Approval, Addiction and Approval Addiction

“If you are an approval addict, your behaviour is as easy to control as that of any other junkie. All a manipulator need do is a simple two-step process: Give you what you crave, and then threaten to take it away. Every drug dealer in the world plays this game.”

-Harriet B. Braiker

I don’t know if that quote resonates with you, but it sure makes a whole lot of sense to me.

Deeply ingrained within all approval addicts — or addicts in general — is the lack of a sense of self.  A lack of understanding of the self always leads us to believe that external approval and validation are the essential parts of holding together our identity.

Have you ever wondered why someone as sweet and giving as you always end up in relationships (romantic, friendship, business.) with people who don’t understand or appreciate all that you do for them?

And when things don’t go the way we want them to and that relationship fails to provide us with the feedback that we are “doing enough” or “accomplished enough” or “good enough” why we turn to external methods to preoccupy that discomfort?

Approval addiction is a layered disease and we struggle with it knowing full well that we should stop focusing on the compulsion to please others. It makes us feel as though we need to be doing something (regardless of the negative consequences that may occur), doing this something again despite knowing full well that we should stop and seeking that something whenever we are not getting what we ‘really’ need (even when that need has nothing to do with this something). Wow, that’s a lot of word vomit.

What I mean is, we crave the addictive behaviour because it relieves the emptiness within us.

The “disease to please” or approval addiction is at the heart of and is a connection to all other addictive behaviours.

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My addiction to disordered eating and drinking was always my attempt to fill the void where my self-awareness should have been.   If I could look, act and “be” someone who people liked and approved of, I was on the right track, and all was right and good in my world.

But as the saying goes, “you can please some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

And you also can’t rely on others to validate you or make you feel like you are “enough”.  They will never be able to do it full-time, and at some point, you will realise that you need to find this from within

When the time comes, if you are not equipped to pick yourself up and be your own best friend, you are going to go back to that “something” you’ve always done and in return get that nothing that you always get.

Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Only an inner experience of self-esteem and self-awareness can provide support for any external validation to be received from a healthy and balanced relationship.   You don’t owe anyone anything more than you will ever owe yourself.  And in this day and age of everyone communicating that they want to be more authentic and expect total authenticity from others, it is hard to tell if people are their ‘true’ selves or if their actions about just another attempt at pleasing others.

On any given day and with any given action we take, at best we can hope to please one out of three people — possibly less.  Given that statistic, it is safe to say that placing our happiness and self of worth in the hands of others gives us worse odds than winning the lottery.  Okay, maybe better odds, but it’s a gamble nontheless.

If you want any chance at inner peace in this life you must get to work learning what makes you honestly and sincerely happy.

Approval addiction is a layered disease and we struggle with it knowing full well that we know we should stop focusing on the compulsion to please others. Click To Tweet

I can say this with complete confidence because for the majority of my life I placed that burden on others and the consequences of that lead me to battle multiple eating disorders and the belief that I needed to control myself and my life with counterintuitive habits such as binge eating and drinking.

I’m not suggesting that everything was my fault.  Things happened, and the experiences I had throughout my life were real, and they made me believe and feel the way I did.  None of us can go backwards, and that includes continuing to live in the past. What’s done is done. Make today good, and the past will heal itself.

The one truth I know is this:  You cannot rely on anybody else to fix you or to make your life happy and complete because when you live this way you give yourself away. And as a result, you will always be searching for the next “something” to validate your life.

If you are interested in coaching, please contact me at erin@erinslifebites.com and be sure to subscribe for new posts and emails from me!

Calling All Inbetweeners

Hi.  I’m Erin, and I’m an Inbetweener.

I’m going to be a little bit controversial by publishing this post, but it’s something that I’ve thought about many, many, many, ma… a f-ton of times. 

I am not going to be shy about communicating on this blog that I find myself very lost these days when it comes to where I fall into society as I am a ‘master of none’ when it comes to fitting neatly into any particular social group.

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I see so many posts on social media (to which, I am a minimalist ‘user’ of these apps) of women coming at each other for who online should be seen and heard and which opinions should matter and it is easy to walk away from these conversations thinking, “Where the hell do I fit in here?” 

Maybe fitting into the conversation isn’t necessary to you, but it should be to some extent. 

Over the years – from previous blogs I created (RIP, BeetsPerMinute.com) – I have been told I’m a fatphobic personal trainer, sizeist, too fat to be a personal trainer, and that my opinion doesn’t matter because of the package, I come in.  I obviously can’t relate because I am too thin, too fat, or too up my own ass.

Oh, and I live in a foreign country.

It’s exhausting, and I’m not kidding.

And if you’re reading this post, you have probably experienced this too. 

Firstly, I am not a fatphobic person.  I have struggled with my weight and was diagnosed and treated for multiple eating disorders.  I prefer to take care of myself, eat well (but let’s be real, I eat chips, chocolate and diet soda most days of the week) and care for my mental health and how I care for myself creates the package I come in.  I don’t think I’m better than anybody else or that by being who I am; I am saying the package other people come in is any worse.

I work to HELP people repair their relationship with food, and their bodies and part of that is that I talk about exercise and making healthy choices whenever possible. 

On the other hand, I’ve heard comments about how I don’t “look like a trainer” or perplexed looks when I drink a Coke Zero or eat a cheeseburger because people who ‘preach’ – (okay, then) health and fitness shouldn’t be broadcasting such devious behaviour. 

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Sometimes, it simply feels like I can’t win.  I am sure most people feel this way – especially other women. 

These days it feels like no matter what you think or says you are offending somebody.  And sure, people have always been offensive, and I am in no way saying disrespect and degradation should be allowed or excusable, but it would be nice to feel like it’s okay to be still acknowledged as a struggling and evolving human even if somebody else thinks your life is more comfortable than theirs. 

So, what is an Inbetweener – I mean, besides a HILARIOUS British tv show?

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An Inbetweener is a person who is between two extremes, two contrasting conditions.

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I think there are a lot of us Inbetweeners.  Hell, even my age makes me feel like I’m smack dab in a grey area of existence.  I’m too young to be middle-aged and too old to be ‘finding myself’ (as if…).

And too thin to be fat, but too big to be considered skinny and too old to have children but too young to say ‘I’m too old to have children.’

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That’s a very brief overview of the ways that a person can feel like an Inbetweener, but those are just a few that I struggle with. 

And it all comes down to egos (mine included) negatively controlling our identities.  I won’t wax philosophical too deeply here.

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I recently read Ryan Holiday’s book; Ego is the EnemyIn his book, Holiday touches on how social media gives instant fame and recognition thus fuelling ‘ego’ — a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance — in today’s modern society. 

He discusses how people trap themselves with ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ and develop an obsession with themselves. And that Twitter is the worst showcase of the ego at work by placing the focus on an extreme notion of one’s thoughts and opinions being important.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some great stuff on Twitter and obviously I encourage the sharing of tweets, but Holiday’s take on the ego’s role in social media usage made me think about that saying, “If everyone is special no one is”.

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I mean I have this blog, and it’s nothing special, but I enjoy writing about the things I think about and if you want to read it, awesome.  But like also, why do I think anybody would like it?  Would I hope people do? Of course.

The ego's role in social media usage made me think about that saying, “If everyone is special no one is”. #ego #selfawareness Click To Tweet

But see, the key to taming the ego is sharing your gifts with others while remaining humble about it – and this is something many people fail to do these days.

People will protect themselves and their opinions (egos) no matter the result. 

Even if the result of such protection forces many people to feel as though they don’t belong in any particular group. 

Or maybe we don’t need to belong, after all.

What do you think?

5 of My Favourite Mocktail Recipes

It might seem that alcohol is everywhere and tough to avoid, but according to statistics, young people (and I don’t necessarily count myself as one of them!) are drinking less than people in the same age group did 10-15 years ago.  Remember when everybody used to smoke and now when a person lights up we are like:

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Is it possible that drinking is on the same trajectory?  I live in Glasgow, and the drinking culture seems alive and well and thriving; this is especially evident when I go out for my early Saturday morning run and have to dodge piles of uneaten chips and other unpleasantries of the night before.

All of this information is more confirmation that I have made the right choice to embrace sober living and steer clear of alcohol and its short-lived-fun shelf life.

Just because I have given up drinking alcohol doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy a delicious and pretty beverage.  Mocktails are on the rise; I even attended Club Soda’s mindful drinking festival in Glasgow back in October.

I never thought I would be typing enthusiastically about a festival without alcohol.

I also never thought I would be typing enthusiastically about my passion for making mixed drinks without alcohol in them, but here I am.

5 Mocktail Recipes That Won't Make You Miss the Booze #mindfuldrinking #alcoholfree Click To Tweet

Here are five of my favourite mocktail recipes

Raw Raspberry Shrub (via BBC Good Food)

5 of My Favourite Mocktail Recipes

Cucumber, lime and elderflower cooler (via Tesco Real Food)

Mountain Mojito Mocktail (via Town and Country)

Rose Lemon Spritzer Mocktail (via Elle Decor)

Non-Alcoholic Pimms (via Club Soda)

CHEERS!

Do you have a favourite non-alcoholic drink?  Do you think that it is becoming less of a stigma not to order non-alcoholic drinks on a night out?  Would you attend a mindful drinking festival?

Super Quick Mock Sangria Recipe

Ole! I remember the first time I had a glass of Sangria. It was fruity and bitter and sweet and kinda perfect.

As I got older (and more into what kind of alcohol I liked), I absolutely loved to purchase the sangria you could buy in a carton (shout out to adult premium beverages in tetrapacks — because if you’re gonna drink, you might as well be environmentally friendly about it!) and just stick a straw in it.

Easy, breezy, beautifully buzzed.

My go-to for ready-made sangria was always Don Simon — which is basically red wine and fizzy citrus soda.

So, now that I no longer drink alcohol, I have to get creative in the ‘mocktail’ category.

So, one day I started thinking about the ready-made Sangria and what it actually tasted like — despite the alcohol and a lightbulb went off in my head.

I always have ideas but, like 25% or less of them ever work out in my favour — let’s be real.

Here is my go-to, quick mock sangria (done two ways)

If you're looking for a yummy alcohol-free option try my quick go-to mock sangria (done two ways)! Click To Tweet

If you’re making this for a party — or you really wanna go crazy with things:

If you’re just making one glass for yourself (you’ll probably make at least two, though):

Do you have a favourite mocktail recipe? Please share!

25-Minute HIIT Cycling Workout + Playlist

If you used to follow my old blog, BeetsPerMinute, you know that back home in the States I used to be a Spinning instructor.

I need to be one again – I do miss it so.

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I often receive requests for fun workouts and playlists and recently I’ve had several requests for HIIT cycle routines, which happen to be some of my favourite workouts to create and do, so I’m always happy to share them.

Life is crazy, and not everybody has 60-90 minutes to put into their workouts.  It doesn’t make you a failure or unmotivated either – and if anybody tells you that, they are dead wrong. If you see a theme with (most) of my workouts it’s that they are quick, fun and effective.

If you’re like me, you have days (maybe multiple) when you just don’t feel like doing exercise – especially in the winter.  And this is entirely okay.  Do not beat yourself up for not feeling it some days and sitting out your workout.  It’s not a morality thing, it’s self-care, and it’s 100% up to you how and when you move your body.

You don’t need to spend your entire day to get a fun, sweaty, and effective workout that you can be proud of.  Believe me; every little bit helps and if you’re not doing your workouts for you, then who?

I still remember the first Spinning class I ever attended; one of my best friends was the instructor, and after literal months of twisting my arm, I finally agreed to participate.

I didn’t have the shoes, so my foot came loose.  Repeatedly.  My ass was killing me from the seat.  I couldn’t walk.  I wasn’t smitten with the idea of going back, but my friend assured me that you have to give it a few classes before you make your final judgment.

Try this 25-Minute HIIT Cycling Workout + Playlist #fitness #HIIT #Cardio Click To Tweet

As a fitness professional, who also went on to become a Spinning instructor, I would always tell newbies that they need to give it the three class try.  Most of them would and fell in love with indoor cycling too.

One of the things that make indoor cycling workouts so much fun is the music.  Nothing will make you more motivated and pumped to push yourself than hearing a high energy song.

25-Minute HIIT Cycling Workout + Playlist

So, if you’re looking for a fun and quick HIIT cycling workout and playlist, pin this one and save it for your next workout.

Do you love Spinning or indoor cycling workouts? What’s your favourite workout song?

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