Dieting, over-exercising, workaholism, perfectionism, and constant busyness…These are very common ways to avoid what we are feeling.
Before I created The Fuck It Diet, I spent years trying to eat ‘intuitively’ by obsessing over my hunger scale and making sure I did not use food as comfort.
Food, TV, alcohol, exercise, rest, intimacy, and sex, are all perfectly acceptable, natural ways that we humans get comfort.
The activities themselves are not the problem: The problem comes when we don’t want to feel what’s going on beneath the surface. The problem comes when the unpredictable nature of being human becomes something we are unwilling to feel. When we refuse to accept and ride that ever-changing, sometimes volatile nature of being human.
We want everything to be controlled. We want everything to be emotionless. We are so afraid of our emotions.
And believe me, most humans do this. We want to avoid feeling at all costs.
We want to stuff it down, pretend everything is fine, and just not go there.
We somehow fear that if we allow ourselves to feel what we are feeling, that it might take us over. That it might totally destroy us.
So, if you are resistant to your emotions, you’re not alone. If you have a nervous avoidance of down-time and stillness, you’re not alone. But avoiding what we are feeling is one of the worst things we can do for our health and happiness; not allowing yourself to have any downtime is one of the most miserable ways to exist.
Here's another little secret: We all sort-of know how food, alcohol, and drugs are used to avoid our emotions. But what nobody talks about are the other ways we avoid our lives and emotions.
Dieting, over-exercising, workaholism, perfectionism, and constant busyness are all very common ways to avoid what we are feeling.
These are all ways to try to patch up the nervousness, sadness, anger, and panic that lurks beneath our skin.
So when someone replaces their emotional eating with dieting, or too much exercise, or 14-hour days at the office, or never letting themselves chill out and relax, well… We are avoiding the same stuff.
We are avoiding the pain we are afraid will destroy us.
We are avoiding the anger we think we aren’t supposed to feel.
And none of us want to hear it, because it seems scary but feeling all those old emotions, processing, and releasing them is actually the only answer.
You can do this with meditation, with journaling, with therapy, with energy work, with… good old-fashioned crying and pillow beating.
It doesn’t matter how you decide to go at it, but the feeling part is the key.
And even though it can seem, at first, that being vulnerable and feeling all of your emotions is a horrible way to live, becoming someone who expresses and processes their emotions in real time actually begins to feel amazing.
Once you become someone who is willing to feel the spectrum of humanity, life is significantly less scary and daunting. You become someone who can literally handle anything.