Facing My Darkness

martino-pietropoli-175599-unsplash.jpg

For years, I was afraid of my darkness. I was afraid of facing the things I didn’t like about myself and allowing myself to feel. I used anything I could think of in order to avoid looking myself in the eye and allowing my humanity. Partying, food, boys, drama, TV, shopping, you name it. It was all a buffer to avoid FEELING.

The most excruciating way I distracted myself was by having an eating disorder. It’s been a battle I’ve been fighting since I was 13-years-old and one I will continue to fight. Or so I thought…

Over the past year, I began digging deep and doing the inner work to heal from my eating disorder. Truthfully, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was at my rock bottom and my breaking point. I *slowly* had realized how this form of buffering was fucking up my relationships, my work, and the person I showed up as. I decided to draw a line in the sand and commit to healing. No more wishy-washy bull shit. No more disguising my eating disorder as an obsession with “health.”

Yup, I’ve tried just about every trendy diet out there and used it as a way to control. It was a socially acceptable way to have an eating disorder. If I’m being REALLY honest, when I first discovered Intuitive Eating I was Googling and searching for a new diet. As I read through the principles of IE, I felt my body relax. I felt my body say YES. It wasn’t even a decision I made from a mindful, mental place. It was a full body decision and I couldn’t deny it. I hadn’t even started practicing it yet and I was already feeling relief and peace. That’s how powerful it is when you’re actually ready for a change. I was so ready that I didn’t even have a say in it; my body was took over and lead me.

Fast forward to today. Going through the process completely changed my life, but to be honest, there are still residual feelings. Now that I’m not using disordered eating to buffer, it’s like I’ve been cracked open and all my shit is rising to the surface. It’s like I’m an open wound that’s exposed and feeling vulnerable to the world. I’ve found spirituality and my purpose in helping others heal to guide me through the scariest moments, but diving deep inside and making friends with my darkness has been the most transformative aspect of healing.

Recently, I did an exercise that woke me up to some things I had still been avoiding. I encourage you to do it if you’re ready to face your darkness and make friends with it. To LOVE your darkness.

THE EXERCISE:

List 5 Things You Don’t Like About Yourself

Notice how your body is reacting as you read the exercise. Are you feeling something in the pit of your stomach? Are you nervous? Are you mad? Sad? Notice what emotions come over you and where you’re feeling it physically. Does your chest feel heavy?

 

Here’s my list:

1.       I don’t like that I judge myself.

2.       I don’t like that I’m a people pleaser.

3.       I don’t like that I hate confrontation.

4.       I don’t like that I self-sabotage.

5.      I don’t like that I care what other people think about me.

 

To be honest, I could list way more than five. In my eyes, it’s a win that I didn’t list anything physical, because in the past it would’ve all been about how I hate my thighs and my nose. As I’ve accepted the physical, I’ve started to move toward accepting my whole, entire being. That’s really the root of it anyways. We all know that. We pick apart of physical attributes because it’s shallow and it hurts less than facing the deeper parts of yourself that you’ve been avoiding.

Now, we’re going to add something onto those statements. At the end of each statement, say “and I love that.”

I don’t like that I judge myself….and I love that.

Notice how it immediately softens the severity of the statement. Notice how your BODY reacts as you say it. Your darkness wants to be loved. It wants to be accepted. Yelling at your darkness and trying to beat it into submission isn’t actually going to help you overcome or change. Can you just notice what feelings arise and SIT with those feelings? Don’t try to change them…just let them BE. Let them exist. Let them pass through.

I don’t like that I self-sabotage…and I LOVE that. I love that I self-sabotage.

Let’s look a little deeper into this. WHY do I self-sabotage? I do it to protect myself. I do it because then if I FAIL…it was my fault and not out of my control. I want control so much I’m even trying to control my failures. I’m afraid that if I actually go after things 100% then I’ll fail and it’ll be that much more painful. I’m afraid of the pain.

But pain is just a feeling and I’m the one that’s labeling pain as “bad.” We could look at it from a neutral perspective and see pain as just pain. It’s not bad and it’s not good. And I love that.

You see how powerful this can be when you start asking yourself the right questions and allow yourself to go to the vulnerable places you’re trying to avoid? If you don’t feel called and ready to attempt this exercise, you can wait until you are. I’m simply sharing how powerful this was for me and I’d love to know…what’re 5 things you don’t like about yourself?

Feel free to comment below, email me at teresa@howtobealion.com or contact me through IG! Let’s have a conversation.

Teresa ChocaComment