You know that panicked voice in the head screaming GO! GO! MOVE! NOW!
Especially when it’s not really a true emergency?
I appears there’s a frantic underlying belief when it comes to compulsive behavior, or addictive behavior, of any kind.
Eating and food were my focus of urgency when I had the thought.
I must eat something sweet immediately! I have to get some food NOW!
The compulsion feels like an emergency.
But really, you don’t have to have ever had a single compulsive bite of food.
Most people have experienced a compulsive bite of thought, however.
What do I mean by compulsive thought?
The dictionary defines compulsion as riveting, fascinating, compelling, gripping, engrossing, enthralling, captivating, irresistible, uncontrollable, overwhelming, urgent, obsessive.
Have you noticed your thoughts have to have this kind of energy before you actually DO something compulsive?
It’s like this: I have a thought that frightens me, and I believe it’s real and true.
It happens in two milliseconds flat.
I’m a believer!
It doesn’t cross my mind to question whether or not the idea was true, or to question my conclusions, or the stressful things I’m imagining.
Nope, I simply decided without question what that person said about me, or what happened, or what will happen, and what I’m feeling….are threatening.
What’s happening isn’t good.
Help! Help! Help!
(Cut to chicken running around with head cut off).
Most people when they get scared begin to do everything possible to CALM DOWN.
Compulsion, addiction, temporary insanity, craving, urges, driven, wild, frenzied, wanting, needy, desperate, grabbing, crying, wailing, screaming, self-pity….
The drama! The excitement!
And….the extreme suffering.
We can joke around about the experience of compulsive behavior, but it’s not really that funny if you’re in the middle of it.
I can even look back at my past life 30 years ago and feel sad that it was so hard.
(But I did question once “I ruined and lost my twenties” and found it was not true).
So who would you be without believing your mind is telling the truth about reality?
I know this is an enormously huge question, and might make some a bit skittish.
(How will I know what’s true if I don’t believe my mind? How will I protect myself if I don’t believe what I’m thinking? How will I be sane, or safe, if I don’t believe my stories?)
But it’s sooooo interesting and wonderful and exciting to imagine the freedom.
To notice you ARE the freedom.
But if you’re not so sure yet how inquiry works when it comes to this thought that something has to happen NOW…..let’s inquire:
Is it true you need to move faster than a speeding bullet to either get food, get to solid ground, stop feeling nervous, run away right NOW?
Cravings might be intense. You may want to indulge in your usual distraction activity, or comfort process. I notice, however, it doesn’t HAVE to happen NOW.
How do you react when you believe it’s urgent?
You’re eating before you know it. You’re yelling. You’re breaking up with your lover. You’re calling the divorce attorney. You’re sending emails you may regret later. You’re driving to buy drugs, or wine.
Who would you be without the belief you have to do it NOW?
What if you feel all fired up, but you didn’t believe you had to respond as if it was imperative, critical, required right now?
It’s a strange and interesting and wild feeling, to sit with turmoil in the mind, and even the body and heart….but not respond as if it’s absolutely true.
Without the thought you have to eat? Or scream? Or end your relationship? Or send that email? Or use drugs or alcohol?
Such a relief, really, that it’s not required.
It doesn’t mean you’ll do nothing. But to relax, inquire, and move from there instead of the wild compulsive feeling is so much clearer and feels so much more centered.
It’s not destructive either. To you, or to those you love.
Turning the thought around: I do NOT have to eat something sweet immediately! I don’t have to eat anything right now. I do not have to escape. It’s not urgent.
Could this be just as true, or truer?
I notice it’s far more true than the original statement.
Turning the thought around again: My thinking has to sweeten immediately! My thoughts are compulsive right now. I have to escape my thinking. My thoughts are imagining urgency, chaos, threats.
What I notice, is this was entirely true every single time I ever had the compulsion to overeat urgently, or to binge eat: I needed to question my thinking, to make friends with my feelings, to relax.
“‘But Katie, someone might say, ‘isn’t fear biological? Isn’t it necessary for the fight-or-flight response? I can see not being afraid of a growling dog, but what if you were in an airplane that was going down–wouldn’t you be very scared?’ Here’s my answer: ‘Does your body have a fight-or-flight response when you see a rope lying on the path ahead of you? Absolutely not–that would be crazy. Only if you imagine that the rope is a snake does your heart start pounding. It’s your thoughts that scare you into fight-or-flight, not reality.”~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names For Joy
Amazing to realize it’s possible to question your fearful, urgent thinking, and change your fearful, urgent behaviors. The best news of all is they just naturally change, without you really trying or managing or getting more willpower or control.
Questioning your thoughts is soooo worth it. It really does mean freedom.
If you’d like to join my November Eating Peace webinar, I’ll talk all about beliefs that frequently cause eating battles, starting with this “urgent” belief….and how to dissolve it.
If this topic interests you, then reserve your seat for the live webinar immersion class HERE (there will be a recording made for replay). You’ll receive an email immediately with three options for attending: November 4th 7:30 am, November 7th 4:00 pm and November 9th 8:00 am. At the very end of the webinar, I’ll share about the upcoming Eating Peace Process beginning November 14th.