Food controls my world. It does. And not in a healthy way. I am constantly thinking about food. How much I can have, when I can have it, what I can and can't have, how much I want those things that I can't have, assigning guilt and reward to food...the list goes on.
How much of my life has involved wasted emotional and mental energy surrounding food? I shudder at the thought of it. I've shared before that I struggled with eating disorders all through high school. Now, in my late twenties, I realize that I may not be performing the act of an eating disorder, my disordered eating still exists.
Until we face the root of the problem, we will continue to subject ourselves to a mindset that limits us. I have spent at least 10 years limiting myself to thoughts about food, when really, my desire is so much deeper. Isn't it like that for all of us? It's easy to identify in other people but sometimes it takes years and years of peeling back the layers to get to what we really struggle with.
And it may not be just one thing. For me, it's so many little things intertwined: my need for control, my fear of abandonment, my fear of inadequacy, my pride. Together they form a dark film through which I see myself and early on in life, locked in on food and body image.
So instead of putting in the hard, emotional, never-ending work of addressing those underlying fears...I obsess over calories and cellulite and never missing a workout. And my mind and my heart become smaller, less open to explore difficult and challenging topics.
Ironically, in my quest for more control, I ended up letting food control me...because it was easier than learning how to let go. And I can't be abandoned by food, it's always around. And inadequacy is easier to measure when you just focus on your physical body. And why work on humility when you can demand perfection that you can be proud of?
While a different context, it makes me think of the Bible verse that talks about pointing out a speck in your brother's eye but having a log in your own.
It is much easier to see what other people use at crutches, just like my own. And when it comes to other people, the only thing I've ever experienced when sharing my own struggles...is compassion.
Every time I'm brave enough to write or speak about my own struggles, 9 out of 10 people respond with compassion. Why? Maybe because that's the only time we allow ourselves to be kind.
So instead of challenging you to not point out other people's shields, I challenge us to have the same compassion and gentleness with ourselves. You may not be able to see what's blocking and shaping your current reality...but as we all know, it's there. So be gentle with yourself in figuring out what those underlying fears are. Be open to exploring those feelings and taking whatever steps you need to create a life that gives you more.
We are the only ones that limit our reality. And I truly believe that if we allow ourselves to experience the same compassion and kindness that we give to others who are struggling, we can be the ones who set ourselves free.