Several months ago I ran into a dear family friend, and I have to admit that I was surprised by the way she looked, and said, “You look different.” She replied by telling me that she had lost over 30 pounds! After a little chit chat, I asked her how she was able to keep all that weight off, and she told me something that really made me stop and think. She said that she had made the decision not to eat anything unless it was in her “best interest!”
A few weeks later we hosted an event at our house. It was a big feast with lots of food and even more dessert (notice that dessert doesn’t count as actual food in our home!). Towards the end of the meal, and like a classic guy, I totally forgot about our friend’s dieting routine. There was one huge piece of cake left and I offered it to her. With a smile, she politely declined by saying, “No thanks, it’s not in my best interest!”
It hit me how simple and profound that statement was — that we have the agency to say no to anything that is not good for us. Another way it could be phrased is this: when a decision between a short-term temptation is at odds with long-term best welfare, she chooses her long-term welfare. This principle is most commonly known as self-discipline, but viewed through the consciousness of building a better future, one decision at a time.
Where else might we be able to use the same principle? Actually, any time we give into the “natural man,” we are weakening our spiritual self. From the youth to adults, we can use this phrase to decline any “offers” from those who would seek to entice us. Keep in mind that most people in our lives are not necessarily looking out for our own best interest. Without realizing it, most people are looking out for their own best interest most of the time. This can include siblings, spouses, other relatives, doctors, and many other well-meaning people in our lives.
Sometimes, even our friends unknowingly might tempt us with things that are not in our best interest. For example, a young man is invited to a friend’s house to watch a movie; it’s PG-13 but somewhat inappropriate. How would he respond?
What I love about this simple saying is how empowering it feels to say it. More cake anyone? NIMBI!
Would you like a drink? NIMBI!
Something inappropriate on TV or the Internet? Again, NIMBI!
It helps you think about the consequences of potential actions and verbally become more proactive. By choosing the right, our lives are in alignment with our values. By consistently being vigilant and becoming aware of what is in our best interest, we can fulfill our potential. As we bypass the traps and temptations of this world, we have an opportunity to become an example to those around us. In some small way, we can become beacons of light and honor our Savior!
Since we all have areas that we need to make some improvements on, how can we best make use of this wonderful little phrase? When might this be applicable in your lives? Can you envision a situation or circumstance when you’d be able to say it to someone? More importantly, how could you say that to yourself without judgment, but with a smile, just like our friend?
I hope we can make this part of our daily lexicon. It will bless our lives and maybe even give others permission to do the same. “It’s not in my best interest!”
What a lovely phrase!
Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a nationally known speaker, relationship coach, and the president of LDSCoaching.com. With over 20 years of experience, he has inspired thousands of individuals and couples to find greater happiness and fulfillment, both in their careers and their personal lives. He holds a degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. in psychology. Dr. Gourgouris speaks to groups around the country regarding women’s issues, self esteem, communications skills, and relationships. He is also a favorite presenter at both BYU and BYU-ID Education Weeks, and Time Out for Women conferences. He is the author of “DTR: What You Need to Know Before You Get Married” and he has an upcoming CD entitled “The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Just Surviving to Thriving!” He and his wife, Sona, live near Boulder, Colorado, with their children.