This morning I had the great privelege of listening to a lecture by a Buddhist Monk. Originally from Southern California, he was not exactly what I expected! I was a little disappointed to have an tall, fit, white American teaching us about Buddhism, I admit. But, as he shared his story with us, I began to appreciate him very much.
One of the things he spoke of was "acceptance" of the way things are. This has been something I've thought about a lot lately in relation to my health and I hope something I can share with others articulately.
There are things in life over which we have no control. These things must be accepted as they are. We must move away from the "why me" of our situation and realize that we are not in control. God, Allah, Mother Earth, the Universe, or whatever Greater Power you choose or reject (I like to use Yoda in my examples), if you are a believer, has control. If you are atheist or agnostic, then things are just what they are sometimes! Whatever the case may be, we cannot allow ourselves to continue to feel victimized by these outside forces. People get sick, die, or are mean. Accidents and disasters happen. That's not going to change.
What we must focus on, then, is the things we can control such as "food in" and "calories burned" when we are unhappy (as I am) with the shape of our bodies. We cannot continue to tell ourselves that we are fat because of circumstances outside of ourselves.
Many of us - myself included - have had extremely traumatic experiences in childhood. We were children at that time and not in control of our circumstances. We were small, vulnerable people who did the best we could with the limited resources we had. Often, we need to be "taken care of" and weren't. One of the basic ways that little children are taken care of by their parents is through feeding time. This comforts the child and leaves them feeling taken care of.
As adults, new circumstances may trigger these feelings that we need to be taken care of and comforted. Maybe we are in an abusive relationship, a job that we don't like, or a boss that doesn't like us, or some other blogger hurt our feelings. We are stressed and we need comfort. To "take care" of ourselves, we turn to food - the old standby. Only once we realize that we are using food to medicate or avoid these feelings, can we hope to overcome the compulsion to feed ourselves when we are not hungry. And that is just the very first step of our journey. There's a lot of work to be done there, lots of mental scars. Whether or not we get professional counseling, there's almost always "stuff" to work through before healing can begin.
Now! Now we are adults. Powerful men and women who can change the world around us. We are blogging to help ourselves and to help others. Once we accept that we cannot change the past, we can work on our present selves and make a better future. Once we accept that we cannot change others, only ourselves, we will stop hurting as much when people make hurtful comments. Once we realize the power within each of us, we can each become the best "me" possible. Once we accept others for who they are, we can adore the beautiful parts and reject the harmful parts. Although we will still have time that we feel vulnerable and childlike, we can find other ways to comfort ourselves, deal with the feelings and move on. This is what I hope for all of you.