One of the questions I often get asked in clinic is "How can I persuade my partner/family/kids/friends/co-workers to follow a healthier lifestyle?".
Sometimes the path to eating better and taking care of yourself can be very lonely, so it's a good question. Whether you have just discovered how much better you feel on a wholesome, nutritious diet; or if you have always taken care of yourself, it is natural to want others around you to enjoy the same benefits. And of course it is easier to keep on track yourself if those around you are not scoffing junk food or indulging in bad habits.
The first thing we often want to do to encourage someone to break a bad habit, or eat better, or remove negative thought patterns, is to TELL them what to do.
I don't know about you, but when someone tells me what to do, part of me (OK a big part) wants to rebel. Perhaps get passive aggressive, or stubbornly dig my heels in and refuse to take the advice, no matter how well-meaning it is. On top of that, someone pointing out your faults or telling you what to do makes you feel bad about yourself.
On some level, whether consciously or sub-consciously, we already know if we are doing something that does not serve us well, and having it pointed out to us makes us feel so much worse.
On top of that, continuing to nag will just dilute your message, until it is not heard at all.
So what do you do?
Well, to paraphrase Gandhi - "Be the change you want to see in others".
Be an inspiration to those around you by taking care of yourself. Be passionate about what you are doing, and let the enthusiasm spread to others. Lead by example and SHOW the benefits of being positive, embracing wellness and natural healing. Let them see how this leads to a happier state of mind and better health.
Be patient, be kind, be positive.
And be accepting if they won't change at all. It is a personal choice, and while you know that someone would feel so much better, more alive and happier if they took care of themselves, it is ultimately their journey.
"Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another." Napoleon Hill
Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist