We all know the way we think is influenced by the reality we noticed happening around us, often from an early age.
Even if it’s in the long-ago past, we remember. Sometimes it’s in the file cabinet in our mind without even being super conscious of it, and locked away with a key.
What does this have to do with eating?
Well just like any behavior, many ways we’re influenced appear to start really early in our lives, as we experience the world.
We absorb what’s appearing around us, often without question.
It just becomes “this is the way it is.”
I certainly had this when it came to food and eating, and body image. Thoughts and beliefs appeared in my consciousness that I heard, observed, picked up from those around me: mom, dad, grandparents, peers.
So what did your mother, your father, or other important adults believed about food, body image or eating when you were a kid?
What was your dinner time like? What was happening at the dinner eating event? Who was talking, who was eating, who was cooking? What were people feeling?
Remember well, and notice the beliefs, the ideas, the concepts present around food and the emotional life of your experience in that moment.
Sometimes the awareness of what happened around eating in your earliest memories brings unexpected clarity.
Why do this exercise?
Because when we identify the thinking, the mindset, the characters, the feelings that were pouring out around that typical eating event….we can then inquire more deeply into what’s really true for us now.
We can actually change the foundation we’ve built some of our behaviors on, by turning the way we’re seeing around.
It’s such a huge relief.
And it’s important work. You have to know what you think in order to dissolve it, right?
Try this exercise this week. Take a look at what you came to know, or be aware of in your early life with eating.
The most important place to begin?
You were nurtured by your mother’s body from the very start, in the simple process of becoming human.
When we identify our thoughts about beliefs about mothering, our unique experiences of mother, we can begin our self-inquiry.
Self-inquiry leads to freedom, in every way.
“I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.” ~ Byron Katie
I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I ate, I fretted, I over-exercised, I under and over-ate, I binged, I dieted, I hated my looks.
So let’s see what these suffering-inducing thoughts are.