Sometimes feelings are so chaotic and wild, we feel crazy as they ride through us, along with all our thoughts that caused the feelings in the first place. Feelings seem to cause distress, turmoil, upset and fatigue.
Then, we often want to eat. Whether hungry or not.
(Or smoke, drink, clean, work, gamble, etc).
Escape from the feelings! Change the channel!
But what if you’re treating these wild and moveable sensations in the body like their the enemy, or something you shouldn’t be experiencing?
Long ago, when I was first healing from truly dreadful off-balance eating, I discovered there were a few feelings on my list that I never wanted to feel. Ever.
Aloneness or solitude I could handle. Sadness, that was OK. Anxiety was uncomfortable but not the end of the world. Excitement or nervous anticipation was partially fun. Disappointment I thought I could quickly recover from.
But deep anger, resentment, fury, rage–these I judged as horrible. Only mean people have those feelings. Bad people.
Fear was also too uncomfortable. I felt nauseated, couldn’t sleep, short of breath. I’d do anything to get away from fear! (Including eat when not hungry).
Humiliation was the worst of all. Feeling ashamed, or guilty that I did something wrong or someone disapproved of me. Ugh. It was the worst of all. Then I really wanted to hide in my house and eat sweet things, so I felt sweeter about the world. (It never worked for long term).
Something that helped immensely over time, was taking a look at feelings I disliked the most….the ones I considered ENEMIES….
….and judge them, using The Work of Byron Katie.
Is it true you’re a bad person if you experience fear, or anger, or shame?
Look at those other people over there, acting terrified, or rageful, or deeply self-effacing. Gross. So unpleasant, and unattractive.
Can you absolutely know it’s true it makes someone a BAD person if you experience these human feelings?
No. Reality includes all these feelings. It appears to be a part of the human condition.
How do you react when you believe something’s awful and bad?
I avoid it. I try to get away, stay away, and crush it within. I try not to be angry, fearful, or shameful….ever, ever, ever.
If I DO experience these feelings, I eat.
I don’t ask anyone for help (they’ll think I’m bad, too). I don’t have any other outlets. I try to control what can’t be controlled. Feelings.
It’s a ton of work. I have to stay home a lot, and not be exposed to other people.
But who would I be without this thought? Who would I be without this belief that having these uncomfortable feelings makes me BAD? (Or anyone bad)?
You can look at that other person who’s feeling big feelings you don’t like and see what you’d think of them without the belief they shouldn’t be expressing that feeling.
What would this be like?
I’d be feeling these terrible feelings, like riding a roller coaster, and letting them run their course–even hearing their message. Honoring what they have to say. No getting over them.
Allowing the feeling to be here, and allowing me to be a human being feeling it, without judgment.
That feels like freedom.
Turning the thought around: feelings (anger, fear, humiliation) are GOOD to feel. Not bad. It’s only my thoughts about these feelings that are bad, not the feelings themselves.
When I began to live this way with my feelings, even just a little bit, guess what happened to the urge to eat? It relaxed.
It was no longer necessary to stuff in food aggressively with anger. It was no longer necessary to panic with ice cream in bed. It was no longer necessary to shamefully buy something I liked to eat, and eat too much of it in my car.
In the Eating Peace Process, we spend an entire module or segment of the program looking at how to work with feelings.
Especially the ones we resist or hate.
Who would we be without our stories about feelings?
Two live calls per week and many presentations you’ll listen to on your own, this course offers you a structure to thoroughly look at your relationship to food, eating and your body from every angle. To read more about it the Eating Peace Process please visit here.