Is your enabler to blame for unhealthy habits?
Do you have a friend who is totally awesome except for the way you seem to get drunk together a lot more than you ever would with any of your other friends?
That friend is what’s known as an enabler. Enablers create environments where it’s easier and more acceptable to do that self-destructive thing, in this case, drinking.
You might ask her, “Was I terrible last night?” And she’ll say, “Terrible? You were MAGNIFICENT! No one had ever seen table-top hula-hoop dancing like that before! Don’t you doubt yourself, babe, there needs to be more of that stuff at work functions!”
Enablers aren’t always bad. My fella was massively enabling when I was pregnant. His go-to line was, “Do you want me to go get you some ice-cream?” And my go-to response was, “YES, YES I DO.”
He was the guy with a memory-map of the best places to get Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream within a five km radius of our house and who knew how to drop everything to get to the shops minutes before closing time.
It’s the loveliest kind of enabling because he was trying to help me find my happy place in times of adversity and at the same time giving himself permission to eat ice-cream.
In another lifetime, my fella might’ve been the guy who, seeing me tense or in a mood, would say, “Can I get you a beer, sweetie?” And in that lifetime I would’ve been the one who answered, “Yes, get me two.”
So how can you convert that kind of enabling to an even better kind? I want him to be enabled to say, “There’s a spare half hour. Do you want to go for a run?” Or, “I can watch the kids if you need to go to the gym today?”
At the moment he’s better trained to say, “Hey, we’re passing a KFC! Should I run in and get you some hot chips?” It’s not great. I mean, the chips are great, but I’m curious why it’s so much easier for our enablers to steer us towards ice-cream and beer and fast food than it is to shoo us toward fitness and spinach salads. Are they afraid of sounding nerdy? Are we socially conditioned to see pleasure only in what is bad for us?
Top 5 Low-Fat, Healthy Pleasures
1. The smell of forests
2. A really good deep tissue massage
3. Fresh seafood platters served by linen-clad waiters with twinkling eyes and exotic accents
4. Cuddles, especially when no one involved smells like poo, spew or B.O.
This year I would like to enable my enabler. Instead of making him guess, I’ll tell him what I want: Encourage the good, the healthy, the strengthening and the positive. And let’s leave the naughty enabling to the naughty friends we see once a year.
Liked this? Read these!
Got something to say? Get it off your chest here
The Juice Daily is a Fairfax Media owned website