I was walking home last night, thinking of some people in my life who are going through a hard time at the moment.
It was overwhelming to think of their suffering and so I distracted myself. I started listening to a podcast, recorded a voice message for a friend and put on an audio book before I realised what I was doing…pushing my emotions down through any way I possibly could. Distracting myself from the discomfort of sadness, the guilt that they were suffering when I was ok, a feeling of helpless in the face of their troubles.
But this time I caught myself in the action, I recognised the slippery slope of burying my feelings which leads, in my experience, to a cycle of comfort eating.
And instead of continuing to distract myself, I made myself feel what was going on.
I allowed myself to embraced the sadness, feel the hopelessness, acknowledge that it’s hard to see loved ones suffer. And then I breathed deeply and I let the feelings pass through me.
It seems crazy that all it takes is an acknowledgement of feelings and deep breathing to let go, when for years I buried my feelings with food. But when I dig a bit deeper, I can see that it’s so much more than that.
It’s about acknowledging that my feelings matter. Knowing that my sadness is valid.
And then by breathing deeply and being present in the moment, I’m able to see that I am not my emotions. I am not sadness, I am not hopelessness, I am not stress.
These things are what I feel but they are not who I am. And in seeing this, I’m able to let go of the emotions and avoid the behaviour – the comfort eating – which was so destructive to me in the past.
I am truly free.