This is for me as much as for you.
I’ve learned the hard way over 38 years. Learning through laying on the bathroom floor to calm down the storm in me that says if you stop “doing” no one will love you. And then you will die alone, worthless.
(That particular day was dramatic; funny now. But very necessary to break through the story that I am only worth loving if I am thin, eat perfectly, exercise a lot and otherwise do whatever is culturally acceptable at all times)
Everyday was (still sometimes is) about pleasing.
Proving my worth.
Not stopping for fear of being thought of as LAZY.
Look at me and how hard I try; please love me now.
There is always more to do.
And guess what? All the striving and trying did get me and you quite a bit.
Positive reinforcement. Good grades. Maybe a good job. I am not saying anything is wrong with all that.
The problem is that this stuff is not who you who are. I used to think that was all I was.
My accomplishments. How much people liked it if I benefited them somehow.
This belief system that I had, and maybe you have too, was a thread in the web of how I developed
an eating disorder. It was easier to do all this to get along. To cover up the fear of not doing it.
Dieting and binging drowned out the noise of “I don’t really want to do x” but “oh crap, I have to or else….”
“I don’t like what he just said, but if I ignore it (usually by studying more or exercising, I will forget about it”
“I will just be better/nicer/quieter/try harder/be thinner/more attractive and things will change”
But the truth you and I know is that we don’t forget. It gets stored away in some cell, and screams at
us to see it the minute we get a second of peace. And because we didn’t know what was happening at
the time, we run (literally) back to restricting, binging and all the things. We blame our bodies, the
food, our lack of willpower for the discomfort.
Because being thinner and number is better right and fixes it all?
However, now we know better. We are waking up that these strategies will get us some favor from
the world but leave us hollow and hungry.
And I am out of denial of the YEARS of feeling ragged, paranoid and preoccupied trying to give from
an empty container. If you feel guilty about giving yourself your basic NEEDS remember that you really
aren’t fully giving and serving and will be more generous (even thought that is not the point) when you
are not hiding behind the mask of being of not having needs. YOU are human!
I want to reassure you that I am not saying you stop doing good work in the world or eating in a
way that supports your body or not caring about anything or anyone. What I am saying is that
we must disconnect our body size and our “accomplishments” from our worth.
Without judgement, which is what I implore you to do, excavate the ways you use food and over-doing to
not feel what you believe is too much.
The pain is real. But living with it a lifetime is not what you are made for. Don’t wait another day to take
the steps to learn how to really know yourself, what your hungers are and how to feed them.
I have spots open for learning about your hungers in Attuned Eating for Attuned Living, where we start
with making peace with food and weight so that you can move from chronic running to ease with yourself.
We talk much about this self care issue and even have friends who specialize in self-care discuss how not
giving ourselves what we need is not in the long term serving anyone.
Speaking from a girl who can now actually “just be” with herself and navigate the rough times and
enjoy the times of ease that comes with it, I invite you to move from dreaming what that would
be like to allowing yourself to have it.
At the beginning there were many days of being “with” myself and wanting to crawl out of my skin when
I choose to not “do” the thing (exercise, jump into another job or learn something I thought someone
else would respect) but I survived and you will too.
I so desire for you to be free. To have doing in its proper place. For you to remember you are not the
mask that we sometimes wear.
I have a little tool for you to help you Stop Body Bashing — get it HERE
Dear Tracy, this article really resonated with me. I was wondering if I may republish your article in German on my blog?
Thanks in advance!