With all this rolling around in my head it was an easy segue into how I've disappointed some of the most precious people in my life. This is where things really got awkward and I noticed a spike in hot flashes and night sweats. Could be a connection there. My earliest memories are of times I disappointed people - my mother, my father, my grandmother, my teachers, my sisters and brothers. I clearly saw where I'd disappointed my first husband, his parents and family, my son, my employers and more friends. In the past few years as I've taken more risks, stood up for myself, spoke up a lot more, challenged more, I've expanded the people I've disappointed. Some have given me so much and some keep loving me even though I choose for myself. Looking back, I remembered feeling and hearing people's reactions to my "letting them down." What fascinates me the most is that when I do something for myself, for the good of my soul, my journey, that's when it seems that other people's disappointment in me lands hard and heavy. Since I'm in mid-life and growing more and more determined to follow my "inner ding" (thank you Louise Hay), it is inevitable that people will be disappointed. I know intellectually that their reaction is their "stuff". But I also know that something else has been going on inside of me.
So, I wondered what has feeling guilty for disappointing people got to do with self-sabotage. Just ask the universe these questions and get out of the way. The answers will come and may not be what you want to hear. Like a neon flashing sign I was faced with the choice I'd made from the beginning of my young life: I better do something to make these people happy so that they will like me. Now, disappointing myself caused shame and low self worth while disappointing others meant abandonment and rejection. Somewhere, long ago I figured out that in order to feel safe, loved and accepted I needed to find ways to make other people happy, regardless of the consequences. Alas, from disappointment, people-pleasing was born. It might have ended there with me living out my life on an ever increasing incline while I trying not to suffocate under the burden of responsibility for pleasing everyone, except that I'm a smart girl.
When I think I've disappointed someone I feel bad so I try to make up for it by doing something to "fix" the problem and then I feel resentful, depleted, angry, frustrated that I'm doing something I might not want to do for the sake of being accepted. To numb the feelings of shame I self-sabotage until one day I wake up and say "What the heck is going on here?"
So this brings me to the beginning of my post. I wondered why I was self-sabotaging (mostly with food) and now I know. Since knowing the way is not going the way, there is more to be done. First of all, I need to recognize my propensity for finding myself wrong and stop that right now. I also need to rewrite the story of my childhood where I believed I was such a disappointment. It simply isn't true and while I've been holding onto the memories that support this, I have overlooked the ones that tell me otherwise. AND yes, I have disappointed people in my life and people have disappointed me. I've forgiven them so now it's time to forgive myself.
And with a nod to Colin Tipping and his radical forgiveness work, it's all been a divine synchronicity unfolding just as it was meant to. This is the powerful work of the Emotional Eating Program I'm so blessed to share with my clients. Emotional Eating is only one of the many self-sabotaging behaviours that people in pain will choose. If you see yourself in this, take a breath and know there is a way out. Obviously this is the condensed version of the process for me. I feel liberated.