I love patterns of all kinds and my eye tends to pick them out very quickly. This of course makes me well-suited for the work I do with the women here at Green Mountain. It’s not a surprise, at least to me, that what happens in relationships among participants here often follows what happens at home. It makes sense, right?
When patterns show up here, it’s a good opportunity to take a fresh look at how the choices you are making may or may not be supporting you.
I believe that one of the big relationship patterns of women who struggle with eating and food-related issues is that we tend to “give too much.” We are women with generous hearts, that can feel somebody else’s feelings and moods from miles away… sometimes literally. And there are a lot of feelings that get stirred up while everyone is working on learning new strategies, new information, new ways of coping.
Letting your feelings “have their say”
When you are beginning to change your body, your beliefs, your old ways of doing things, and your relationships… you are surely going to have some feelings about that. And that’s a good thing. Letting the feelings come up and “have their say,” as I like to say, puts you on the road to not having to use food in the same ways.
But because many women are very good at nurturing others, experts at tuning into how others feel, at providing a shoulder to cry on, or a sympathetic and generous ear, things can get a little muddy.
If you come to Green Mountain, I believe you are here for you. Making the changes that we are helping you with ain’t for sissies. You work hard while you’re here and have truly meaningful and beautiful experiences. And part of the changes you make come from the intimate and safe environment that lets it all come together.
A paradigm shift
Still, as I’ve seen over my first several weeks here, sometimes women will give up what they need for themselves in order to give (and give) to the friends they make in the program. Sometimes women get distracted by what somebody else is feeling – during some classes there can be a lot of emotion in the room. That’s never a bad thing. But when we are busy comforting somebody instead of letting ourselves take notes, or work on our journals, or staying connected to our body to see how it’s all landing, we may be missing out.
We have been taught to be good friends, partners, mothers, daughters… fill in the blank. And it can be a very big paradigm shift to choose yourself, to stay focused on what you need in the moment to meet your goals while you’re with us. Old fears of being “selfish,” of being “not nice” start to rear their ugly, (repetitive) little heads. And with them come the urges to eat, the food thoughts, the obsessions about the size of your body. It’s all connected.
I see women feeling conflicted at these moments. I’ve heard it in private sessions. The pull between wanting to listen to a friend who is going through a rough patch, versus really needing to take that walk and have some quiet time. To process your own stuff in class instead of comforting a friend who is processing hers.
Different setting, different cast of characters… old, familiar situations. Which actually is…. perfect! This is the place where you start to truly notice what’s going on. Where you get to name it, get support, ditch the guilt and set the energy to really do something different not just while you’re here, but once you get home and beyond.
I really want that for you.
Photo by Pierre Guinoiseau