As I read the below meditation from Melody Beattie’s “Journey to the Heart,” I couldn’t help but think of how much her words relate to people with food and body image challenges. On one hand, we think happiness will only be achieved once we reach a certain weight, size, etc. On the other hand, however, despite our desire to improve our health, we turn to food to numb ourselves from emotions that make us uncomfortable. In both cases, we are looking outside ourselves for the happiness we are longing for.
One very important thing I teach my clients is to not wait until they reach a particular health goal to start living the life of their dreams. I was very blessed to have someone in my life who encouraged me to follow my passion for nutrition and wellness even though I was overweight at the time. I am so grateful she did because an amazing thing happens when you take all your focus off whatever it is you believe will bring you happiness, and put it onto something else that is meaningful … somehow what you were longing for, actually ends up finding you! For me, once I stopped obsessing about my weight and followed my heart, the weight started to take care of itself.
As for eating to push down those emotions, well let me tell you, that was how I gained weight in the first place! It has taken lots of practice, but I now allow myself to experience the feeling, and take extra good care of myself in the process. That can mean anything from a relaxing walk, long hot bath, massage or other spa treatment, to meditation and journaling … whatever helps me restore the balance. And, yes, because I’m human I still seek out scrumptious sweets sometimes when I’m really stressed, but trust me, the unwanted feelings will pass so much quicker when you just acknowledge them. Like the old saying goes, “What you resist, persists!”
I hope you enjoy reading Melody’s beautiful passage “Learn to Heal Yourself,” and while you do, remember that taking your mind off the “thing” you believe will bring you happiness doesn’t always manifest it … sometimes you end up attracting something even better!
“Sometimes we trick ourselves. If we feel unhappy, troubled, or scared, we race toward what we think will make us feel better. In desperation, in fear, we grasp for something, anything to stop our pain. Finding that job. Making more money. Getting married. Having a relationship. If I get that one thing I need, then I’ll be happy. Then my pain will stop.
Sometimes it’s true that finding the solution to a problem improves the quality of our lives. Having enough money enables us to fix the furnace when it breaks. Having people in our lives we love and who love us can be an important part of our happiness. Having work to do that we enjoy and that we feel is worthwhile helps us feel good about ourselves.
But when we’re in pain – no matter what’s causing it – the way to heal that pain doesn’t come from outside of ourselves. External circumstances don’t make internal emotions disappear. Even if we get what we want, the painful emotions we haven’t had the strength or courage to face will still be there.
The way to heal pain, the only way, is to feel and release it. Your pain is your pain. Your fear, desperation, and resentments are yours too. All these emotions belong to you. Feel them, learn from them, and let them go.”