“I know,” she said. “I’ll try harder.”
“Don’t try harder,” I told her. “You’ve been trying long enough. Relax a little, release some of your white-knuckle grip on the situation. You can’t control it all. It’s not your job to control it all. You are in a very tough situation and you are navigating it absolutely the very best way you know how.
Draw on whatever support you have around you from people and from the divine energy of the universe (whatever that means to you) and hand over a little of the burden – even just energetically. Know that you are an amazing mother, trust that things will unfold as they will and that you are strong enough to handle whatever comes.
You do not need to try any harder.”
I hear people beating themselves up all the time about diet and lifestyle struggles and they often end with some version of, “I just need to try harder.”
But it’s not about trying harder.
It’s not about having more willpower or locking away all the double-stuffed Oreo cookies so that you don’t go crazy and jam the entire bag into your mouth at once.
It’s about stopping.
It’s about being nowhere but right here, right now.
It’s about inhaling and exhaling.
It’s about relaxing and letting go and simply noticing that you are craving the cookies but taking the time and the space to examine that feeling, turn it around and upside down and look at every nook and cranny of it and decide if eating is the best way to love it.
Because that’s all any feeling wants. To be seen and heard and noticed and loved until it can happily dissolve away.
Your path to making peace with food does not come through force or control.
It doesn’t come from trying harder.
It comes from understanding that you are not your thoughts. That the tired or bored or sad or lonely or worried or scared are just thoughts and that you don’t need to frantically grapple to escape or numb them by eating as many cookies as you can get your hands on.
You can just stop and sit with the feeling. You can hold it and feel it. And know that you are already everything you need to be – the feeling doesn’t change that.
It’s just a feeling.
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