I need you to like me.
That’s how I approached every person in my life, without even knowing it. Whether you were my partner, my coach or the cashier at Starbucks.
Your opinion, validation, understanding and approval meant everything to me.
And so if I suspected you were annoyed, disapproving or judging me, I’d obsess on how I could fix that.
And I’d be up in my head, replaying a scene of what you said, what you meant, what I said, what I should have said. And what I should do now.
So I became good at reading faces, anticipating needs, being positive, smiling, and trying to say the right thing.
And it worked pretty well for the most part.
But it was exhausting.
It took so much energy trying to make sure that you liked me. To say the right thing – Trying to look good. Trying to do good. Trying to be good.
And the more you bought it, the more fake I felt.
Because deep down deep I knew that I wasn’t good.
I was selfish, high-maintenance and needing too much. I was out of control and nervous and insecure. And I was boring. Super boring. Well, that and drama too.
So as a public service, I let others in only so far. Just far enough that we could share a bed or a witty banter. But not so close that they’d have to get the wrath of the real me.
Cuz the real me was dark. The real me was ugly. The real me didn’t give a shit about you or anyone else. The real me was lacking some kind of compassion or ability to be human that made me incapable of truly loving you.
So it was better to not let you get too close.
It was the best I could do. Protect you from me.
The only problem was that it was really lonely. Really lonely.
And nothing filled that lonely. Except for food.
Food didn’t care if I was naughty or nice. Food didn’t judge. Food was there no matter what – unconditionally.
And in that way, food was actually my closest companion.
No one and nothing else got to see the parts of me that food saw – the bingeing. The plate-licking. The obsessive frenzies. No one else had to know.
That was just between me and my food.
And everyone else could just get the “together” me. The nice parts that weren’t so hard to swallow.
But the more I acted out with food, the more shame and guilt I felt. And the more shame and guilt I felt, the less I trusted myself to make healthy choices and the more I looked to you.
I needed you to tell me I was ok. I needed you to tell me I was good. I needed you to tell me you loved me.
But even when you did, the part of me that felt guilty for fooling you just got stronger. And I felt even more ashamed.
So there I was, addicted to food and addicted to your approval. The one feeding the other. And neither filling me up.
And I wasn’t until I got free from what was blocking me at a deeper level, and shifted from living on external dependence to living from internal guidance that I finally got access to the real me.
Not the me I thought I was under the niceties. But the real, true me. The divine me.
And once I gained access to that real me, all sorts of things started happening that were completely not of my doing.
30-year strained relationships with family members dissipated.
I discovered my purpose, and established a business dedicated to helping women heal their relationship with their bodies and themselves.
I stopped caring what you thought and gained confidence and an authentic appreciation for myself.
In fact, I actually fell in love with myself!
And I learned my body’s “talk” – the unique way she communicates with me and tells me what’s up, what’s real and what’s in my highest. I started to actually listen, and she led me to even greater spiritual discoveries. And my life blossomed. And my inner world expanded. And I got free.
And the fraud thing went away as I started living from my inner truth and being honest to myself and to you (even the stuff that before I never wanted you to know about).
And I got even more free.
And the food just stopped being a thing. And the approval just stopped being a thing.
And I almost fell over the day that my well-intentioned but disapproving, devil’s advocate of a dad made one of his usual comments and it didn’t trigger me.
(I wasn’t “trying” not be be triggered. It was just like I had been moved to a different place and it didn’t infuriate me into a defensive rage like it would have in the past.
I just saw him trying to be helpful and I acknowledged him for that. And then I told him that when he makes comments like that, what I do with it in my head is make it mean that he’s not supporting me. And we ended up having a loving conversation that ended with us feeling closer!)
And other crazy shit like that.
I realized that even more than the food, the true liberation was in not needing you to like me, approve of me or even understand me to be ok.
And when I got free of that, it was like winning the lottery, every day.
Because I had no idea what a heavy burden I was carrying before.
When all of that got lifted, so did the food addiction. And I got lighter.
That’s why when I start working with my clients, one of the first things I say to them is,
“It’s not about losing weight. It’s about becoming lighter.”
Then we set out on the deep and rewarding journey that I went through myself and that I’ve been taking other women through for nearly a decade that ultimately takes them from being heavy to being light.
Then I get to watch them light up and go and light up others. And I get to witness the constellation of women lighting up other women all over the globe.
And it’s the most beautiful lights show I’ve ever seen. And I want more of it.
So let’s do this together. Get free from what’s keeping us tethered and heavy and emerge, together, as light-filled sisters who create a wake of healing and light that ripples around the world.
In dedication of everything raw, real and recovered,