Oh, by the way, this sudden ability to post again is in thanks to the Blogger app. When feeding the baby, I multitask. So nice!
Anyways, watching the latest episode of Oprah's LifeClass really opened the floodgates for me, as usual. I noted something I'd actually heard said before, by Iyanla Vanzant, but this time I decided to examine it further. The premise is this: all of our actions, repeated behaviors and habits serve us in one way or another -- even the "bad" habits -- although we may think and feel that's not true, especially about those negative ones. No, I'm not saying that dwelling on the past or not forgiving yourself for something is actually healthy, but rather it is somehow reinforcing another core belief or allowing you to continue acting in a certain way, even while that, too, may be negative. Your action is serving a purpose, whether you recognize it right away or not.
So, of course, I see that both my food and money "issues" must be serving me in some way. It's hard to identify your motives sometimes, especially when you've been engaging in a series of behaviors for a significant period of time, whether it's weeks, months or years. It really took some thought for me to get to the bottom of both, but the more I think about it the more I believe I'll be able to stop myself from acting in ways that don't BENEFIT me, even if they've been "serving" me up until this point.
When it comes to food, I think there are lots of ways that my behavior serves me without necessarily benefiting me. For one, I keep getting to write posts about my daily struggles! But on a deeper level, I think I use it as an excuse to not accept myself as I am. Yes, health is a part of it and maybe that part of me wishes I had more help feeding my family, a similar point I'll bring up when discussing money, but when it comes to looks and body image you can't accept yourself as is if you're constantly trying to change it through diet and exercise. Those things SHOULD be about health, not physical appearance. If I accept the occasional cookie or ice cream cone without feeling guilty for eating it, that's saying that me and my body are okay as is. And as much as my quest to eat healthier HAS become more about health than dress size, I'd be lying If I said I like how I look in a bikini (regardless of how many children I have and when). That's a lack of acceptance right there. That's my guilt serving to keep me suffering and fighting against peace and my true self because I think I know better. I don't think I'm perfect just as I am, as God made me right here and now.
In terms of the fact that not eating more cleanly (and you know I already eat pretty clean, I'm just extra hard on myself) is also potentially affecting my health, not just my appearance, it's hard to see how I could want to self sabotage in that way. But I think in part it has to do with feeling like I deserve pleasure. And yes, healthy food can be delicious and pleasurable in and of itself, so we'll address that next. But feeling like you "deserve" a donut or a candy bar is really trying to feed another area in your life that is lacking. I can identify areas in my life that I may try to feed with physically sweet stuff, but it would be up to you to identify how this applies to your life. And in terms of admitting that healthy food IS delicious, I think I often keep myself in this trap of "I don't have enough time, help or money" to buy and prepare only the best-quality, healthiest foods. Poor me. Pity me. I'm the martyr and the victim. THIS serves you by keeping you stuck in a position where you're not grateful for what you DO have, again, accepting your life as it is, being thankful for it, saying it's good enough...and that good enough is good enough. It's great, as a matter of fact. Amazing. NOT accepting things as they are again just serves to keep you always wanting more more more.
So you can easily see how this relates to money, too. If I overspend, it's easy for me to blame my husband for not pulling his weight instead of taking responsibility for my actions. How does blaming him serve me? Well, not only does it take the onus off of me, but it also continues to drive a wedge in between us. And if you have any other area in your life where you're stubborn about finding a resolution to an issue or dispute, you'll look for any and every other way to continue proving yourself right, even if subconsciously to your own detriment. It can seem easier to do things that way than address the root cause of the problem. This is how it serves me, by keeping the other issues tightly locked away.
Is this making sense to you? It may not if nothing in your life has taken a similar turn (lucky you). But for me the question now is, Okay, now that I know why I act the way I act, how do I change it? How quickly can I work on these other issues? How often will I be able to stop acting in these ways that serve but do not benefit me? Will I be able to stop, think, pause and reflect before taking another misstep? Not always, of course, but practice makes perfect. Getting quiet every day will help to silence the chatter. So many valid truths are within, there is no need to keep telling yourself any of these other stories that keep you stuck and stagnant.