Excerpted from Food is Not the Problem: Deal With What Is!
When we actively begin the process of letting go of our old core beliefs, we frequently feel awkward, uncomfortable, phony, forced and inauthentic. I implore you: don’t judge this as an indication that you are doing something wrong or that you are doomed to fail at this recovery process. These feelings of discomfort and unfamiliarity are not bad, wrong, or in any other way inappropriate. The thoughts and behaviours you are asking of yourself are simply so very different from your “norm,” that is, from what you are accustomed to, that they naturally feel strange. And as human beings who have been schooled in all-or-nothing thinking, we have been trained to judge anything which differs from our regular experiences as wrong.
This is simply not accurate. If you continue allowing yourself to think this way, you run the risk of not witnessing and experiencing all the benefits of the changes which are taking place. You are judging your experience in the moment as bad or wrong because it feels strange or different from what you are accustomed to. If you find yourself heading down this path, I encourage you to remember that you have begun this process of change because you want things to be different – because you recognize that you have a need for a change in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours around certain things. This being the case, how much sense does it make to judge yourself as failing in your process because things are feeling different, when that is what you initially desired?
Discomfort, Change, Equals Good Stuff and Good Results
You are expecting to have complete comfort and familiarity with a brand new way of thinking, being and feeling about yourself, your body, food and relationships. Does this make sense? Does this seem like a realistic expectation to have of yourself? Of anyone? Please tell me you said no!
After just a handful of experiences in which you remember to offer yourself your desired belief when the old bogus story kicks in, you will begin to really feel and know the difference between the old and the new ways of approaching any life situation because, although it is different, the new way does feel better. Much better. You will begin to feel freer and more connected to your true self than ever before. You will feel yourself detaching from the energy and co-dependency of others. This will create its own motivation for you to pursue the new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving which you are learning, instead of those old, harmful coping strategies. In a relatively short period of time (typically, in a few months), the old way of coping with life’s stressors begins to seem so foreign, so unnecessary, so draining and unproductive that you naturally and freely choose the new way.
With any behavioural change, this entire process is the same for each of us. If you were a hunt-and-peck typist and then learned to type “properly,” you would go through the process of initially feeling forced and uncomfortable, to arriving at a place where the new is so much more peaceful, effective and life-enhancing. You will choose to use it exclusively, and it becomes second-nature to the point where hunting and pecking takes too long for it to even be considered an option. This is the exact process which you will experience with food, body image, substance abuse, co-dependency, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and other common coping strategies for our society.
Do your best to welcome this new, strange, inauthentic feeling which accompanies your desired belief: know that it’s a great sign. After all, if you feel exactly the same at the end of this process as you did in the beginning, I don’t think you would be feeling successful! So prepare for some gentle discomfort; don’t force yourself to be challenged to extremes. Be kind, only ask of yourself what is doable for where you are right now. Change is what you seek. Simply because it is new, change feels a little unsteady and shaky, and it intially creates doubt and uncertainty. After all, you are stepping into the unknown, and you won’t have complete trust in something knew until you have experienced it. Just know that these changes will result in a very safe, secure, trusting and peaceful state of being which you will carry with you everywhere and at all times. That is worth a little conscious effort.
Trust in me as best you can. Trust in this process. Trust that feeling different and unnatural is a very good thing right now, providing you are not doing anything life-threatening!