21 Sep Cookies, Costco and the Cost of Satisfaction
The other day I went to Costco and found a bag of my favorite kind of cookies.
I discovered them a couple years ago and, honestly, I loved them so much I could not stop eating them.
Ever since then, I’ve thought: “I can’t let myself buy these any more because I’ll just binge them.” So, I walk on by.
Every time I see them, I’ve avoided them. Obviously I’m doing myself a favor by not having them around.
Right? Actually . . . no. I haven’t done myself any favors.
I realized it when I saw them the other day. I stopped, picked them up, and stared at the “ridiculously amazing” phrase on the front. Yeah, right. Ridiculously something.
I thought to myself, “Oh no. I absolutely cannot buy those. I’ll just binge them. I can’t control myself when I see those cookies.”
Well, when I went to set them back down, to leave them to tempt the next sweet-toothed shopper, I played back what I’d just said to myself in my head. “I can’t control myself when I see these cookies.”
I don’t know that I’ve ever actually, consciously listened to myself say that. It’s surprising what we tell ourselves, but we don’t hear. In that moment, I realized I was creating my own problem. I was telling myself that I was out of control, so of course I was. I believed it.
“No,” I thought. “I get to choose what I believe.”
That’s one of the most powerful things I’ve ever been taught by my therapist.
I get to choose what I believe.
And I choose not to believe that a cookie takes away my control. Why give away my power like that?
So I said to myself: “Well, if I’ve been telling myself that I will binge these if I buy them, then of course I binge them when I buy them! What can I tell myself instead?”
I decided that I am going to start saying: “I am satisfied.”
Instead of bingeing these cookies, hating myself afterward, and resolving to never buy them again, I decided I was just going to enjoy some and then tell myself I am satisfied.
Spoiler alert: I bought the cookies.
And, before I knew it, we’d eaten dinner and it was time. I opened the bag. The sweet, just-opened, chocolatey smell wafted into the air (you know exactly what smell I’m talking about). I took one, and put the bag back.
Of course, the cookie was delectable.
My brain started to hum. Another cookie. Another cookie. Another cookie. I followed the sirens song and walked to get another one.
A deep breath in, out. I said to myself, “No, actually, I’m satisfied.”
Maybe that wasn’t entirely true. Yes, my body was satisfied. But my brain buzzed loudly, wanting more.
So, again, I paused and stared at the bag just like I had done in Cosco. I felt a little ridiculous.
Why did I want more than one? Why am I not satisfied?
Turns out, my brain wasn’t really interested in a cookie. It was interested in the relief that cookie offered to me. Maybe I was stressed out. Or frustrated. Or my head wasn’t in the present moment.
I was making it about the cookie instead of the true reason I wasn’t satisfied with just one.
Wait for it… this applies to every single part of life. That one was harder to swallow than the last bite of oatmeal-chocolatey goodness.
It applies when I should be satisfied with how many wonderful reviews after the last book launch instead of wanting more.
When my house is a mess at the end of the day and there is an endless list of things I haven’t gotten done, but instead I spent time with my kids and my husband and I took care of myself. So, I am satisfied.
I realized that we create the satisfaction that we feel. We can create the satisfaction with anything or nothing. It’s in our power. I feel like we give away our control so quickly when we say things like “I can’t have that,” “I can’t do this,” or “I’ll do that if this happens.”
When, really, it is up to us in how we speak to ourselves.
So, I have that bag of cookies. The first night I had just one. Another time I had two, because it felt good and okay.
Afterward, I closed the bag and was satisfied.