Last week in Food and Money, Part I, I started analyzing what we think the food and spending can do for us.
Do we think binge eating can take us to a relaxing place (it does for about 15 minutes)?
Does buying the cute bracelet at the boutique turn us into popular, sociable, desirable women?
Who would I be without the Haagen Daaz and the cute earrings from Nordstrom? I would be naked, with all of my insecurities and negative beliefs for everyone to see.
Who would I be without the Haagen Daaz and the cute earrings from Nordstrom?
Hiding behind food and material things, I can attempt to cover all of that up.
When I was at Green Mountain, I sat down with Darla to get her opinion on my shift from eating to spending. She said it was not at all uncommon to go from one compulsion on to another. She reminded me that in overcoming binge eating, I had learn to eat mindfully. And so Darla suggested that I begin my next shopping experience with an intention. My intention could be to browse or to simply buy a needed item.
Being in the moment with all the beautiful shiny things in a store can be a lot for our senses. In fact, it’s a reason so many people are drawn to compulsive shopping. She urged me to ask what I was really shopping for. What was missing from my life?
I thought about it. For me, what is missing in my life is the desire to be known. By purchasing beautiful things, I can on the surface feel good and special, but it does not help me really connect with people on a deep level.
It’s kind of an irony… wanting to be known and yet being scared of the very same desire. That is where the food comes in for me. Food allows me to hide.
As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that working for you?”
Well, Phil it’s not!
As a former binge eater, I learned that it was important to sit with negative emotions. As a current spendy shopper, I realize I need to do the same thing. When the 13-year old wants a scarf from Loft, it’s important to listen to her. My 37-year-old knows that there are people in my life that do not care about looks and appearance, but are more attracted to my sense of humor and my ability to nurture others and show compassion.
Bringing inquiry and curiosity to our relationship with food and money can teach us so much.
In her book “Lost and Found,” Geneen Roth writes,
“Whether it’s the relationship with food or money or drugs or alcohol or shopping, the main factor in any kind of change is whether or not you are willing to truly question your beliefs about yourself and the world. Whether or not you are wiling to listen to yourself in a way you’ve probably never done.”
So it seems to be that the answer to my obsession is not going on a budget (restricting). Rather, it’s about sitting with feelings, identifying and challenging false core beliefs. Budgeting may seem easier, but like with diets, they don’t work in the end.
Do you have a core belief underneath an obsession or compulsion?