Facing Your Feelings
Connect with your feelings – feel your way to inner peace
You’re not going to like what I have to tell you.
But, but once you hear this you’ll know it’s true.
Once you accept, believe and start to change in this area…you will be set free by it.
Eating disorders are not about food.
Overeating is a coping mechanism, a way to avoid facing life. Only by getting real about what you’re avoiding and being present to the situations in your life in a new way can you begin to live a recovered, healthy life.
It’s important you get what I’m getting at here if want to get help with bulimia. Understanding the motivation behind your emotional eating can be the key to finding your personal solution to your addiction.
Life is Your Personal Classroom
Life brings us new opportunities for growth every day (every moment really). If you look at growth as a bad thing, your experience of life will be suffering (frustration, anxiety, sadness, anger). If you resist growth, resist change, life will look like a series of bad things happening to you. You’ll go through life asking, “Why me?” or “Why does this stuff always happen to me?”
I believe life is an opportunity for us to grow, learn and expand our inner self. If we allow our natural state to unfold, then life becomes a classroom, an experiment, a journey of continual expansion. I can appreciate it seems like bad things are happening to you and life may seem like an uphill battle. Things are happening and you’re meant to grow from them.
When we resist growth, we resist life. What we resist persists. Resisting life makes overcoming bulimia difficult to achieve. Your recovery journey requires you learn to accept what is while you open up to life’s experiences as an opportunity to become a deeper, more conscious being. Look at your daily life, your moment-to-moment interactions as constant teachings and I guarantee you’ll relax and not get so upset when those bad things come up.
A New Approach
With an optimistic viewpoint, if you can see what I’m saying is true – and your entire life has been a way for you to develop into the person you are now and your future is there to allow you to grow into the person you wish to become – then you can begin to approach situations differently. You then ask questions like:
What am I supposed to learn from this?
What’s the lesson here for me?
How can I grow from this?
This is meant to teach me something, what can I do differently in the future?
My personal prayer when faced with a challenging situation is “God, let me get the lesson quickly”.
Think twice before you run away from an opportunity to grow today (or in the future). Moving through the situation now instead of avoiding it will allow it to pass like a road sign on your path. If you avoid your hardships or challenges they only become roadblocks in your future. We can’t avoid life’s lessons; we can only postpone them.
Recognize Your Limiting Beliefs
Part of your work in bulimia recovery involves going deeper. Meaning you face what you’re afraid to deal with so you can break it up. Surprisingly, once you shine a light on your fears and limiting beliefs you will find they have no basis and may even be totally untrue. I laugh at myself now sometimes at the crazy things I made up as a small child that runs my life today.
I want to start exploring something with you called your limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs are what hold us back from our dreams and keep us playing small in the world. We make up beliefs all the time, but most we made up when we were children. Some beliefs serve us, some do not. Empowering beliefs can sound like:
I’m smart and do well when I apply myself.
I learn new things quickly.
I am good at sports (or art or music).
Limiting beliefs can sound like:
I’m fat and no one will ever love me.
I’m not good enough.
Something’s wrong with me because…
I’m not worthy of being loved.
Somewhere along the line we made up limiting beliefs about being not good enough and something’s wrong with me. It would take too long to explain right now why we create these beliefs, but know that we all have them. They’re running our lives and we don’t even know they exist.
I tell you all this because I want you to start looking at your beliefs as a part of your recovery process. It’s only when we shine a light on what’s stopping us, running us or keeping us from growing in our life that we can change our patterns and have different results.
Stop, Listen, Respond
The way you’re responding to uncomfortable situations in your life right now is out of conditioning. Your conditioned response to stress, sadness, loneliness and many other uncomfortable feelings is to eat (i.e. avoid feeling). To break this habitual response you need a new pattern when facing uncomfortable situations.
Begin to notice what triggers you – situations, people, and certain foods. Develop alternative coping mechanisms to deal with these stressors in your life (meditation, breathing, talking to a friend, or going for a walk). Consider a new approach to these uncomfortable situations.
– Connect with your feelings – get honest with yourself about how you “feel” (Are you angry with that co-worker? Are you frustrated with your kids? Are you sad about what your Mother said to you?)
– Connect with your body’s signals – notice how your body feels and the signals it sends you (Does your stomach feel full or empty? Is your heart feeling broken or hurt? Are you feeing anxious about something that’s about to happen?)
– Check in with your heart – find your spiritual center, your intuitive knowing and listen for the answers your heart has about the situation (this will take some practice)
Start to peel back the layers of what you’ve been avoiding in your life each day. You life is a classroom and the lessons come in different vehicles, from different people and at different times. Yet, the message is often one you’ve not yet learned so it continues to show up and will do so until you get the lesson and can move on.
Your life will take on new meaning when you challenge your limiting beliefs and begin to feel again. Your growth and power come about when you listen to your inner guidance, and begin to take on really feeling your feelings when life happens.
Trust that your feelings won’t be as painful as you think they will be. All the pain and suffering you’re now experiencing as part of your eating disorder is actually more damaging to you than if you just felt the feeling the first time and allowed it to move through you.
Ready to Take It On?
Here are two ideas you can take on this week to help you put these ideas into practice in your life.
- Recognize limiting beliefs – start paying close attention to your thoughts. Especially important is to notice when your limiting beliefs show up. Listen to your thoughts carefully when they sound like a personal attack or insult. It’s those thoughts. Merely pause when you notice the negative/insulting thought and, if you can, cancel or replace the thought with an empowering one. If you want to go deeper, ask yourself “if that thought weren’t true, who would I be and do now?”
- Appreciate challenges – play a game this week by laughing at (or at least not getting overly upset like you might ordinarily) when something challenging happens to you. For instance I’ve had flat tires, missed appointments/airplanes, and spilled or broken something and now smile at it when it happens. (I’ve been at this for awhile!) It takes practice to get to a place where you can just say “Ok, that’s what happened. So now what?”.
Today you might just be at a point where you don’t throw something or dive into a binge. Whatever you can do to just start to look at the crap that happens in your life as an opportunity to respond with peace and calm instead of spiraling into anger or bingeing.
Give it a try and keep at it no matter what!