“Thin”, “Pretty”, “Nice”. According to Brene Brown these are the 3 adjectives that top the list when research participants are asked to describe what makes for a feminine woman. As a young overweight child I was pretty convinced that I couldn’t ever attain the attribute of ‘thin’, and as I watched Charlie’s Angels and played with my huge collection of not-at-all-diverse Barbie’s I decided that I didn’t belong to the ranks of the ‘pretty’ and so what that left for me was ‘nice’.
I worked really really really hard at getting the ‘nice’ vote. This translated to years of people pleasing and approval seeking. Humor, kindness, compliance, ‘good girl’ accolades, achievement, anything to gather the evidence I needed to believe that I was a girl worthy of love and belonging. For many years this served me well…until it didn’t.
The incredibly risky thing about people pleasing is that when we place our emphasis on getting it right in the eyes of others we often abandon our commitment to getting it right for ourselves. This can take us way off track until one day we wake up and simply don’t recognize ourselves within our own lives. We are going through the motions but are replete with emptiness. We wind up living a fragmented version of our life where the pieces belong to those whom we so badly fear rejection from.
Our true Self longs to be out in the world and when it is suppressed or shamed away it can create an incredible sense of longing in us. As we move through life we collect untrue messages, expectations, and impressions that some parts of us simply aren’t welcome; that somehow we just aren’t enough as we are; that when it came to our creation God got a few details wrong. This sets us on that dangerous quest for something outside of ourselves. We use food (or drugs, or alcohol, or sex, or power, or money, or obsession, or or or…) to numb the pain of being separated from OURSELVES…and essentially from our connection to the Divine that dwells within us.
Each of us are on this planet with a job to do. There is a beautiful , talented, vibrant being in each one of us that has something to say, something to offer the world through the very virtue of our ‘be’ing. The energy that is put in to the quest of thin, pretty, nice becomes a gigantic diversion. In our search for happiness, love and belonging we wind up chasing the wrong carrot and we lose sight of that which we are truly hungry for.
Learning to walk the Deeper Cravings Path was about so much more for me than giving up emotional eating and my obsession with weight loss, it was about committing to feed my true hunger and return to my most authentic Self, over and over and over again.
There is a conversation in our culture gaining momentum, we are starting to speak the truth that our value cannot be measured by a number on the scale and that food and body issues are not simply solved through the physical means of a diet because they are not a physical problem. What we see on the surface is a physical manifestation of a deeper longing.
As you deepen your understanding of this new paradigm I hope you come to know, as I have, that when we feed our spiritual and emotional hungers we can’t help but see it reflected in the health of our body, our relationship with food… and most importantly, in the courageous birthing forward of our authentic Self.
Join the conversation. In honor of Healthy Weight Week 2014 fitwoman.com published its list of top 35 healthy weight blogs (which included Deeper Cravings) and last month The Institute for the Psychology of Eating awarded Deeper Cravings a spot in their list of top emotional eating websites of 2013. Both lists contain a wealth of resources that support this truth that our worth cannot be created nor diminished through the size of our body.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/paloetic/5127436222/”>paloetic</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>.
Congratulations Peggy on being recognized for the light that you are! This is so beautifully written. A couple of lines really spoke to me:
Our true Self longs to be out in the world and when it is suppressed or shamed away it can create an incredible sense of longing in us.
The energy that is put in to the quest of thin, pretty, nice becomes a gigantic diversion.
So true! I wish you and your family a healthy, happy 2014. I hope our paths will cross in person someday.