Norma gave me an idea for a post. She has some "at least" comments in her post for Sunday morning that sparked some thoughts.
How often do we see "at least" as we try to make others feel good about bad choices? I have done this and now I see that while it does help ease guilt feelings for poor choices, it isn't constructive too much. We even say this to ourselves.
At least I only ate 10 cookies.
At least they were low fat since I ate the whole box.
At least I didn't eat the whole pizza.
At least I didn't gain.
At least I thought about exercising.
At least I tried.
At least I haven't developed Type II diabetes yet.
At least I haven't had a heart attack yet.
I have told the story a long time ago about standing in the hallway with one of our English teachers and we were talking about unhealthy habits people have - I think it was smoking. He said he thought the reason people didn't get serious about quitting smoking (this could be expanded to losing weight, stopping drinking, stopping gambling, etc.) was that people think "It won't be today". It won't be today I am diagnosed with cancer; it won't be today I develop Type II diabetes, it won't be today. This is a very sobering thought because it is so true.
Have you ever gone somewhere and looked around and thought to yourself, "At least I am not that big"? Does it matter? Did that thought help us feel better about our own size. Answer: Yes.
I can remember using a fad diet to lose a few pounds and then when I broke and starting overeating I would watch my weight go back up and think, "at least I am not back to where I was". I eventually was there plus a few more pounds.
This is one way we protect ourselves from the truth and help others do the same. I really think we mean well but I also think we don't realize how we are insulating ourselves from getting really serious and really help others get serious. At least I didn't insult you while I pointed out what I saw as a problem area. At least I didn't tell you how immature it is to rationalize with statements beginning with "at least".
Maybe these would be better -
At least I didn't break my leg on the elliptical.
At least I made it through the first mile before I had to slow down.
At least I had enough vegetables on hand to make a nice salad.
At least I didn't have a wreck on the way to the gym.
At least there was plenty I could choose from at the buffet and stay with my food plan.
At least I didn't run over someone while on my bike ride.
At least I got healthy while there was still enough time to enjoy living.