I was recently doing an online training by Judith Matz (she’s good – if you treat eating issues, she’s one to check out), and she kept using a simple little phrase that I just loved. When describing the process of attuned eating, she introduced the concept of the Good Match. To illustrate: A person checks in with themselves, determines that their body is hungry, and is particularly wanting pasta with some vegetables. And maybe some cheese. They prepare themselves a plate of pasta with red sauce, a side salad with oil and vinegar and a decent helping of gorgonzola, sit down and eat it mindfully. It does the trick. They feel satiated and well. It’s a Good Match.
Simple, but there’s something poetic about it. I think it’s the stress-free feeling attached to it: a check in with yourself, a recognition of what you want and need in the moment, an action to do what you can to meet those wants/needs without judgment, a judgment call that it’s good, and the permission to move on. Making Good Matches throughout the day, food-wise, is liberating and empowering for individuals with issues with food, their bodies, and eating. A Good Match for breakfast. A Good Match for dinner. A hundred Good Matches lead us to a healthier relationship with food and our bodies.
I think this notion of the Good Match is transferrable. In the therapy room, we often spend time looking at areas of life that don’t feel like they’re working very well – the intolerable stress of work, for instance, or the trickiness of navigating an ultimately toxic relationship. A tendency, often, is to assume that the problem lives within us, and that if we could only figure out how to be more____ or do more ____ or feel less ___, we’d suddenly discover that the job is fulfilling, or that the relationship works. And hey, sometimes, this is the case. We need to do the work to move into a space of greater wellness.
And other times – it’s just not a Good Match.
Think of how freeing it would be to let go of all the Bad Matches in our lives! The people we never feel good around, the work we don’t feel safe or appreciated for doing, the value systems and attitudes that no longer feel true for us…the space that these negative elements might leave us is potentially enormous. What could we fill that space with? Creative endeavors? Adventuring? Thriving relationships? Self-exploration? All of the Self-Work we’ve been missing out on while we’ve been beating ourselves up for the things we should be doing better, that just aren’t Good Matches for us? What might be possible?
It’s exciting to consider, this notion of the Good Match. Can we start by considering the major areas of our lives, and if they feel like Good Matches? Our jobs. Our primary relationships. What we do with our free time. Where we live. How we take care of ourselves emotionally and physically. Are these things what we want and need them to be? Are they Good Matches?
How can we commit to prioritizing making Good Matches, and see what happens?