The other day after completing my weekly grocery shopping I stopped at McDonalds within the same building, to grab a coffee for the ride home. I walked in, saw an upsetting scene and walked out angry and terribly sad.
A family of four was sitting at a table piled high with pop, french fries and burgers. The parents were extremely overweight and the two children were well on their way to obesity. I guessed both children to be under ten.
I looked at these children and felt an immediate surge of anger toward their parents. Yes, I was judging. In my past life, as a social worker, child protection revolved around more immediate concerns. However, while my background equips me to understand the dynamics these parents bring into the equation my immediate reaction was anger. I felt very sad for these children. They will surely face great challenges.
Leaving the scene allowed me to deliberately shift into a different perspective. Anytime I sit in judgement I know my next task is to get off my high horse and have a look at the meaning I have just assigned an event.
After some thought I realized that what really got my goat was another high horse I occasionally like to ride. Our need for convenience, instant gratification and quick fixes makes us sitting ducks. The stressed parent contending with fussy hungry children is a sitting duck to the multibillion dollar industry. It is much, much easier to walk ten feet into McDonalds then it is to listen to children whining all the way home.
That family is receiving hundreds of consumer messages daily. That family has bought in. That family is allowing external influences to dictate health. That family has been well programmed. They are good consumers. McDonalds can depend on them to be back.
So, why does instant gratification messaging/advertising roll off the back of some ducks and not others? Get curious about that. What does it take to move into a place of internal influence? To be able to move away from external messaging that does not serve us?
Personally, I believe it is a set of tools and strategies and yes, the ability to master our own minds. These are abilities we are not taught. We are socially programmed to fall in line, follow the crowd. sit up straight and pay attention. We are not taught how to think for ourselves and until we learn to have sovereignty over our minds we are sitting ducks to multibillion dollar industry whose bottom line is not your health or quality of life. When we have an interest in our own personal development and a curiosity about how we can influence our own minds, with healthy tools and strategies, we begin to self govern.