We all have predictable ways that we sabotage ourselves. We sabotage ourselves because we don’t love ourselves – at least on some level. In some part of our conscious or subconscious mind, we are not really committed to ourselves or our life in ways that encourage us to really be kind to us.
Changing anything – whether it is your weight, your relationships, or your family – begins with becoming mindful of everything you do, your thought patterns, and your self-talk that is linked to this lack of love. Awareness and acceptance of this fact is the first step on your journey.
I chose my eating patterns as a child in response to the continuous anxiety I felt in life. Conditioned by my parents to ‘fear the world’ because bad things happen to good people, I ate to overcome the gnawing fear I felt because I needed to be ‘out in life’ every day.
Being more of a thinker rather than a doer in life, I watched tv, worked on my homework, or read books in lieu of being active. Combine the 2 choices and you have the making of a fat child – which I became by the time I was 10. Mix that up with a healthy dose of sibling rivalry where the favorite way to get me is by calling me ‘tub-of-lard’ and you now have the recipe for self-hate.
By the time I was 10, my thoughts about myself (which my body represented) was nothing short of self-hate. And that emotion has stuck with my subconscious mind ever since.
But over time, you lose track of the story that is linked to the eating habits and you fool yourself into believing that you ‘like’ the way you eat – you see it as a form of ‘reward’ for good behavior. So you continue patterns that are clearly destructive in spite of their effect on your body and emotions because they feel good.
At some point you are called upon to become your own best friend and ‘do the right thing’, not because it feels good but because you love yourself enough that you no longer want to continue with the self-destructive patterns. I have forced myself to LOVE my body by caring for it with the same vigour that I cared for my child as she grew. It has been hard because I was never taught to love myself. I was taught to love and care for others, but not myself. My body was simply the collateral damage that resulted from that training.
Learning to make good choices and to really love me has been hard – not because what I’m trying to learn is hard, but because I had NO neural net wiring in my brain to support it. That’s why it was hard. And this applies to all healthy behaviours that we try to learn. For example, some people find it difficult to focus in on tasks and organize themselves so that they can get things done and be successful. Others avoid studying because it’s ‘hard’ while some people choose to withdraw from life because relating to people is difficult. Others stay in meaningless jobs because finding something else is hard. You know how you build these neural nets? CHOOSE different behaviours and different thought patterns every day, and resist using those old, comfortable neural nets. These habits take a long time to develop, and you need to make a commitment. It will get easier as the neural nets get more established, but you have to make that consistent choice for an extended period of time in order to develop it.
The reason it is hard is because you have not developed the neural pattern in your brain that supports it – you have not built a HABIT. And until you do, it is hard. Furthermore, most of us have not built a HABIT of consistently and generously loving ourselves by committing to behaviours that really honour us.
Did you read that last statement? Loving yourself is a commitment to examine and replace all behavior that does not honour you – and that includes behaviours that honour your body.
WOW – how many of you were ever encouraged to do that as a child? Not many, I would guess.
So I ask you – if you were to choose one thing, just one thing, that you could do that would honour you, your body, and your life, what would it be?
Will you commit to doing this?