These are the stages of learning radical responsibility. This is my version and it’s centered around your health and well being.
Based on the work of Scott Peck, MD, and his writing on the stages of spiritual growth, whose work was also based on James Fowler of Emory University and the man who wrote The Stages of Faith, The Psychology of Human Development and the quest for Meaning.
This is what I have observed in my thirty years of working with people to transform their lives.
Stage 1: The Chaotic Victim
If you meet someone in this stage of responsibility, you might actually be fooled into thinking they’re very loving of you and others, but really they are manipulative.
They talk about things happening “to them” and blame others for their current situation.
Their job, their health, their wealth, and state of happiness – is someone else’s fault.
Stage 2: Formal and Dogmatic
People who believe that there is only “one way” to get healthy and it is their way and every other way is wrong, causes harm, doesn’t worn, etc.
From a religious perspective, these are the dogmatic, fundamentally correct people who submit to the letter of the law but set aside the Spirit of the Law.
From a health perspective, these are the people who are avowed vegetarians and vegans, staunch Ketogenic or Paleo, or (fill in the blank) followers who really believe you’re on the road to death, hell, or suffering unless you follow THEIR way.
It’s understandable how they got there – they may have been suffering from ill health, made some changes following one of these plans and quickly moved from chaos to dogma.
I usually leave these people alone because, like AA or any other life-saving program, people need something to hold onto and many were truly suffering while others have created a B12 deficiency and can no longer think clearly, and are not ready to hear new or different information.
Stage 3: the Skeptic
These people have been helped by a change, but may have found the lifestyle unsustainable or have heard information that is intriguing or scientifically sound that shows they may actually be able to eat a white potato without gaining weight or an egg without causing suffering to anyone.
This group is easier for me to work with in my profession as a Health Coach, a university Professor, or a personal trainer.
Before this stage, if someone comes to me for my services and I recognize they’re in stage one or stage two, I’ll ask a few questions to confirm and then, when I know for sure they’re not ready for real change, I’ll say, “you’re on your own trip.”
Really. Some of you may have heard me say that out loud.
She’s on her own trip.
But when they get to stage 3 – they’re often ready for my assistance.
Stage 4: Transcending
It’s an almost mystical experience.
A truly non-dogmatic approach to health and wellness recognizes that a dogmatic approach to lifestyle does not lead them closer to God or to good health and, in fact the dogma creates feelings of low self worth, self criticism and harsh judgment of others.
You CAN transcend your ideas about nutrition, exercise, meditation, and lifestyle.
You CAN begin to appreciate the gifts of decadent food and flavor and appreciate the levels of strength and flexibility the your own body can develop WITHOUT a strict, dogmatic approach.
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