I’m grateful for Google. I really am. In addition to introducing me to resources upon resources to help me discover myself, fix my health, and build a network of amazing coaches and friends, it’s helped countless of you readers find this blog and start working on your own mental health as well.
At the same time, though, I think our need to “google” is becoming a problem—because it’s set up a paradigm in which we’ve bought into our own disempowerment and lost our intuition.
That’s a pretty big claim, I know. But it’s true. Not sure how to eat? Google a meal plan. Not sure what type of fitness is best? Google an exercise regimen. Not sure how to get rid of whatever symptoms have you down? Google to figure out what you have and then google again for a treatment.
We have become reliant on other peoples’ opinions to help answer questions that could be solved with intuition. So much so that we’re almost afraid of not having access to the answers. When I talk with potential clients about their goals, inevitably, they’re the same: I want to know how to eat again without fear. I want to be able to know how much is too much and which foods are the “right” ones. I want to know which exercises to do and when I should push and when to stop.
In other words: I need the answers before I can feel empowered to make decisions.
Don’t get me wrong—there’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking answers. There’s nothing wrong with curiosity, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make the best decisions possible—for you.
The problem is, when you exist in a perpetual state of waiting to be told the answers, it becomes very hard to trust yourself to make decisions. You begin to rely on your RSS feed to dictate how you will choose to live your life. You lose faith in your ability to make choices.
For example, if you were a follower of the Whole30 in the early days, you’d get the chance to read plenty of articles about how potatoes were bad and why you shouldn’t eat them. Choice = made. No potatoes. Other bloggers, whose first contact with Paleo was Whole30, took up the same call. Choice = made. The second that the Whole30 announced that potatoes were kosher (metaphorically), the internet immediately reversed its decision about the edibility of potatoes. No thinking. Just believing. Were potatoes bad before? Are they not bad now? Does it matter if you haven’t made the choice for yourself?
The world is full of answers for you. There will always be someone willing to sell you a diet plan or give you the gospel you ask for. If you want to learn how to “lose 30 pounds in 30 days,” someone on the internet will tell you how, for a small (or large) fee. If you want someone to write you a meal plan to teach you how to eat for yourself again, someone will. And they’ll keep writing you meal plans, because you have given them your power.
We, as human creatures, have an incredible amount of intuition available to us. One of the things I love about coaching is that I can use the time to help my clients realize that they have had the answers inside of them all along. They just need to know where to look and how to harness that intuition productively.
You probably already know how to eat. The basics anyway. You know which things at the grocery store are better for you than others. You may even already instinctively know how to do basic things like boil eggs and cook a steak. You can probably answer for yourself (if you dig down deep, past the internalized marketing messages) whether or not you really need another supplement.
Unless you are seriously ill and need to see a doctor, you don’t need Google to tell you which food is on the “good” list this week or how its minute effects on your body when eaten in a certain amount at exactly at a certain time will mean the difference between unending weight gain and a six pack.
To live a good life, you have to learn that the answers to your health questions are flexible. They come from within, and they’re based on your needs in this moment, in the body you’re currently wearing. They don’t follow a one-size-fits-all recommendation, and they can’t be manipulated by SEO.
Your health should empower you, not enfeeble you. Your quest for knowledge shouldn’t keep you stuck in the dark.
It’s scary to accept that you have this power, I know. Especially when you’ve relied for so long on the notion that the answers can only come from other people. But, as a wise man once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Are you ready to take responsibility?
And if you need some ideas, then you don’t want to miss today’s podcast with recovery advocate and mentor Laura Krassner. Seriously: