I know I used to have it. I also know when I lost it.
It happened just about the time when I became a mother. I lost my edge and gaind a lot of weight instead. No longer was I the tough girl that dared to speak my mind. Instead I became…comfortable. Soft. Suddenly every other persons opinion mattered most.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s really ok to soften up a little when entering parenthood. Being humble about it is also good. But I did more than that. I got the disease to please and I got it bad. It was so important to me not to be judged, or not to be judged as good enough.
Maybe it was in me all along. Maybe the disease to please just reared its ugly head because now I really had much to loose. Or maybe I had much to lose all along but didn’t realise it before I entered motherhood.
Anyway. I lost it. I lost my edge and became an easy target for anyone who’d try to make me feel not good enough. Because it had become really important to be good enough now.
I became pleasent. A pushover, one might say. I didn’t really realise it either, because I felt fine, didn’t I? Except for one thing. I turned to food every night. Just like my baby calmed down while I breastfed him, I calmed down and felt peace during my evening meal. The “me-time” I had each night after the kids were asleep.
I became a food addict. And soon it began to show as my weight exploded and more than doubled.
It has been a long journy from where I was then. And to really deal with this issue, I had to understand why I did it. After all I wasn’t that hungry. Surely I developed an physical craving for sugar also, but other than that I needed to understand that what I was doing worked for me at some level.
I’m still overweight. I’ve developed a few other coping mechanisms over the years, but recently I’ve tried to change one of the main reason why I turned to food every night. The food worked because it was “me-time”. It was a way of dealing with every emotion possible and it had a very numbing effect. So I had to investigate what feelings I was trying not to feel.
Frustration was a big one. I didn’t even know it, because I ate the feeling away on auto pilot, it seemed. I could get a feeling of emotional discomfort and instantly begin to plan what I would be eating that night. Slowly I allowed myself to feel the feelings right there and then. And sometimes acting on it. Instead of delaying the emotions and then eat it up with food late at night.
But this also lead to a change in how I related and interacted with other people. I’m sure I was much more pleasant to be around when I never got angry, upset or said no. And being that way attracted a lot of people that liked that in a friend into my life. Needless to say, not everyone was thrilled to meet the “new” me. Some wasn’t really a good match with the real me in the first place, I discovered.
That process was one of the toughest I’ve ever been through in my life. I’d done everything to avoid being rejected in the past. Fearing that if people found out how I really was, they’d reject me. And some did. Mostly after letting me know what a terrible disappointment I’d been. It was really painful. One of my greatest fear came true. But there was no turning back. I know, because I tried. I became soft, withdrawn and “pleasent” again. And I ate more than ever. That is, until I had the lightbulb moment that made me understand what had happened.
I had done one of the things that scared me the most. And what I feared would happend, did happen. But I survived. It wasn’t the end of the world at all. In fact, the experience had several positive outcomes as well.
You see. Not everyone rejected me.
As a direct result of daring to be more sincere, more clear, more present and more…me, I discovered that I also knew people that really wished me well. People that seemed to like the strength in me also. And more important, I liked myself a lot better.
Being more authentic I also attracted more people like that into my life also. Friends who can both respect and appreciate me even if I tell them “no”. Friends who encourages and are happy for me as I succeed in my life.
And as a side effect, I don’t have the need to eat away feelings of frustration that much.
I bet I’m much less pleasent to be around, but hopefully I’m becoming much more authentic and fun.
Now that I’m getting my edge back.