Somebody please help me, I’m talking too much. The people in my meeting love everything we do: cooking, talking, learning, talking, eating, talking, walking, talking. Actually, listening is something we could all do more of, but meetings are so exciting and we all have so much to say.
One day my internal observer was at work. I was excited telling a newcomer some vital information that was going to make him feel a whole lot better. I stopped mid-sentence and said “Somebody help me, I’m talking too much.” Everybody had so much to say to this man who was newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, tips for dealing with cravings, recipes, how to interact more effectively with his doctor.
I had to do something to put our runaway meeting back on track. So after I apologized for talking so much, I asked everyone to take one deep breath. Then I asked the group to go once around the table and each briefly share how they had used Suppers to support their change process. With no cross talk or discussion of any kind until we got around the table, we all got a chance to speak (even the quiet ones who don’t usually get a word in edgewise). We also got the opportunity to focus on our selves instead of on the newcomer. One of us shared that she used the group to feel accountable to get to the gym twice a week. She knew she’d be “reporting” at next week’s meeting. Another said whatever we make at the meeting she goes back and makes for her family each week. Another man with type 2 diabetes said he hadn’t started “knowing his numbers” yet, but that group experience was bringing him closer to checking, at least sometimes.
As a Suppers facilitator, it’s my job to protect the emotional safety of our settings and actively model the practice of nonjudgment. It’s one of the most important features of the program because we have a roomful of people who have issues with food, many with painful memories of feeling judged.
When we keep the focus on our own pathways, we are not at much risk of judging another’s journey to better health. Although, if we forget ourselves and tell somebody else what to do, we’ll probably be forgiven when we ask. Just about all of us have done it at one time or another.