As a tenet of the Jewish faith, all Jews are restricted from doing work during the Sabbath. They are called by their faith to keep holy the Sabbath by abstaining from performing unnecessary tasks and using any of the modern conveniences. This is meant to be a solemn time of prayer, family, reflection and rest. It is an example of one of the many wellness promoting practices embedded in the world religions.
But what is a good Jew to do if the laundry is piled up or they forgot to set their DVR for to record their this week’s episode of Dancing with the Stars?
Enter the “Shabbos Goy”. The term is derived from the Yiddish term for Sabbath and Goyam; a non-Jew. The Shabbos Goy are “hired” by Jews to do the mundane tasks for them during the Sabbath. Since an adherent Jew must not benefit from any work done for them during the Sabbath, they must indirectly incentivize their non-Jew assistant so that the tasks are primarily performed to benefit the “Goy”. Since technically, the Jew must not explicitly pay for any service performed during the Sabbath, all payment must be given before dusk on Friday with the understanding that it is merely a gift with no obligation to reciprocate.
As absurd as all this sounds, it is healthy to realize that we all engage in such rationalization of our actions quite frequently.
“Just one more bite won’t kill me.”
“Everything in moderation”
“I walked during my lunch break so I earned this cupcake.”
“I don’t have the time to exercise.”
“I’m not unhealthy, it’s all part of getting old.”
“I’ll start my diet on Monday.”
“This cereal has 9 grams of protein…it must be good for me.”
The little lies we tell ourselves expand far beyond our religious life and fitness but for the sake of time, I’ll focus on how this self-bargaining we do keeps us from reaching our health goals and true potential as robust human beings.
Aside from the obvious extra calories, lack of physical activity, etc. that such rationalizing allows, there is a much deeper damage at work when we live contrary to our values. We may be able to appease our rational mind by fooling ourselves in the moment but we can not protect ourselves from the emotional damage this behavior inflicts on us.
By over-thinking each situation and engaging in logical gymnastics (no you can’t put that on your weekly exercise log) we send the message to ourselves that we are “sinning” and we need pardon. Though we are able to trick our bodies in to physically moving that forbidden treat in to our mouths, the fact remains that, we still know it is forbidden. If it becomes common practice, this disagreement between our brain and our mind contributes to any number of diseases physically and spiritually.
We begin to generate a self-image of impotence over our environment. We continually have to make excuses for our behavior and our willpower eventually lowers to match our self-image. This in turn will leave us psychologically ill-equipped to resist future temptation. The prophecy becomes reality.
Here are a few ways we can avoid this cycle of self-doubt and reclaim dominance over our temptations:
- Don’t stigmatize food. There is no such thing as good and bad food. Simply be aware of how you feel when you indulge and make your future decisions accordingly.
- Be honest with yourself. If you give in to temptation, accept it and move on.
- Know that willpower is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it will get in the long run however, it will become fatigued temporarily if you constantly put yourself in situations where you must always “flex” it.
- Make it easy for yourself to live according to your values. If you value good decision-making, surround yourself with others who you think make good decisions for themselves.
- Read and learn all you can about health and wellness. Constantly receiving messaging consistent with how you want to live will empower you and make it seem all the more possible to reach your goals.
TELL ME HOW YOU TRICK YOURSELF AND KEEP FROM ACHIEVING YOUR DREAMS. LEAVE YOUR RESPONSE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.
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