What Do You Think You Deserve?
Do you often eat food that isn’t good for you and that you’re not hungry for because you insist, “Well, why shouldn’t I eat it? I deserve it.” Truth is, when you feel truly deserving of good things, you don’t think this way. Yes, you do deserve to eat yummy foods, but with entitled eating, yumminess lasts until you guiltily swallow the last bite or feel sick to your stomach. Hello, you’re not eating for pleasure, but because you don’t have enough of it in your life. What follows your fleeting food fling is hours or days—or a lifetime—of feeling crummy about your eating and yourself. What you’re actually proving is that you don’t believe you deserve to feel good because feeling yucky is exactly what happens when you regularly eat for non-hunger reasons. Paradoxically, you end up driving home the point that you deserve pain and suffering, not pleasure. How crazy is that?
Moreover, how come you feel entitled to and deserving of food pleasure but not all the other myriad pleasures in life? You settle for abuse or neglect, don’t reach or strive for better, put up with all sorts of chronic mistreatment because you’re not convinced you really are deserving of love, kindness, respect, happiness, being valued, nurtured, and taken care of. You turn away from authentic happiness and short-change yourself while resenting doing so, and this anger drives you to eat, as the only kind of pleasure you sadly believe you deserve.
If happiness from food is all you feel entitled to, you will never go after the things that truly lift the human spirit. If only you felt as strongly about being deserving of satisfying work, play, down time, intimate relationships, and knowing that you are special and unique and must be treated accordingly, you wouldn’t be habitually looking to food to make you happy. By asserting that you deserve to eat when you’re not hungry, you’re saying that’s all you deserve and nothing more. You’re giving up your claim and right to go after all the things you really want (what all mentally healthy folks want) and will settle for the measly, ephemeral high that food gives you, and the terrible back pay you experience when the pleasure ends.
Why not insist that you deserve love, nurturance, fun, success, intimacy, happiness, and whatever else you yearn for? Where is that surge of conviction that you damned well deserve the best in life, not mere gastronomic gratification? When you feel “entitled” to eat, know that you’re afraid to feel that way about larger, deeper, and more lasting niceties. Know that you’re settling for short-term pleasure and long-term pain. Then, rather than turn toward food, go out and treat yourself to a slice of the good life.