June 23, 2022
By: Ashley Logan, MBA, Duke Internal Medicine Certified Health and Well-Being Coach, IIN Certified Integrative Health Coach
A Different Type of Confession
Confessions are important for optimal health and well-being. I’m not talking about the public, attention-seeking ones we often see on social media. Nor am I talking about the religious variety that necessities a clergyman/woman. I’m talking about the quiet, private confessions that we only tell ourselves in the quiet moments of the morning or in the private blank pages of our journal.
Why Confessions are Good for Your Health and Well-Being
It’s important to confess. To get what’s gnawing at us out of our hearts and into the world even if to our reflection in the mirror. It’s important to confess. To declutter our minds of the boomerang thoughts that keep us in a stuck state of mind. It’s important to confess. To confront our perceived shortcomings and broken promises in a non-critical way. Personal confessions can be about blowing our pledge to only have one glass of wine a week. Or about our promise to set and uphold boundaries. Or even sticking to a diet plan to lose weight. Confessions do not have to involve anyone else and can be about personal matters of the heart, mind, and soul. It’s important to confess.
How to Make a Healthy Confession
- Be honest
- Approach a broken promise to yourself with honesty (not self-denial). If you blew your diet, ask about the surrounding circumstances. Did you have a particularly stressful day at work? Were you exhausted from a poor night’s sleep? Or was your diet goal too big of a stretch? Being honest with yourself without harsh self-judgment builds self-trust.
- Get curious
- Curiosity removes the blinders we unconsciously wear. Blinders keep us stuck in a narrow perspective. When we have an “I blew it” moment we tend to go straight to beating ourselves up instead of getting curious about the bigger picture. Curiosity leads to solutions.
- When we’re honest about breaking a promise to ourselves and name it, and we approach it with curiosity – identifying the why – we then have to communicate it – hence the confession. Say it out loud or write it in your journal. An example might be – “I blew my diet last night at dinner with my friends. I overate and don’t feel good in my body today as a result. I had a stressful day at work and wanted to distract myself with food.” Notice there is no judgment or harshness to this statement. It is a matter of fact. It states what happened and why.
- Create a plan
- When you acknowledge a broken promise and confess it with non-judgment you need a plan for how to move forward. A plan that incorporates the learnings from your experience. This is how we grow and evolve – by learning from the past. For example, if you have a stressful day at work have a couple of go-to stress management practices you can drop into when needed so food doesn’t’ become the default. Practices could include a gratitude practice, breathwork, meditation, exercise, or journaling among others.
- Find support
- Having individuals, such as a trusted friend or coach, who support you as you set and achieve your health and wellness goals is key to your success. Consider sharing your plan as a way to stay accountable.
Tips for Moving Forward
The key word is forward. The practice of confession isn’t intended to keep you in a state of rumination but to set you free to move on. Once you acknowledge and confess a broken promise to yourself, move on. Let it go. Confession is intended to be cathartic. Move forward with your revised plan and established support system with a renewed sense of self-trust, self-efficacy, and self-confidence. It’s important to confess so you experience optimal health and well-being because you deserve to feel your best.