The Right Thing To Ask When Something Feels Wrong

Today’s post begins with a tale regarding a beloved topic: food.

Before arriving in Paris there was lots of dreamy anticipation about the pending French cuisine. Those decadent, creamy sauces…those exquisite pastries…that bread…

blog bread

Okay yes, the bread is pretty incredible. But now that I’m here I can say that the rest of it…well…I’m just not that into it.

Sure, the food is tasty. But I’ve found that French flavors can get lost in all of that sauce, which is somewhat under-seasoned for my taste, and leads to a bit of bloating.

When I first realized my palate wasn’t gaga for French food I felt like I was doing something wrong. After all, I was supposed to love French food. It’s supposed to be the best cuisine there is.

And then I stopped and asked myself a question.

Says who?

Who, exactly, made this rule? And why, exactly, did I feel the need to agree?

I thought back to all of the places I’d heard this belief, and I realized I’d just accepted it as my own along the way. And now I was feeling badly simply because I didn’t believe what other people believed.

We do this all the time. We take the advice and beliefs of others as facts:

  • We believe we’re supposed to follow a no-carb diet because that’s what we learned from the nutritionist we hired.
  • We believe we need to work in a stable accounting job because that’s what we learned from our guidance counselor.
  • We believe we’re supposed to wear our hair a certain way, vote a certain way, raise our kids a certain way, because that’s what we learned growing up.

From the very beginning there are people – teachers and parents and friends and leaders – who believe something so deeply that, to them, it is fact. So, with the best of intentions, they tell us to believe it, too.

But here’s the deal.

Just because someone’s experiences have led to their own beliefs and choices…doesn’t mean those beliefs and choices are right for you. 

When we sit back and think of the rules we use to run our lives, about what it means to be successful or happy or attractive, we may realize these rules aren’t our own. We just heard them along the way and adopted them as fact.

And these rules might be all wrong for us. Our bodies might need carbs. Our happiest job might be in the art world. Our hair might look good swept up in that fashionable, big new hat.

blog hat crop

When we feel like this is happening, like a rule doesn’t work, we need to ask ourselves the question…

Says who?

If we pay attention to how we really feel about a choice we’re making, we’ll know when to ask this question. It’s when something about that choice just doesn’t feel right…doesn’t jive with who we are deep down.

What we might find when we ask this question is that the choice is based not on what we believe, but what someone else believes. We just accepted it as fact when they told us about it.

Yes, the people who give us advice often want only the best for us. (Heck, every time I post a blog I give advice that I believe will help people.) And yes, some of the ideas we hear are very good for us.

But not every choice is right for everyone.

Which is why, when something doesn’t feel right for us – or when we find that we’re judging ourselves or others – we can find out where that belief came from by asking ourselves…

Says who?

And one of two things will happen:

  • We’ll realize that the belief really belongs to someone else, and we actually don’t agree. So we need to figure out what does work for us and pursue it.
  • We’ll realize that we actually believe in the choice as well, but we’re just stuck for the moment. So we need to figure out how to get ourselves unstuck.

It can be a bit scary to change the rules, but when we sit back and ask ourselves says who?… we can finally get to the core of what we truly believe. Then we can make the choices that work for us.

Like what to eat when we’re in France.

blog sushi

And then we’ll be happier. More satisfied.

And, perhaps, a little less bloated.

This week…

If you find yourself making choices that don’t feel right, ask yourself…says who?

Then figure out what you truly believe and make a choice that works for you.

In the end, you might just find yourself a whole lot happier, healthier, and more successful.

Now, go do good…and do it well.

16 thoughts on “The Right Thing To Ask When Something Feels Wrong

  1. WendiLee says:

    Love it! Just wrote “Says who?” on the white board in my office:) Thanks for all the great posts from across the pond!

    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      So psyched to hear it…appreciate your putting the phrase to good use. I bet you’ll find you use it a lot!

      1. Idil says:

        I want the big white hat of the lady! :):)

        1. Deirdre Maloney says:

          You and me both! I caught that pic in a Starbucks near the opera here in Paris and just needed to capture it. Didn’t even know it was meant for this blog, but…alas…couldn’t let it go to waste. 🙂

  2. Liz says:

    Congratulations on your 100th post! I always look forward to hearing your inspiring stories and applying the lesson to my daily life! Thank you and I look forward to your next adventure 😉

    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      Thanks so much, LIz. I hadn’t realized I hit my own personal centennial until I checked out my word doc list. I’m so pleased you enjoy the blog and appreciate your support!

  3. Aunt Linda rosenhahn says:

    You can adapt french cuisine to your taste, but it would mean you would have to cook

    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      NO thank you…I’ll take my sushi please. Thanks for giving this a read. Nice to hear from you!

  4. Patty says:

    Thanks Deirdre for a great phase to keep in mind. In my lifetime I always thought what everyone else was right and I didn’t know any better. Those two words are a great reminder to listen to my own gut and go with it!

    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      Absolutely Patty – our guts know best. We just need to remember it!

  5. Robin says:

    Great post! That photo in the French restaurant would have been even more perfect if there had been a little dog at the woman’s feet! It’s funny, I think my favorite meal in Paris was at a Chinese restaurant.

    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      Indeed (perhaps the pooch was tucked under the table?) Chinese food is definitely popular here. In fact, I’ve had some of the best food from OTHER regions during my time in Paris…Indian, Tibetan, Lebanese…let me count the ways…

  6. Jim says:

    Good point. When we stop asking that question, we end up not developing as individuals, but as carbon-copies of a composite of people and their belief systems.

    1. Deirdre says:

      That’s such a great way to put it…love it!

  7. LOL!!!! Oh Deirdre, you just relieved guilt that I’ve been carrying around for 20 years! When I was in Paris, I just kept saying “this is it?” The food just isn’t “my” food. I understand that others love and adore it, but it just wasn’t for me. Thanks for allowing me to say “Says Who?” instead of apologizing for not being ‘into it’ or not having a discerning enough palate. That said, yes, the bread is TO DIE FOR (I lived on it when I was there).

    1. Deirdre Maloney says:

      🙂 So glad I could do that for you. It’s actually pretty funny, to sit back and think about ALL of the random things we feel guilty about. At least this one got put into perspective fairly quickly!

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