I used to binge eat. And then some. I’ve spoken about it before but I don’t know if I’ve really talked about why.
I’d come home from my no-more-than-typically stressed day, and all I could think about was getting rid of the anxiety I felt. So I ate. The more I ate, the deeper I could push the anxiety down. And like a volcano that begins in the depths of the earth, the more power it had when it came back up again.
And so I ate. It made me feel (almost) happy, until the gorging stopped and I realised I’d done it again. But because of the almost happy, because of the escape and the release, I just kept going back to it when times got tough.
Back then, times seemed tough every day.
And I didn’t understand why I wasn’t happy, why what I had wasn’t enough. The job title, the husband, the savings account. Finally being accepted as ‘cool’ or good enough. Baby and house plans on their way.
All I could think was ‘surely this can’t be it? Am I really going to be living surrounded by a white-picket fence driving kids to soccor and living a perfect little life?’
It freaked the heck out of me, and so I ate.
how do you escape?
You’ve got the ‘job’, haven’t you? The important responsibilities that should therefore make you happy?
Maybe you’ve even got the white-picket fence.
Us, all of us reading this blog really are living the dream. Millions of people world-wide would give anything to have the troubles we do.
But somehow, it’s still not enough, is it? Somehow, when the longed-for promotion, the saved-for investment or the awaited-holiday doesn’t renew you as you thought it would, you still need to escape.
So maybe you eat too. Maybe when things really bubble up, you stuff piece after piece of sweet rubbish into yourself to fill the void.
Or maybe you don’t eat, and ‘fun’ nights out are your escape. You’re great at entertaining your mates and having a ball. Facebook is proof of your happy and interesting life.
Perhaps you literally escape, you pack and leave.
But it’s still not enough.
learning to love yourself
I’ve met a new friend online, via my favourite blog. Kamal is a tech entrepreneur in San Francisco, amongst other things. He had it all, and then some.
But because it all is not enough, not for any of us, he broke. And not in a ‘better go out and drink your worries away’ way, but in a complete and utter meltdown sort of way of breaking.
He didn’t work. He didn’t go see his friends – stood them up even. He didn’t even get out of bed. He was so sick of racing to get it all, getting it, and then being forced to admit that the huge gaping needy void was still there.
I think, he is so lucky. To reach such depths of despair that he forced himself to find a way out.
His way out? He started to love himself like his life depended on it. He gave up the self-help books, the change your life thinking, and the ‘need’ to reach the next shiny thing and he just quietly, slowly and consistently started to love himself. To tell himself so.
Even though he didn’t believe it. And, he wrote a book about it. Which is how we met; I read the book, left a comment, and he wrote to me.
Just sit quietly for a moment with the question. Close your eyes and really think about it.
What would a person in your shoes do if they really loved themselves? I’m talking the kind of love a parent has for their child, the kind of fierce intensity that will drive them to do anything to ensure their child’s wellness and happiness.
Even if it means giving up everything they have.
i’m still learning too
I didn’t know that happiness began with getting the inside stuff right. With facing the truth about what I wanted from my life, no matter how crazy it might have sounded.
So I ate. And in between eating, and working, and going out and showing how cool and happy I was by having massive drinking nights with my buddies, I started searching.
I read all the self-help books from my Dad’s shelves, all the Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy and Zig Ziglar, and I loved it. I bought my own books, ‘Change Your Thinking’, ‘Authentic Happiness’, ‘How To Change Your Life in 30 Days’. I’d sit and have coffee and read and journal and dream, but I just couldn’t figure out how to get from where I was to ‘there’.
And so I’d close my book and go home and I’d eat, and my deep down worries that maybe I wasn’t so special after all would drift away.
When my (first) marriage ended, my husband wondered how he hadn’t seen it coming just by looking properly at my bookshelf.
I wondered too.
In the end I did give up everything I had and start afresh. Everything, even my toaster.
And I built my life anew, a much happier and more fulfilling one. I’ve ticked off many challenges, said no to a bunch of ‘you gotta dos’, and I’m enjoying my ongoing development. Safe to say, I love my life, most of the time.
But when I read Kamal’s book and I looked in the mirror and tried to – without blinking – say ‘I love myself’, I cried.
And I could just do it anyway without looking away, but at the same time I could hear the little voice telling me –
As if. You don’t love yourself. Not truly. You’re not worthy of love.
You have unpaid debts, a messy house, photos that haven’t been printed in years. Things to put on ebay, and projects to finish.
You haven’t even cleared out your inbox.
Who are you to love yourself?
The voice will tell you that if you just do this one more thing, then it will all be okay. And because you’re human and you like to believe there’s an answer, you listen. And you strive to do the one more thing, all the while worrying about the other things you haven’t yet achieved.
You don’t stop to think about whether the things you’re working your life away for reflect self-love or just quiet desperation. And the need to keep enough, to be enough.
Think about the stuff that consumes your head and your life. Think about the fact that you have one – ONE – life to live, and that it is slipping through your fingers as we speak. There goes another second of your life, DEAD. Gone, forever.
Did you love it? Did you love yourself during in it?
And how would the next year of your life change if you were madly, truly, deeply, passionately in love with yourself?
The direction of my life has changed in the past 8 or 9 days since reading this book. Woman Incredible as you know it will be coming to an end. The real me, the one I’ve been hiding without knowing it, thinking won’t be good enough, is coming out to play.
I thought I was healed because I quit bulimia years ago. I thought my happy, healthy, successful life was enough. And I didn’t understand why it didn’t feel like enough, why I felt as though I was still having to impress people or do things a certain way even with working for myself.
Starting to love myself is helping me to find myself. I hope it can do the same for you.
Get the book. It’s 99 cents. It will change your life.
Life is Now. Press Play.