An individual who feels is a powerful individual. Our feelings bring us wisdom and moving through them enables us to grow. Feeling our feelings is really just another way of being present in our bodies, just as overeating is another way of NOT being present in our bodies.
When we eat, we can eat for one of two reasons: we are hungry and need to fuel our bodies, or we are using food to respond to a feeling in our bodies that we ultimately don’t want to feel. In the first instance we are in control of our feelings; we recognize the feeling, and we give ourselves permission to have it and to feel it — it is okay, just as WE are okay. In the second, we are trying to control our feelings, and our feelings end up running the show and controlling us! Big difference.
The person who eats because she is hungry is present in her body. She is able to separate her emotions from food – this makes her more present to feel her feelings, AND more present to enjoy her meal and know when she is full. She’s in control. On the other hand, the person who eats to numb the feelings is trying to control the feelings by, well, not feeling them! If only it were that easy. Unfortunately when we eat to numb out, the feelings don’t go away AND we can add shame and self disgust/discomfort to the mix! Given the choice, I’ll take the feelings please!
When we make the choice to feel our feelings instead of using food to numb out, we get our power back! We are empowered to give ourselves what we need, and thus respond to the feelings in a healthy way. As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t have to figure out the feeling, analyze it, and try to dissect it right when we’re in the thick of it – we just need to let it be, accept it, and let it pass. Responding in a healthy way means being extra kind to yourself. Have a bath, curl up in your favourite chair and breathe, or journal. Treat yourself with a lot of extra love and attention, like you would a sick child or friend. Be gentle. Be your own best friend. And I warn you, this may feel strange at first, but treating yourself THAT good will soon start to feel waaaay better than that cookie or ice cream ever could! As the good folks at Sainsbury’s say, “Be good to yourself!”