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Focus More on What’s Inside, Not on What’s Outside

May 29 blog from inside out
Image by Debbie Digioia
I hear the same story over and over from clients: I want or wanted to lose weight to find a date or mate. For some, it’s true that being more fit and trim would widen the potential partner pool, but ironically, more often than not, weight is not the problem. Rather, it’s the people they choose as dates or mates that makes relationships not work. The problem is more a statement about their self-esteem than their size.
These clients are so preoccupied with looking attractive, looking thin, and looking for love and approval, that they never stop to ask themselves how they manage to unerringly find partners who treat them poorly, show little ability or desire for emotional intimacy, and who, to a person, end up causing them to feel inadequate and rejected. They pay so much attention to being attractive that they don’t think about making choices that are emotionally healthy. And they mistake the rejection they suffer as meaning that they, themselves, aren’t good enough for their potential or actual partners, rather than that these people aren’t good enough for them. Get the picture?   
Whether you’re male or female, whichever gender you prefer, if the above describes you, it’s time to jump off the do-I-look-good-enough merry-go-round and hop onto the path of internal self knowledge and healing. If someone mistreats you, especially if you have a history of attracting these kinds of no-good-nicks, it’s time to accept that you are choosing (yes, time after time after time) people who sport bright red flags that could be spotted from the moon and that mentally healthier people see and run from. But, what about them being nice to begin with, then turning not so nice? The answer is to stop longing for who they used to be (which they were in order to get you to love them) and to start seeing what’s in front of your face: someone who doesn’t love you, mistreats you, and tries to keep you from loving yourself.
Many of my clients fall into these kinds of relationships. Some of them have eating problems and wonder why. They’re under the constant stress of trying to win their partner’s approval, engaging in incessantly raking themselves over the coals for not being good enough, and they’re too often focused on looking good rather than on making appropriate choices about who to love. Being with a partner who doesn’t treat you lovingly is a recipe for stress eating. You don’t have to be thinner to be loved or lovable. You don’t have to be attractive in any particular way or look young or comely. You do need to be able to accurately discern who treats you well from who doesn’t and choose from the first group and race away from the second.