EATING LOVE GUIDE - Emotions 1
<< PREV NEXT >>
Guide - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Emotions 1 - Emotions 2 - Emotions 3
EMOTIONS 1 - GOING DEEPER
"What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams. -Werner Herzog"
The first part of this book focused on, as promised, a painless, minimal effort method to managing and taking control of your emotional eating.
For those who are brave enough, and who have the desire to go deeper and speed the whole process up, this next part will be where you really begin.
The way to start such an undertaking is to first turn inwards.
Emotional work and change is difficult. That's because we try very hard, albeit unconsciously, to turn our attention away from our inner selves.
This is done through behaviors like keeping busy, eating, watching TV/movies, checking email and social media, and doing just about anything we can to avoid just sitting there with our thoughts and feelings.
These feelings of ours are painful or unpleasant at best and so we cope by distraction (generally being unaware that we do) since we don't really know what else to do.
Start by Watching Yourself
The first step then, is to notice our resistance to our being aware of our feelings. Take a quiet moment by yourself and try to just imagine what it would be like for you to sit down, alone for a couple of hours at night with nothing to do.
No screens, music, people, chores or activities. Just sit there and notice. See if you feel a pressing urge to go and do something, or to move away from that very spot mentally. If so then that is your resistance coming into play.
If you don't feel that pressing urge then see what else is there instead. Some people instead notice negative self talk (in their heads) or they ruminate about how bored they are or about how much of a waste of time it is to sit there. The resistance you have may take on almost any form that has the goal of keeping you away from being with yourself.
The Lonely Vacation
Another good exercise along these lines is to conjure up the daydream of a lonely vacation. Pretend that you are at a tropical resort by yourself with people all around but with nobody to talk to the whole time.
Again you have no devices, screens, music etc. They don't serve alcohol and the meals consist of water and a filling but tasteless, meal replacement bar. Everything and everyone you know is far away and all distractions are not available.
In imagining that scenario, what feelings surface for you? Can you describe them?
Where in your body do you feel the feelings or the resistance to them? Common areas are the solar plexus, the jaw, chest, throat, neck and back.
The next step, and the hardest part, is to just sit there and let yourself feel this discomfort with as much intensity as you can handle for as long as you can. In doing this you are beginning to get to know yourself.
And that is just the top layer of your feelings and of who you are internally. Your resistance is there too at every level or each layer to help you deal with what you thought would either, destroy you, swallow you up or overwhelm you as a child (assuming most of these protected feeling were the result of childhood trauma to some degree which it usually is.)
The role of your resistance is protective.
In childhood, we were overwhelmed by our emotional environment and, not knowing what to do, we started to build defenses.
Without them we wouldn't be able to function and so we counted on them to help us cope and endure our volatile environment.
The main function of our defense(s) was to tune us out of our own emotions. Anything that threatened to make us aware of them was either ignored or met with resistance of some kind.
Without guidance it was the best we could do and although it came with a heavy price, there wasn't much of a choice. It was a hard enough task in itself and was a tribute to how tough that kid (you) was, and how powerful your survival instincts were.
As we grew up we became even better at building defenses - a process that became automatic and unconscious. They grew and solidified into a fortress:
Again, we did what we could, to keep ourselves safe.
As adults, the defenses built to protect us started to cause problems. Our coping mechanisms such as comfort eating, drinking, shopping, sex, working too much etc, both started to work less or not at all, and have a negative impact on us.
Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place At this point we face a problem. We can ignore our emotions and watch them take control of our lives, slowly make us miserable and cause pain for those who care or rely on us (a painful option),
We could turn inward and face what has been unbearable to face and feel our entire lives - an equally painful option.
How do you choose?
The easiest choice is to keep doing what you are doing. You've done it all your life and it is familiar. Nobody is dying and while things are not perfect you are moving along and hanging in there.
Choosing the other path - facing your demons - is hard. It's an option that requires you to first work to become aware of them fully, and then it requires even more effort and a big commitment.
It's also anxiety provoking.
Choosing the status quo is what most people go for and that's not a criticism. Look at that picture above. Like I said before, this choice is NOT easy.
Another issue with this choice is that if you stay the course and ignore your emotions, your troubles will only get bigger and bigger the longer you go on. Your kids, partner, extended family and friends will all also be affected.
By CHOOSING the more difficult path now, you will be saving yourself and your loved ones a lot of pain in the future, and at the same time creating a much richer, more fulfilling life.
The good news is that your life will get BETTER in all ways, not just the eating part. You will live with less anxiety and depression, have more authentic relationships, have a healthier body with more energy and an increase in self esteem and overall happiness.
Those are the rewards of making inner work a priority in your life and they are well worth it.
But first, like I mentioned, you have to turn inwards.
<< PREV NEXT >>
Guide - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Emotions 1 Emotions 2 Emotions 3