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?
Heather, this is my sister Anne her weight and health has deteriorate to a point that I find it very hard to watch.
Her daughter France, who Anne has been living with for the last 10 months, she“s also finding it difficult to be in the same space with her. The respect is no longer there and any sympathies that we have had towards Anne has long been gone.
I have thought to have a one on one with Anne and tell her my concern that she is literately killing herself with her junk food, Pepsi…. (she has to take her blood sample every morning which by the way, none of us is suppose to know I believe she`s type 2 diabetes) but it has not happen of yet, she continues, forgive my words gross. I think that you could be very helpful to her I`m just not sure on how to proceed for her to get help….She really hates and does not love her life, well that`s what I think and I`m not the only member of the family to think so.
Did you know that she also lived with Yvon for 3 years,so she would educated herself on being healthy(change of life style) and then woops nothing Yvon is no longer interested in helping her .
What to do?
Wow! That has to be so hard on everyone who cares for her… Here are the thoughts that come to mind when I read your words. First, loving her may involve letting her be. She is an adult and has the right to make whatever decisions she is making regarding her health. The greatest thing we can do for people who are lost down a rabbit hole of unhealthy choices is to hold them firmly in our hearts, send them loving energy and allow them to figure this out. During this time keep yourself out of her way so you don’t have to watch her self-destruct and at the same time, let her know that if she ever decides to do something about this, you will be the first one by her side to help her take the first step. You would be surprised how powerful our loving intent is when it is silently sent to those we love who are struggling to make good life choices. It is way more powerful than anger or judgement is in helping people to ‘desire’ to change. It is way too easy to become angry or judgemental with those who fail to help themselves because they ‘know’ better but choose against themselves. When we are angry and judgemental, it often makes people dig in harder. When we send love, it softens them. I’m not sure if you’ve tried this but you can also sit with her, and in absolute love ask her if there is anything you can help her with? If she brushes you aside and refuses your help, leave her be. She needs to come to this on her own. If she is at all open to doing some reading, you might try finding health newsletters that talk about diet, the cravings of the body for junk food and what they mean – and try sending them to her via her emails. But if she is all shut down and rejecting all input, there is nothing to do but send her loving energy, surrounding her with it, holding her in your thoughts and going about your life. People need to save themselves. Our job is to support them when they become ready. But until then, the ball is really in their court.