17 Apr Losing Emotional Weight – Part 2
What is the point of all this talk about food, weight, physical health, mental health and self-image? The more apt question is: what do you want to get out of your experiences in life???
As we all know, the time will come when we take our last breath. Until then, what are you willing to do to get the most out of your life? It is sadly common for us to accept struggle, drama, fatigue, low esteem, over-compensating, moodiness or sadness to be a consistent part of our lives. We falsely believe that this is as good as it gets. We falsely believe that we cannot address these issues and resolve them once and for all. We falsely believe that we should put our heads down and get on with it – nobody likes a crybaby after all. Wrong. Wrong! WRONG!!!
Worse yet, rather than addressing these issues, we push away feelings or drown them out with food, work, drugs, alcohol, sex, emptiness, fear, anger and much more. The premise behind emotional eating is that we eat because we are feeling – consciously or subconsciously. A diet does NOT address underlying feelings of self-worth. There are many people who lost physical weight but retained the emotional weight of low esteem or cheap and empty validation. What is the point in putting out fires if we don’t ever deal with the fire starter?
This is YOUR life. These moments are your moments. You get to choose how you live your life regardless of the circumstances you are given. The EMOTIONAL WEIGHT we carry consists of those beliefs about ourselves, others and/or the world that complicate our life and only guarantee hardship. A great exercise is to look back at our youth and think about the “lessons” we learned from experiences and people. In fact, make a list of the messages you received as a youth about yourself, your family and people around you. Then take a long and hard look at that list and decide which of these “lessons” were meant to be LIFE LESSONS (LLs) and which were meant to be CIRMCUMSTANTIAL LESSONS (CLs).
LLs are lessons that came out of a situation or interaction and are truly meant to be applied to life. Being kind to people or truly love yourself, for example, are life lessons. If you were put down by some people, you may have concluded that you have little value (i.e. too fat, big, dark, lazy, skinny, etc.) or that others cannot be trusted. These are definite CLs, because those situations were meant to tell you something about those specific people at the time as opposed to all people on this planet or even you. I grew up with lots of racial abuse in my life. If I thought those were life lessons, I would have to not only believe that I am ugly, stupid, dirty and worthless, but also that all people are racist. Instead, I learned something about those particular people at that time, NOT all people in my life at the time and certainly not all people in my life since. More importantly, I was not meant to learn something about myself from those interactions back then. They could have easily inspired me to feel poorly about myself, but those people were not telling me anything about me, but everything about themselves.
We carry messages with us about ourselves and the world that can weigh us down. I see it every day in my office and all around me. There is a message that has determined how we feel about ourselves, how we interpret others’ behaviour toward us, why we are so hard on ourselves or simply give up so easily. Be very mindful of the source of that message as well as its truth. Take the time to investigate what you have “learned” and how accurate that “lesson” really is about you or people around you. It may be tough to face some of this. It may be challenging to figure out where to begin. KNOW that you are truly worth it. KNOW that there is an ultimate truth out there that fits for you and that recognizes that your value has never been in dispute, despite and because of what you may have been going through. As time is limited in this life, I can only humbly encourage you to adopt a sense of urgency to clear your heart in order to be truly FREE and to LIFE FULLY.
If you have any questions or comments, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need help, please reach out. Your happiness depends on it.
Until next time, be kind to yourself and others.
Geoff Ayi-Bonte MA RCC
Registered Clinical Counsellor