Since I’m enjoying a blog-posting vacation for the month of July, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share this wonderful article from my dear friend and colleague Alicia Kamin of Authentic Health. It’s so apropos. Happy reading!
I remember the struggle. I remember the intensity with which I hated myself.
I remember feeling so out-of-control and the deep despair, helplessness, sadness, and desperation.
I’d wake up in the morning feeling a renewed sense of control, thinking that today would be the day I’d break the cycle. However, at some point, the demon that lived inside me would rear its head and take over.
I’d plunge into the throes of that demon’s desire and I’d binge on whatever food was around — despite having vowed to myself that I wouldn’t.
During the binge I’d get some relief, and I’d feel a slight sense of peace. Then it’d end and my self-hatred would wash over me more strongly than before.
I’d spend the rest of my day consumed with regret, despair, and pain over the state I was in and desperately grasp for ways to change my situation. I’d also attempt to undo what I’d done by exercising — often 3 or more hours at a time.
I felt so lonely.
I knew there was no one to help me.
I couldn’t keep living like that.
And I didn’t.
For 25 years, I’ve walked a path that’s led me to greater and greater peace. Along the way, I ended the struggle I described above.
I stopped bingeing, I gained control, and I certainly don’t hate myself.
In fact, I’m not at all the person I was at that point.
And now I want to share with you the 3 KEY ACTIONS I took to end my struggle.
It doesn’t matter whether your struggle is with food and weight, as mine was, or in another aspect of your life.
If you take these 3 KEY ACTIONS, your struggle will ease greatly and may possibly go away completely. I used these steps to help myself, and the clients I mentor now use them to end their struggle.
Key #1: Feel your pain
It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Feel pain to experience less pain? But it works.
All my attempts to stop bingeing were useless because the ONLY way I had to cope with my pain at that time was with food.
My struggle with food didn’t shift until I found other ways to process my pain.
A simple way you can begin feeling your emotional pain is to give attention to the discomfort in your body.
Think about a particularly painful memory then allow yourself some moments — perhaps in your meditation spot, or in a garden, or in your favorite chair — to feel where that painful feeling resides in your body. Then, place your full attention on it, and stay with it.
As you pay attention to the pain, be sure to notice it with love. You are not trying to get rid of it.
You’ve been trying to get rid of it by eating, or with whatever form of numbing you typically use. Instead you’re welcoming it.
It’s already within you, and you are now giving it attention so it’s felt and moves through you. By not trying to get rid of it, you actually can get rid of it!
Sometimes I feared I’d fall into the depths of my pain and never come out. But I didn’t, and you won’t either. Just keep gently focused on the uncomfortable sensation in your body and follow the process.
Key #2: Let go of your stories
Imagine you’re with a friend, having coffee or shooting the breeze during a ballgame, and you start talking about your work and how much you dislike it, and how your partner doesn’t support you, and that he or she does this-and-that wrong, and you can’t believe…STOP! Do you hear all that? That’s your story!
And while that story may seem important and truly valid, I’m telling you, it’s all FALSE.
Your story is based upon the meaning you’ve given to the circumstances around you.
Your story’s also based on what you make those circumstances mean about YOU.
I’ll give you an example.
Imagine your partner runs into the house, slams the door, quickly goes past you without saying anything, and makes a loud yelling noise when arriving in the other room.
“Hey”, you think, “why didn’t he say hi to me? He didn’t have to slam the door. In the past, he’s slammed the door when he’s mad. Is he mad at me? He didn’t say hi, so he probably is. But I didn’t do anything. Maybe he thinks I’m a bad partner. I’ll walk in there and tell him I didn’t do what he thinks I did, then he’ll know I’m not a bad partner.”
Our minds process like this in the blink of an eye.
We don’t even realize we do it.
BUT…perhaps your partner shut his finger in the car door, is in horrible pain, could barely negotiate getting inside the house, and groaning loudly, went to put ice on it quickly.
In your mind’s scenario, you gave meaning to what you saw happening, and you also made it mean something about you…that he thinks you’re a bad partner.
Now, this example may be exaggerated and silly, but it is similar to what we frequently do.
However, what if you let go of your stories? What if you just look at the facts without giving them a meaning?
To end my struggle, I let go of stories about my mother and why she was the one to blame for my food and weight issues. I let go of stories of being a failure even when appearances pointed to that possibly being the case.
And I let go of stories fueled with blame, shame and guilt.
I now see that when my clients let go of their blame, shame and guilt stories, they too feel more peace and joy as their struggle lessens. It’s very powerful.
Let your stories go, and CHOOSE how you want to feel about your life…and your future.
Key #3: Embrace a new vision
What we focus on, GROWS. (I write more on this topic here: One Year of Water Left)
Have you ever noticed after buying a new car that you see many more of the same car on the road? Or someone mentions their favorite best-selling book, and then you see the book everywhere you go?
When we have attention on something, more of it shows up.
Where’s YOUR attention? Do you focus on the things that aren’t going well in your life, or on the people who make you miserable, or on how ugly, fat and inadequate your body is?
But I don’t now.
This step was a really important one for me, and I think it will be for you too.
Ask yourself what you want to focus on instead. What do you want to grow more of in your life?
When I initially ask my clients what they’d love to do and what they’d love their lives to look like, most of them respond, ‘I don’t know.’
BUT, you can’t move toward the life you’d love if you don’t know what it is!
It’s like this: If you were driving your car, but you didn’t have a clear destination, you’d go places. However, these places probably wouldn’t be the ones to make you happiest.
So, what is your vision for your life that truly makes your heart sing?
I don’t want you to worry about HOW it’ll happen; just write it down. Write everything down and begin to focus on THAT.
I recommend writing out a vision that feels so good when you read it that you feel the excitement, the hope, the energy of that possibility.
Put positive feeling words into the vision too. Then read it twice a day…or more.
As you focus more frequently on what you DO want in your life, little — and big — things will occur to take you further in that direction.
To summarize, here are the 3 KEY ACTIONS I did…and you can do…to end your struggle:
- Feel your pain
- Let go of your stories
- Embrace a new vision
It took me 2 decades to end my struggle, learn some valuable lessons, and create a life that I love.
I hope that by sharing the 3 KEY ACTIONS above, you end YOUR struggle and achieve your heart’s desires much more quickly than I did.
What stories will you let go of now? What do you want to grow MORE of in your life? Share in the comments below!
About the Author
|Having transformed her own painful weight issues, Alicia Kamin now mentors middle-aged women and men who are very overweight and feel despair about their bodies. She helps facilitate the transformation needed to get back in control, feel empowered around food, lose weight, and finally feel free.
Grab your FREE copy of her ebook Authentic Health: The Proven Path to Heal Yourself and Finally Feel Free at Authentic Health.