There's a song by Tony Jones, Healing is not my purpose. The song really hit me. There are those of us who are very achievement-oriented and who tend to get really focused on personal growth and development. This was definitely true for me. If you hyper-focus on growth and achievement, it's likely because you don't feel good enough. Then, when you're feeling dissatisfied, unhappy, frustrated, it seems like there must be something wrong that you need to control, manage, fix, change, and you hyper-focus on healing. I think that's part of why people go on so many diets or get so focused on their relationship with food and beat themselves up over and over and over. Even if you don't end up dieting, and are in the fuck it mode, you likely get hyper-focused on it because you're trying to feel better or different and change something. What I find is that people tend to take it on almost as their whole identity.
A line in Tony Jones’ song says “My purpose is to satisfy my soul.” I had a client say “my soul doesn't even ask for that much.” I cried when I heard her say that. Your life can be so rich, nuanced, complex, and full. Yet, you're so focused on something being wrong with you that you think you need change, you need to fix it, you need to control or manage it. And my client saying that really hit home, you focus on all these other things constantly looking at what is wrong with you, rather than giving your soul what it needs to be satisfied.
Yet, here I am talking about healing your relationship with food in your body. I had to really sit back and reflect, is it right to continue to promote healing, when you're really meant to have this life that is satisfying your soul? The answer I came to was YES. So many people I know have their relationship with food and body taking up so much mental and emotional energy. You're spending too much time beating yourself up thinking that you're not doing it right. Feeling dissatisfied with that relationship.
You're in your body all the time. You need to eat food multiple times a day, every day for your whole life. These two relationships (food and body) impact us in ways that others don't, these are deeply intimate relationships that, of course, you're very focused on because it's something that you're having to face multiple times a day, every day/all day. Unhealed wounds in those relationships activate negative self-talk and shame wiring.
Once you've done some healing around, it can look like nurturance, support, and a sense of being at home. Having safety and security in these relationships actually allows you to take more risks, do more fun things that you want to do, feel strong, supported, and empowered. Healing your relationship with food and your body helps you to come to a place of honoring yourself fully so that you can really start to live a life that is more focused on satisfying your soul and feeling enriched, joyful, and happy.
I'm asking you to focus a lot more time on healing (for a relatively short time compared with how long you have struggled). But remember that's not the end goal. You don't heal because there's something wrong with you, you heal because you deserve to be free to do what satisfies your soul.
If you've been doing this work for quite a while, take some time to zoom out. Are you beginning to satisfy your soul? Did you switch from focusing on diets to focusing on getting this relationship just right, rather than coming to a place of having done a lot of healing and growth around it and then moving through the world, integrating what you've learned, and zooming out, really honoring your full self? It’s time to go after what you really want in life, what your soul needs to truly be satisfied. You deserve it.
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The first step to healing your relationship with food is reconnecting with the signals your body gives you. One of the ways to do that is by checking in with your hunger before you eat. Here's my spin on the traditional hunger scale..