What is a meta-skill? There were numerous definitions when I Googled this. After reading bunches of views and interpretations, here is how I see it. A meta-skill is like a master skill that you apply to other skills you have. Say you are skilled at creating graphics for ads. But you also have a very high level of empathy that allows you to instinctively know what is going to appeal to your targeted audience for that ad. Empathy is the meta-skill that you possess that makes you a far superior graphic designer.
This word was introduced to me by Brooke Castillo. I had listened to her talk about how to stop overdrinking – a fantastic program she has put together for those want to cut back on their drinking or stop drinking entirely. But if you’ve followed my blogs here and listened to my podcast, Weight Coach, you know how my mind absorbs this kind of information and finds what might apply to weight loss. I messaged Brooke, telling her I was re-listening but focusing on eating instead of drinking. She said, “And one of the things you can do Joann, is think and learn from the way you deal with alcohol. That is actually a meta-skill that you can apply to your eating.”
Whoa – hold those horses! I have a meta-skill?
How do I feel about drinking? I like to have a glass of wine or a beer on rare occasion. If I’m out with my girlfriends, sure I’ll probably have a Cosmo or a Margarita; unless I know I have an early call the next day and don’t want to feel any grogginess of the alcohol. You see, I don’t drink very often. So when I do, more than one cocktail will certainly have an effect on how I feel the next day. So for me, it is just a basic decision. There is not the pull of desire all wrapped up in it. But even more important, there is no self-judgment involved. NONE.
Around food, I might think I’m “weak” or “bad” for wanting to cave into the piece of chocolate cake or indulging in chips and dip. When it comes to drinking, I don’t have those thoughts, but I also don’t have the opposite thoughts! I never think, “Oooo, I’m so strong around alcohol,” or “I’m good about not overdrinking.” You see – I’m completely NEUTRAL about drinking. Neutral is linked to my meta-skill. The meta-skill I bring to alcohol is that I completely lack making any self-judgment about having a cocktail or not. Oh, wait – there is one self-judgment I have made over drinking – CALORIES. But that is right back to eating and food and dieting. I used to obsess about if I could fit a glass of wine with a special dinner into my Weight Watcher Points. But that had nothing to do with the actual alcohol.
So can I bring this meta-skill to the table (literally) with food? How would that happen? I’d need to be able to drop all self-judgment about eating. It’s not just about stopping the thoughts that “I’m so bad for having that” or “I’m so weak around potato chips – I can never resist them.” It’s about stopping the thoughts like, “I was really a good girl at that event and didn’t overeat,” or “I feel so accomplished that I had the willpower to walk away from the desert table.” Why should how accomplished I am have anything to do with desert? Neutral. I want neutral. It is just food and the food has nothing to do with who I am.
So where is your neutral? Do you have a meta-skill to apply to eating? Maybe for you, it would be a carton of cigarettes in your pantry – zero temptation at all. Maybe it is making a choice at the nursery between the pink climbing roses or the yellow rose bush. There is no good girl or bad girl involved. No struggling with temptation over which color flower. It is just a decision – yellow, pink or none at all.
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Do you want to hear more about finding your meta-skill? Go listen to my podcast about this