Vegan or Paleo. Runner or CrossFit. Sugar or no sugar. Is it possible to be all of these things at once? It might benefit you more than you think to consider losing your grip on labels rather than holding on to them so tightly.
Living in the gray, or being a “sometimes” person, can help provide some flexibility to your life. I’m not suggesting you throw out your convictions or values. However, life changes constantly, and new opportunities present themselves to us all the time. If we are continually holding onto a way of doing things (i.e., what we eat or don’t eat, for example), we create unnecessary challenging situations for ourselves. In the same way, we can be prideful of a label – I’m a runner – it also puts the kibosh on trying something new – Can I also be a weightlifter? Here’s another example: I don’t eat meat. Is there a situation you might consider trying it? Maybe on vacation or a family recipe that’s made once a year for the holidays. Or maybe, just maybe, it sounds good every once in a while. Now, what do you do? You’ve said you don’t eat meat. Everyone around you knows that you don’t eat meat. How do you handle that situation? This is when sometimes, it can be incredibly powerful.
The power behind SOMETIMES is actually permission. Permission to change your mind. Permission to try something new. Permission to step out of your label or box. Permission to take control of your life and choices as they happen.
This can be a scary thing for people who haven’t learned to trust themselves. Rules can stop us from “messing up.” They create a space where we don’t have to think and instead just follow. They create a black and white world that, at first glance, seems comfortable and easy. However, we all know by now that the world is anything but black and white. It’s all the colors in between, and these need to be noticed, celebrated and honored. There is beauty in greeting decisions as they come instead of relying on a rule to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do. We miss out on a lot of life when we live by unchallenged rules around food, exercise, and other ways of living.
It might seem like a tiny tweak to your vocabulary, but I encourage you to try our sometimes the next time someone puts you in a box (I didn’t think you ate that food?) or you find yourself faced with an opportunity to step out of yours (Well, sometimes I do!). Keep in mind that permission doesn’t necessarily mean doing something. It can also mean choosing not to do something. This can be an even more powerful way to honor your needs. This might look like changing up your breakfast routine, not exercising on a day that you usually do, saying no to dessert because you don’t want it (and knowing that you could have it tomorrow or any other day).
When we live by the power of sometimes, we get to let go. You might have a cookie today, or you might not – sometimes you eat cookies! You might exercise today, or you might not – sometimes, you exercise! You might write in your journal tonight, or you might not – sometimes, you write in your journal! See how much more relaxed that is? You don’t have to be an all or nothing person. Here’s your permission to be a sometimes person.
Emily Betros is a licensed clinical social worker, certified health coach, and owner of Reclaiming Health, LLC. She specializes in body image support, eating disorders, anxiety, life transitions, mindfulness, and women’s issues. More info: www.reclaiminghealth.net.