Have you ever struggled with being authentic? I'm a person who likes to please people. If I feel that someone doesn't like me, I take it harder than other people I know. This insecurity has lead me down some pretty dark paths where I did whatever it took to be popular and feel wanted.
I got into drugs at the age of 17, not just because I was running away from the pain of my past, but also because I wanted people to think I was cool; I wanted to fit in. I went home with a stranger at the age of 20 after partying at a nightclub because I wanted to feel desired, and in the end, I was raped.
I pretended to be so many different versions of myself to make people like me, but I was never satisfied. I was surrounded by people but felt alone, like I never fit in. This struggle between wanting the approval of others and being authentic was a tangible battle for me. I know I'm not alone. So many people want to be themselves, but they're afraid of rejection, betrayal, loss, and isolation. Some people are so afraid of being "left out", that they sacrifice who they really are in exchange for popularity, or whatever it is they desire.
I believe that many of us struggle with food and with the way we view our body because we lack authenticity. We don't know how to just be, because we're trying to be everyone else. With social media that inundates us with images of what we should look like, it's easy to get caught up in the superficiality that's all around us. Because this affects us on a spiritual level, it creates anxiety, stress and fear inside of us. This affects our physical body and our mind the more we give into this negative way of thinking and behaving.
I am preaching to the choir as I write this. The older I get, the harder it gets. I thought life would get easier as I grew up, but in some ways, it's harder than ever. A once flawless face now has time written all over it. A once perfectly sculpted body now has gravity working against it. Even though my body has changed, and will continue to change, if I don't embrace my authenticity, I will always go down a path of self-abuse. Self- abuse with restricting my food intake, self-abuse with using exercise as a form of punishment, self-abuse in the way I speak to myself and self-abuse by refusing to let myself be me.
If we don't start to look deeper than skin surface, food and body challenges will never go away. We are more than a body, after all. We are body, mind and spirit. This cry for authenticity comes from our deepest spiritual layer. It's who we want to be, who we're created to be, and most often, who we're told not to be.
For the last 8 months, I keep coming back to this message of authenticity and can't deny the correlation between a lack of authenticity and the way we struggle with food and body. When we live in an unhealthy place on a spiritual or emotional level, the physical body will manifest symptom. These symptoms could be things like: binge eating, overeating, fatigue, weight gain, insomnia, hatred towards the body, depression, anxiety, etc.
The symptoms aren't what needs to be addressed, but looked at as a message that something else is happening on a deeper level. There can be so much anxiety and stress around wanting to be who you really are, and being afraid of what others will think. If that's the case for you, turning to food to distract you or to help numb you out, is an easy and predictable method many people use.
Of course, you need to make sure we are putting life-giving foods into our body, but if you're a person who struggles with food or with the way you view your body, your issues go far deeper than just the food that you're drawn to. Why are you drawn towards certain foods you know aren't healthy? Do they give you a temporary sense of relief? Do they help distract you from what's going on inside of you and around you? Do you struggle to feel full when you eat because there are areas of your life that are empty?
When you dig deeper into your eating challenges, instead of focusing solely on what you eat, you will gain the insight you need to overcome any obstacle you face with food and body. Being more authentic has been something I'm working towards, that I know has affected the way I eat and view my body? Are you struggling with being your most authentic self, or do your eating challenges have to do with something else, something deeper you haven't wanted to look at yet?
You are created to be you. You are created to be courageous. Look deeper than just what you can see. It's in those deep places we often don't want to go, that we find our answers for healing.
I'd love to know why you struggle with food, and what your challenges are trying to tell you on a deeper level.