29 Apr When Hillary Clinton Stopped Me from Murder
“Do you want some cake?”
My colleague was holding out a delicious-looking chocolate cake inches from my face, where I was sitting at my desk. “No, thank you” I politely declined.
“Come on, just a piece!” He moved the cake closer.
“No, thank you” I repeated. “But I baked it! You must try!” my colleague insisted.
A few years earlier, I would have gladly buried my entire face in that cake. Now, I was off sugar because I could not handle it. It was something that I had explained to my work team, but somehow, that information did not seem to stick.
The situation reminded me of my years at university, when I had given up drinking and was constantly being pressured by my peers to drink. I had higher expectations on the behaviour of adults in a corporate environment, though…
I wonder why quitting sugar is so provocative to some. I wonder if people who give up certain foods due to ethical or religious reasons receive the same pressure to conform. Does the reason why we choose to eat a certain way really matter?
Despite several declines, my colleague remained next to me, cake in hand. I was boiling up on the inside. For each second, I started to feel a little bit more murderous. Eventually, my colleague left. I spent the rest of the day fantasising about spiking his precious cake with laxatives.
I brought up the infuriating cake drama with my coach during our next session. He understood my feelings. He also reminded me that it’s important that I have tools to use to empower myself, since I have no control over other people. After all, only I get hurt when I feel like throwing grenades over a cake offer.
My coach asked me how I would have liked to handle the situation instead. I answered that I wanted to decline with a sense of peace. He then asked me if I knew someone who would have responded in that manner.
This was during the 2016 American Presidential campaign, during which Hillary Clinton received despicable treatment by her opponent. Still, she remained in control of herself throughout the entire process, and never lost her cool.
Thus, she was my obvious choice. My coach asked me to “embody” Hillary Clinton and respond like her, the next time facing a similar situation. This echoes the concept of “power posing”: that by striking a confident pose, we change our brain chemistry and boost our confidence.
Shortly after that, my colleague offered me some home-baked cookies. I took a deep breath, put on my brightest Hillary Clinton-smile and calmly said: “No, thank you.” I felt so grounded! And the result was completely different: this time, my colleague just nodded and turned away. He never offered me anything again.
Do people around you respect your choice of eating? If not, try a new approach the next time.
How to Respond when People Disrespect Your Diet:
1. Picture them as kids. Although you might want to do something evil to the bully in front of you, picturing the person as an innocent child will soften you. Send loving thoughts to that child.
2. Embody a role model. Who would handle this situation well? Imagine that you are that person and act accordingly.
3. Time out. If under verbal attack, you can always say: “I need a time out now” and leave the place for a few minutes to collect yourself. You do not have to put up with abuse.
It’s interesting how other people change when we do: my declining of desserts has not been disrespected once since this incident. (It probably helped that I quit the corporate environment…)
Thank you, Hillary Clinton, for stopping me from murder!