Jul 24, 2013
We human beings are a social creature by nature. We interact with other people on many different levels: family; friend; wife; boss; co-worker; lover; enemy etc. And, human relationships being what they are, can often leave us in conflict with another person, which, depending on your personality, can send you into direct confrontation, or, as is more often the case, avoidance.
For emotional eaters, this kind of avoidance can forge a very unhealthy alliance with food. Put simply: the emotional eater will eat instead of confront (communicate). They will substitute the temporary "good feelings" that eating brings for the former relationships in their lives. It feels safer. There's no one watching. And there's no one to shout back at them.
The problem, of course, is that this kind of emotional eating will only continue to distance the emotional eater from the people in their lives. Yes, you may still find yourself in the same room with a person, but your desire (and ability) to confront them on the issues plaguing your relationship will only diminish as you choose to eat instead of communicate.
Another real problem that can arise from this kind of emotional eating is the erosion of people skills i.e. the normal day-to-day business of dealing with people. This is a natural skill that we develop as children, one that continues into adulthood. Withdrawing from relationships can weaken our people skills as we simply stop using them.
And over time, the blow to our own self-confidence and self-esteem can take its toll as we find ourselves shuddering at the thought of having to engage with others, be it in a group situation, or a one-on-one, and scrutinize ourselves (and our weight) with an ever-harsher tone.
Perhaps what an emotional eater really hides from-by eating instead of communicating-is being vulnerable. When you confront another, you place yourself in a vulnerable position, a position in which you might lose the argument; you might look silly; you might even walk away feeling embarrassed or less than the other person.
The reality is that it takes courage to be vulnerable. Courage to be wrong. Courage to communicate.
It also takes courage to see yourself not as weak, or stupid, or less than, every time you've turned to emotional eating instead of facing another person. But simply as: being human. A work in progress. A person deserving of patience, and dignity and love-especially the love from your own self.
This is true courage. Wonderful courage. The kind of courage that sits within all of us, waiting to be tapped.
Relationships are challenging. There's simply no changing that. The good news is that what can be changed is you, and your ability in which to handle them. Turning to emotional eating instead of communicating is something we can start phasing out today. Yes, it requires effort and commitment and yes, courage, but it's a journey that leads to better health, better relationships and an even better you.
Now, that's something I think we can all agree upon.