I apologize for the gap between my last email and this one, but I was working hard on finishing up my book, The Optimistic Food Addict: Recovering from Binge Eating Disorder. It is now with my publisher being edited. We are planning for an August 2016 release date, but I will let you all know well in advance.
In many ways it was an exhausting book to write, but I am really proud of it. I dug deep to uncover not only my struggle but also my recovery. Hopefully, my words will help someone out there.
As I was finishing up the final chapters, I wondered when I should stop writing. Clearly, the process of binge eating recovery, at least for me, is going to take the rest of my life, so I could literally write about that recovery until the day I die. At some point, though, I had to make a decision on where to stop, and yet I kept writing. Eventually, I shouted to myself, “Enough is enough!” Of course, that got me thinking about another chapter and another and….
In any case, I turned it in that afternoon, but this concept of enough lingered in the back of my mind. I kind of took it up in writing the book and even on this block. I mean, growing up I never had enough of anything–food, money, time, support, clothes, books. One thing I did not explain in the book, though, was how hard I have struggled to convince myself that I do have enough. There is enough. I am enough.
Living your life believing that you are always lacking in everything is overwhelming. To think that there isn’t enough food or water or clothing or love means that you live in a constant state of miserliness. I could never give anything away for fear that I would not have enough. As a binge eater, for example, if I thought there wasn’t enough lasagna for everyone, then I would hoard it. If I thought that I would never have chocolate cake again, then I would sit down and eat every last bite of the cake I did have in that moment. This concept is easy enough for most people to understand, but what is harder to grasp is how this belief makes you see yourself.
If you believe, as I did, that you are never enough, then you will always settle for less. Less salary at work. Less kindness from friends. Less loyalty from lovers. You expect less and accept less because you are less.
This mindset is incredibly detrimental because it makes those of us think that we deserve whatever hardship we face, including self-punishment, like binge eating. We deserve to eat until we are painfully full. We deserve to starve ourselves because we ate a treat after dinner last night. We deserve every last slight because we are not enough.
Conversely, when someone comes along to try to convince us that we are enough and that we deserve better treatment, we despise them because we think they are lying or are trying to fool us in some way. To make matters worse, we feel as though we are not entitled to our share because that means we are taking away from people who actually deserve it. We know the truth. We know we are less than whole. Less than good. Less than deserving.
It took me years to understand this other side of the Never Enough mindset, and it took me even longer to begin changing my heart about how I saw myself and the world.
I chose and still choose to believe that there is enough in the world. I can pass on an extra serving of my favorite side dish because there is enough. Someday, if I want that dish again, I can have some more. It will not be gone forever.
This change in belief changed my recovery in a myriad of ways. I could eat more mindfully. I could enjoy my meal without speeding on to left overs for fear that they would disappear. I can listen to my friends tell me about their lives and can actually help them now, since I am no longer drowning in the voice of my ED telling me that I should eat another pastry because I will never have these delicious pastries again.
Life is too short to waste it on lack. The only thing missing in my life is the ability to sustain the belief that there is enough. There always was enough. I am enough. (And so are YOU.)
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