Presence, not shame, changes how you see yourself and what you rely on. When you stop struggling, stop suffering, stop pushing and pulling yourself around food and your body, when you stop manipulating and controlling, when you actually relax and listen to the truth of what is there, something bigger than your fear will catch you. With repeated experiences of opening and ease, you learn to trust something infinitely more powerful than a set of rules that someone else made up: your own being.
When you believe without knowing you believe that you are damaged at your core, you also believe that you need to hide that damage for anyone to love you. You walk around ashamed of being yourself. You try hard to make up for the way you look, walk, feel. Decisions are agonizing because if you the person who makes the decision, is damaged, then how can you trust what you decide? You doubt your own impulses so you become masterful at looking outside yourself for comfort. You become an expert at finding experts and programs, at striving and trying hard and then harder to change yourself, but this process only reaffirms what you already believe about yourself – that your needs and choices cannot be trusted, and left to your own devices you are out of control.
Diets are the outpicturing of your belief that you have to atone for being yourself to be worthy of existing. They are not the source of this belief, they are only one expression of it. Until the belief is understood and questioned, no amount of weight loss will touch the part of you that is convinced it is damaged. A lifetime of suffering with food will fit right in with the definition you’ve formed about being alive. It will make sense to you that hatred leads to love and that torture leads to peace because you will be operating on the conviction that you must starve or deprive or punish the badness out of you.
You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself. The Sufi Poet Rumi, writing about birds learning to fly, wrote : ” How do they learn it ? They fall, and falling, they’re given wings.”
If you wait to respect yourself until you are at the weight you imagine you need to be to respect yourself, you will never respect yourself, because the message you will be giving yourself as you reach your goal is that you are damaged and cannot trust your impulses, your longings, your dreams, your essence at any weight.
Roth, Geneen. “Reteaching Loveliness.” Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. New York: Scribner, 2010. 84+.