|Lark, on her first birthday, after thoroughly enjoying lemon cake!|
When I'm at the fridge, gazing into the depths for the 15th time in the last 20 minutes, and STILL finding nothing to soothe my panic, it's really good for me to ask myself TWO things. I am sure you've all heard these before, but reminders are helpful:
-Am I actually hungry?
Yes? Okay, what texture, flavor, or experience am I actually hungry for?
No? Okay, then...
-What am I ACTUALLY hungry for? *sigh* This one always makes me cry. Usually, when I am aimlessly hungry and trying to fill a void, there is one HUGE MAIN thing that I'm hungry for, and that is some sweet, vulnerable, self approval. It literally fixes everything for me if I take a huge breath and take a space and time to say, "You are doing an awesome job. You are doing the best you can. You are a kind, loving, giving woman, and many people love you. "
If I'm not reasonable at all, and I'm in the red zone, panicking because I had strong emotional reactions, I might have to start at a place like, "Even though you're in the very middle of eating this, I am happy that you are so in touch with your emotions, Michelle. It's really good that you are soothing yourself because you love yourself". This helped me last night, when I was in the middle of a handful of salty peanuts. I just told myself that I was grateful that I was eating those peanuts, and they were really damn good, and you know what? My breathing slowed down, and I laughed a little bit, and didn't need to eat any more peanuts. I still gave myself the love and approval that I needed, and I was suddenly okay.
It's crazy, because a lot of us make this into a job for someone else...maybe our spouse, or our best friend, or the people we work with. We need them to notice us and approve of us BEFORE we can "approve" of ourselves.
Trust me, there is TONS more power in the question of "Do I approve of what I'm doing? Does this make me, myself happy?" than there is in blindly stumbling around trying to get others to approve of you.
And, as with the many ironies in life, I have found that when I truly, deeply, lovingly approve of myself, then all that static.....that worry, that self-talk and never-shutting-up-loud-brain-chatter.....it just falls away. It's enough to love and approve of myself. I don't need the food. I don't need the love "out there". It was in me all along!!