Many years into my marriage and parenting I found myself at an unhappy point in my life. The feeling was a feeling of loss, like I had somehow lost myself. At first my thought was to blame my spouse and kids. I had lost myself because of them. What I have since learned is that I can thank them. I was on the road to losing myself before they came along, but our closest family/relationships have a way of opening our eyes to the things we have been denying/resisting. Over the years, through various ways, I have gotten myself back on track. I lost 35 pounds, I am focusing on my growth, and I am on the road to no longer fearing life, relationships or my true self.
There are various ways people deal with their unresolved feelings/emotions. Mine ended up manifesting in my eating. We sometimes refer to these coping mechanisms as cravings or addictions. We crave food, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling, etc. The list goes on and on; any way we can use to not deal with our true emotions. Why? We never learned the correct way to handle the feelings we were having. The people in our lives did not model this for us. What they were modeling for us was that if you have a stressful day at work, come home and have a case of beer. If you are upset, eat some cookies or cake. If you are feeling lonely and scared, have a cigarette. This became our pattern for how to handle these particular emotions and feelings. It’s not usually until we get older that we realize we were robbed, robbed of an opportunity to become authentic.
We think we are craving the ‘substitution’ we have brought into our lives; the substitution of the drug, alcohol, food, etc. What we are really craving is the opportunity to become whole again, to become authentic. Every time we give in to our ‘substitution’ craving we are sabotaging that opportunity. Over and over we are given the opportunity to make it right, every time we have a craving, and over and over we sabotage that opportunity. We can blame it on our parents or our spouse or our kids, but we can never escape from the true saboteur, ourselves.
When we have a craving, instead of running to the substitution craving, we need to sit with the true craving. We need to sit with the emotion or feeling that is expressing itself. Sit and be quiet with it. We need to welcome it as an old friend that is coming to visit. Ask it why it has come and what it needs. Most of the time all it needs is to be seen and felt, and not pushed away and ignored. This is such an awesome opportunity. At first it can feel scary or weird. That’s OK. We are changing a very strong history of patterns. What we soon find is that the old substitute craving goes away. It is no longer necessary or needed. Most of the time this substitute craving is not only sabotaging our opportunity to be whole and authentic, it is sabotaging our life in some way. Whether it be our health, finances or relationships, it is adding chaos to our already weakened state of being. So, the next time you have a substitute craving, will you look outside to try to satisfy it or will you sit and look inside to heal and release, and set yourself free from the sabotage you are creating in your life?