So much of my struggles in my life have been fear based. In fact it has taken my lifetime to realize the extent of it in my life.
When I was in my 30s and 40s, I feared losing the people in my life that were dear to me. Being single, that was my parents. They always struggles with health issues, and I was emotionally, and (not so healthy) dependent on them, mostly my Mom. I was the emotional love tank she drew from. I do not mean to disrespect my parents, they were truly amazing people, but not perfect. And today I embrace those imperfections. But, she was very insecure, always worried and stressed about everything, and always shared those fears with me. My father was not one to share feelings. In fact, he was so shut down emotionally, he struggles with bleeding ulcers during most of my childhood years. So, starting at a very young age, my Mom latched onto me for emotional support as well as an emotional outlet. It’s not fair to put that much emotional dependency on a child, I felt very loved, but also felt the weight of my mom’s happiness on my shoulders.
There were a lot of unspoken rules that I adapted because of this. I never felt I could come home and tell her about the kids at school that were making fun of me on the way home. I guarded her feelings. I knew she felt responsible for me being an obese kid, and helpless as to what to do about it. So, as an adult this exasperated, I became her care taker, emotionally and physically. I remember cutting hair in my beauty shop, and when an ambulance or fire truck drove by, I would stop what I was doing and call their home to see if she was ok. And if I could not reach her, I would go into a full blown panic.
Needless to say, my soft place to run to was food. I am sure many of you can relate to this. I see a very strong common thread like this with many people who are obese and especially morbidly obese. When my folks, husband, and everyone I loved died, I had nothing left to fear, my purpose was over, and that is when I shut down, stayed in bed, and ate myself up to 537 pounds.
I have a lot of self awareness regarding how I deal with fear. Knowing this, I can work through it. But it’s not easy. It’s much better because I have tools and an army of support people to help me deal with it.
Because I have experienced this, I can easily recognize those who live in so much fear that it paralyzes their life. Like I did, they bury their heads in the sand, become needy, or fall into deep denial. Sometimes it turns into resentment, mine certainly did. Or anger, or sarcasm. Fear wears so many masks and even layers of masks.
This morning I woke up with a fear of a financial matter I needed to deal with. I had been procrastinating dealing with this for a long time. I wanted to just pull the covers over my head and not deal with it. But after a lot of prayer and self talk, I didn’t do that. I got up and going, made coffee (important) and made the phone calls needed to resolve the issue. Funny thing, the thing I worried so much for weeks about, did not happen. I had just enough money to cover (property taxes) and let me tell you the feeling of confidence I gained turned my day completely around.
It is so hard to face your monsters. Sometimes it feels like you will die. Believe me I know, but when you do, the pay off is life changing. The saying ” If you don’t try you will never know” is so true. putting something off, or hiding fear behind the many facades we use only magnifies the problem.
Be brave today, just do one little things that pushes you past your fears, you won’t believe what a catalyst that can be to bring you to a courageous, peaceful place in your life. That drive to run to food for comfort leaves, and it allows so many joyful experiences and people to enter your life again.