This time of year used to be a battle for me. Food consumed my thoughts. It seemed the harder I tried to avoid overeating, the more it had a hold on me. I was carrying around a big heavy suitcase called my “food story” for almost 20 years. And I used this story as an excuse not to fully love myself and embrace the life I was living.
This story kept me in hiding and shrinking back from life. I resisted and judged myself constantly. And it was nothing that more knowledge, prayer, diet or exercise plans could eliminate. What I later began to realize is that food wasn’t the problem. Rejection of self was the core issue.
I fundamentally believed that I was a problem to be fixed. The surface drama of my food relationship was the perfect stage to play out this belief. I tried to keep this struggle in the shadows, but eventually I could no longer outrun it. Over time, and with much grace, my eyes were opened and I began to move towards the feelings that I used to drown out with food. The self-rejection sometimes took over with oceanic force.
Yet, I continued to practice being there for myself. And this welcoming of compassion and kindness shifted everything.
I was desperate enough to slowly let go of the dualistic story that self-forgetfulness has a much higher value than self care. This conditioning that says the woman who spends all her energies outward, even to the detriment of herself is more righteous. That outdated belief shoved my humanity and valid needs into the shadows. Believing that got me nowhere. It only led to more shame and disconnection which fueled more troubling food behaviors.
Marianne Williamson said it perfectly:
“You don’t really mean to be grasping for food. You mean to be grasping for God. And there is only one way to do that. You cannot find God except where He lives. And He lives in you…. If you don’t listen to yourself, you can’t honor yourself. If you don’t listen to yourself, you can’t hear God’s voice within you. If you don’t listen to yourself, you program your body to stop listening to itself. And thus the hell that follows.”
To embrace the beauty and goodness within through listening and practicing vulnerability with yourself takes some practice. Its not for the faint of heart. Maybe we haven’t had many people model deep attuning and listening. So, it feels like riding a bike for the first time. A healthy, kind regard towards yourself is the very thing our compulsions are looking for. When the need for compassionate attention is met, the compulsion softens.
Its not enough for someone else to love us, when deep down we dislike ourselves.
Your relationship with food is providing a doorway for you to return and commit to yourself in a deeper way that you ever imagined possible. And of course, this only elevates the level of compassion and empathy you experience in your relationships with others.
Until we look at our fundamental relationship with ourself, our frustrating food relationship will be the messenger inviting us back to wholeness and communion. Its a call back to a much kinder and more humane way of relating to your tender heart, soul and body. Its about trading in the tendency to fight yourself in favor of knowing yourself.
What if 2016 became a year of compassion and connection like you never before experienced?
What if you dropped all of the fixing and set an intention to begin a practice of dieting from self punishing thoughts? What if you fasted from self judgement and exercised more self compassion and lovingkindness? What a game changer that would be!
END OF YEAR PRACTICES:
- Gift yourself a new journal where you get to practice “tuning in.”
- Write a letter of forgiveness to yourself.
- Explore feelings of remorse and self forgiveness around your relationship with food and your body.
- Include people and circumstancesthat are part of your “food story.”
- Allow yourself to feel the pain of regrets, and also the flood of mercy and relief that comes from surrendering it all and releasing yourself and others from judgement.
- See what your soul and body might say back to you.