The other day I was having lunch with an amazing guy I know when the topic of eating came up. Now, if you know me, you know I have an incredibly public love affair with food.
It is actually a little ridiculous. If the food I’m eating is really good, I won’t stop eating it until you stab my hand with a fork. It’s terrible, I know. I probably need counseling for it.
As we discussed our love for food, I shared with my friend that I’m an emotional eater. When things go bad I either eat like a horse, or I don’t eat at all. My friend shared with me that he is an emotional eater as well. While mine started in my thirties, his started as a young child.
When I asked him what triggered his emotional eating when he was a kid, he shared something that kinda shocked me. He said he ate when people were mean to him or were disappointed in him. When he felt shame, he ate.
That shocked me because I hadn’t thought about it that way. When people treated him like crap, his way of dealing with it was food. While I eat when situations are bad, he ate when people were bad.
The combination of the way he was treated and his guilt over his eating created a deep, emotional “hole.” Every time he would climb out of the “hole,” something would happen to push him right back in. Very quickly, I started thinking of people in my life who do the same thing, sometimes with a different substance. Like alcohol.
We went on to discuss the kind of effect people can have on others by being mean, disapproving and overly critical. If you give these people the power, they’ll keep pushing you back into that hole. Stay in the hole, and your dependence on your substance of choice will keep you there.
I think there is revelation for those who allow this to happen to themselves. Your “issue” (food, drugs, alcohol, overspending) is a reaction to something much deeper in your life. If you drink because people treat you badly, then you allow their behavior to destroy you emotionally while you destroy yourself through your addiction.
You’re giving yourself a double whammy when you should focus on the cause of your problem. How do you do that? Push back! Don’t allow people to treat you like that. Tell negative people that you will not allow them to be so negative to you. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people.
If you’re the person who’s being a negative influence in someone else’s life…STOP!! Understand that your words have power to hurt on more levels than you can see. “Well they should just be strong enough to get over it!” Really? Is that how you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed? What if it was your child? Is that how you would want them to be treated?
As you go about your day today, pay attention to how you talk to people. Notice how they respond to you afterwards. And if you’re the emotional eater like me and my friend, stop giving your power to other people. Trust me when I say you can reverse this process. It will just take a lot of effort and desire on your part.
Question: What advice do you have for folks down in the holes?