It is sobering to read in Marion Woodman’s The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter that body-food issues, disordered eating and other addictions are actually a search for love.
Lack of self-esteem is a legacy we inherit that needs us to do some inner work.
As adults, we need to provide ourselves what we may not have received early on. If we don’t, disordered eating may kick in.
The beauty of coming to consciousness as adults is that we have choice. Though it may not always seem that way, over time, that choice muscle gets stronger.
Even those who tell you they had a loving family experience still have episodes with people in school and elsewhere – life experiences – that take a little chunk out of us emotionally.
So what does it take to fill yourself up with what you may not have had?
When I first became more conscious about what drove me to eat, starve and binge, I remember my mentor telling me that my job from now on was to re-parent myself.
More specifically, she meant for me to be a good mother to myself.
I was to begin treating myself as I would a dear and precious child or beloved pet.
Teaching me to choose loving ways, my mentor urged me to be encouraging toward myself – kind, compassionate and consistent. It was now up to me to have my own back and re-invent myself.
So what do you do specifically?
- Celebrate – especially the small stuff. When I first came to this new city, at a new job and during pre-divorce, my head wasn’t on right, reeling from trauma. I was anxious driving and scraped my car several times. So every time I reached a destination I would say out loud, “Good girl. You did great.” And I would smile into my rear-view mirror. Isn’t that what a loving mother would do? Over time, my ability to think clearly returned. In the meantime, I was being loving, not punishing.
- Make a list of qualities that people love and appreciate about you. This list is not about what you do, but who you are in your heart of hearts. Imagine your best peeps in front of you telling you what they know to be true, and start writing. Write it in the first person. I challenge you to aim for 30 items on your list.
- I am witty.
- I am playful.
- I am curious.
- I am _______.
- Be your best champion and cheerleader. This means that you don’t beat up on yourself for what doesn’t go well. You keep working at getting better since you are always doing your best, and you stay patiently determined and devoted to your own healing for the long run.
The good mother that you develop within becomes your inner guide and mentor.
It doesn’t matter if you have introjected the voice of negative parents or caregivers, unconsciously adopting their ideas or attitudes that have you under a spell.
You now take charge of your life and become responsible for your re-parenting, self-appreciation and self-encouragement – and this empowers you.
Waiting for others to do that will not fill the missing love gap. It may help momentarily but not forever. You need to know that you matter, that you are precious and that you are worth it. Treating yourself well will make a new imprint on your psyche that says you mean business.
As you continue to offer yourself kind, compassionate and loving encouragement, you will gain a sense of your wholeness and capability.
If giving yourself the love that is missing seems a difficult task, contact me for a complimentary Clarity Session. The sooner you work in harmony with your core values and your heart, the sooner your body-food behaviours and disordered eating will take a back seat.
You will walk through your life with a whole new feeling, and have less reason to head for those body-food behaviours that may have come alive in the absence of love.
Over to You
Take time to answer these questions and write. Other people with disordered eating could use your help. Connecting with others makes us feel less alone.
What’s your usual tone when you speak to yourself? Is it kind and gentle or angry and punitive? How can you encourage a good mother inner voice when you are frustrated with yourself?
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© Miriam Linderman 2014