)