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This is an inspiring post from a client who is also a member of my Food and Feelings message board. She graciously allowed me to share her words on my blog space, but wants readers to know the following: She’s still a work in progress, as she adamantly stresses in our sessions, worrying that people will think she’s overcome all her problems (heaven forbid!). Nor does she have the positive attitude that shines through this post every day. Some days are better than others. She also fears feeling too good because of childhood messages about pride and how she was invalidated when she did achieve and succeed. To me, these fears as well as her accomplishments are highly telling and speak to the struggles that many of you have.
I haven't posted on here in a while. Karen asked if I would share my recent experiences with change and a sort of ‘mental shift’ I've had. I can remember—not long ago—reading others' posts and being soooo frustrated that they were making progress and I was ‘stuck’. So I know how that feels, and it was horrible. It just reinforces that lifelong belief that you're inherently flawed, that you can't even do THIS right, blah blah blah.
But I want to tell you it is possible. I'm not saying that all of the sudden I eat only when I'm truly hungry, because that's not true. My eating is still mostly out of habit. But let me tell you the #1 thing that I have found to be true and necessary to feel good about myself. Everything bad you believe (about your body and weight and acceptance) is B.S. It has been so grilled into us that we must look a certain way to be loved, or even accepted, that to us it is absolutely true. It is ‘the way it is.’ But guess what? It's NOT.
Watch the movie The Matrix if you haven't already—your reality is what your brain is programmed to believe. For whatever reason, we are programmed to believe we're unlovable, disgusting, useless, whatever. And yes, we get plenty of reinforcement from TV and movies and magazines. But that's the mob mentality. Like when people do horrible things in groups that they would never do alone.
I don't know exactly how or why I had this mental shift, but I no longer hate myself (most of the time). I pay closer attention to the praise I get, instead of just blowing it off with ‘Yeah, right.’ Because it's really NOT about being fat or eating too much. It's about knowing you're as good as anybody else. It's about realizing that being normal or average is great. Being who you are RIGHT NOW is great. I got sick of ‘questing’—I wanted to ‘be there’ already. But ‘there’ can be whatever you want it to be. ‘There’ doesn't have to be looking like a model or a movie star.
I don't have goals anymore like I used to: lose X amount of weight, have this particular job, make X amount of money, learn French, go to the gym, whatever. I do what I want to do, right now. I still daydream about moving to Paris, but I don't beat myself up because I'm not there. See what's GOOD about the right now instead of focusing on what sucks. For example, instead of whining about how backward the little town I live in is, I focus on the fact that I live 5 minutes from a gorgeous beach! How lucky is that!
Just try to surround yourself with positive messages instead of negative ones. If you read books and watch TV shows with gorgeous, pencil-thin, airbrushed people, you're going to hate yourself. So read and watch ones with normal looking people. BBC America and PBS frequently show programs with average looking people. Still for the most part thin, but diverse ethnicities and body shapes and faces. Books, well I could go on forever, as I am a librarian.
Just know it's possible. And relax. Relax, rest, renew, rejuvenate. Because you're awesome, truly. And there's nothing life can throw at you that you can't handle. So let go of the worry and the fear and the stress—it's simply not necessary!
Sending you all peace and serenity and tranquility and self love!
If you would like to let my client know your reactions to this blog, feel free to join my message board at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/foodandfeelings.
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