Today I discovered how embracing uncertainty and the discomfort that comes with it has allowed me to release the outcome in life and transform my relationship with food.
For most of my life, at least adult life, I've worried about the outcome of events and would always try to mitigate the details in between to produce the result I wanted. I hated uncertainty. I stressed. I worried. I had this feeling that only I could “make” something happen. This became more prevalent in my life as I climbed the corporate ladder, as I aged, and am the sole supporter of myself.
I lived in fear of financial uncertainty, of relationship uncertainty, of location uncertainty.
I was the poster child for being in a state of confusion when it concerned my personal life and making decisions. I know without a doubt all of this fear and stress contributed to the overeating, weight gain, years of dieting, and unhappiness.
Over the last couple of years I've learned to let go of the outcome and be okay with whatever happens. Interestingly, when I let go and embraced the uncertainty, life became more fun and I no longer felt confused and stressed at decision making. I don't always get it right, in fact in the last couple of weeks I had a freak out moment related to move my back to Seattle. Thankfully my cousin helps to ground me and then I can calm down and release the uncertainty.
Now, I look at each obstacle in life as an opportunity to learn, to ask it what it has to teach me.
Last June I had the unfortunate experience of getting vestibular neuritis, which is caused from an inner ear viral infection. I lost 79% of the balance in my left ear. As you can imagine, my world was literally turned upside down and spinning. It truly was one of the worst experiences of my life.
I had to go through 8 weeks of physical therapy to retrain my brain to compensate for the balance loss. I remember thinking, “8 weeks of PT!!! This isn't possible! How did this happen?” I asked my physical therapist if there was a drug or surgery I could have to correct it and I'm the one that will shy away from drugs and surgery, but I was desperate and in disbelief.
After I went through the emotions of what all this meant for my life, I asked God/Universe, “What do I need to learn from this?” I learned that this situation was one of the best things that happened to me. To wake me up and show me one very small, but impactful truth. Small daily changes lead to long-term, lasting results.
Small daily changes lead to long-term, lasting results. – Click to Tweet!
The parallels of what I was going through to overcome eating disorders and retraining my brain for a balance loss was incredible. I finally got it. I worked so hard each day with physical therapy and knew that if I didn't continue with therapy, or even missed one day with the home PT, that I would not get my balance back. Interestingly, I had been meditating about balance in my life prior to the vestibular neuritis showing up and knocking on my door. Coincidence?
I'm so thankful it came knocking to teach a HUGE lesson in balance, joy, and making small changes in my daily practices to become my more authentic self and release the gifts that I have to share.
Uncertainty, if resisted, can bring about eating disorders, stress, fear, and anxiety regarding body image. But if we stop resisting uncertainty in our life, it can bring about wisdom, truth, faith, joy, happiness, and eating disorders can begin to disappear as we relax and embrace the discomfort.
Over the years I would avoid the discomfort. Discomfort came in the form of work related stress, relationship stress, moving, new job, stress about losing weight before a certain event, and stressing about my health. Numbing with food was my drug of choice.
I wasn't comfortable with the uncertainty in my life. I didn't want to feel the discomfort, the anxiety, the stress – so instead I ate food to cover up those feelings of discomfort.
Now, as I've learned to be okay with my emotions and discomfort, I rarely turn to food. I may not like what I'm feeling, but I'm not going to die from it so why not just feel the emotion and move on. Acknowledge that it's there.
I might ask what it has to teach me. I might just say that's a lie, especially if it's a story in my head.
Freakout Moment Turned to Relaxing into Uncertainty
Speaking of stories, I had a little freak out moment the other day as I was contemplating signing a lease for 480 sq ft apartment in the city – you know the lies and little voices that run through your head. My story was – “What in the world am I doing? I’m 43 years old. I should be buying a house and collecting collectable furniture not moving into a dorm room like I’m an effing college student again.” I panicked.
Then I got my head together and told myself it was a lie. I’m okay at 43 years old, downsizing. Buying a house with collectable furniture that gathers dust and sucks my finances is not the American dream I want. I want simplicity, peace, and to live frugally so I can afford to LIVE, which supports my vision for my personal and professional life.
In the past, I would have turned to food and inhaled a the biggest burger and fries I could get my hands on and the largest soft drink available. Have you seen how big those larges are these days? Even the small drink size cup is gigantic!
Anyways, let me get back on track.
Now, I actually stop and think about what's going on with my stress and emotions and try to understand what I can learn from this experience. I use each moment, each challenge as an opportunity to shine.
This thinking didn't happen over night, but it did happen. That's the most important part. I finally got it!
Let me know below in the comments how you are embracing your uncertainty.
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