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You are innately well - you always have been and always will be. If you're not experiencing wellness, you are innocently lost in a thick fog of thought. I can help you cut through the fog to reconnect with the peace of mind, clarity and confidence that are already within you.

I help women suffering from bulimia and binge eating disorder, using an amazingly effective, easy, brilliant new brain-based approach. You don't have to suffer any longer.

Why I’m Not Proud of Myself for Ending my Habit

by Dr. Amy Johnson on March 26, 2015

I am unbelievably grateful that I am no longer caught up in my former binge eating habit.  But when someone asked me last week if I was proud of myself for leaving it behind, the question caught me off guard. Why I'm not Proud of Myself for Ending my Habit

I don’t feel proud at all. Pride isn’t the right word.

Pride puts me in the picture in a meaningful way, as if I actively did something to be proud of. In the case of binge eating, I can honestly say that I don’t believe I did.

By the grace of something far wiser and more powerful than myself, I experienced a sea change. It was a deep, foundation shift in the way I viewed myself and my habit that naturally, quite easily, led to behavioral change.

I saw things in a new way and that didn’t take hard work on my part. For whatever reason, my mind was open and ready to hear something new. When I did, it was as if that part of my life had been rearranged, similar to how you might feel when you move into a new home. You’re the same, your family is the same, your stuff is still there, but everything looks different.

So for that life-changing insight I am incredibly grateful…but not exactly proud.  I received a blessing that I didn’t have to earn or work for. I was the recipient of something that is free and possible for all people: I was not the change agent.

I have kicked and formed habits the hard way, by willpower and discipline, and blood, sweat, and tears. I quit smoking 12 years ago this month that way and I am proud of myself for that. I became a daily exerciser at that same time by often hating it but doing it anyway until it became my new normal. (And then there’s my ice cream “habit”. I’m proud of myself for saying no…when I manage to say no).

Those things we work very hard for in life are typically cases where we change our behavior without the initial internal, foundation shift.

But what I wanted to share today is that it isn’t always that way. When you’re open to it, you can be blessed with an internal shift that does most of the work for you. Then you get to feel awe and gratitude and humility and a whole different set of emotions.

When you set your sights on a deeper understanding rather than trying to manipulate behavior first, you make that type of change more likely.

Look in the direction of a deep shift. If you’re focused only on what you can see—your unwanted behavior or the way you feel—you’re looking at a tiny sliver of after-the-fact experience. You’re looking at the end result only. Get curious about what creates your feelings and behaviors; what’s operating under the surface.

Wish to see something helpful rather than simply to behave differently.

It’s easy to get caught up in our behavioral agenda. When I was deep in my habit, if I had been granted a wish it probably would have been “I wish to never binge again.” But I can see now how that would have sold me short.

I was binge eating to relieve some temporary suffering. Our habits are terrible long-term strategies, but very effective short-term band-aids in that way. I don’t want to just take your (albeit harmful) band-aid behavior away…I want you to see something that will help you not need a band-aid behavior.

Acknowledge that your habit is your best attempt to feel better in the moment, and look toward what you aren’t seeing. Look toward the thinking that is in the way of your innate peace of mind.

Then, you will be opening yourself to an insight you can feel grateful for.  

 

I recently spoke with a woman who was holding herself back because she was afraid that if she was too successful, she would make others shineuncomfortable. It was the old “Who do you think you are?” mentality—who did she think she was to do big things in life?

Those weren’t her thoughts or her questions. They were her mother’s. Her mother handed them to her her 3 or 4 decades ago.

She intellectually knew it was just her mom’s insecure thoughts and not anything she really had to worry about, but she didn’t deeply see it because it kept impacting her. She clearly saw the lack of logic, but it takes a lot more than poking holes in logic to experience real change.

As we talked more about it, it became clear that there was one tiny little piece of the equation she was missing.

She thought “Who do you think you are?” was her mom’s reaction to her. In her mind, she was loud, brash, and “out there”, and that made her mother uncomfortable. What she had been telling herself for 30 years to feel better about things was “That was only mom’s reaction—it won’t be everyone’s reaction”.

And as you might imagine, that didn’t cut it. That alone was not enough to give her the freedom to be herself because she was still assuming that some people will be turned off by her, and that her mom was turned off by her, and those aren’t pleasant thoughts to entertain.

What she didn’t fully see was that her mother’s feelings toward her were 100% about her mother’s concerns with “who do you think you are?” and not at all about her daughter at all.

They were not her mother’s reaction to “I have a bold daughter”. They had zero to do with my client, the daughter, and everything to do with the thinking her mother experienced.

Her mother would have asked “Who do you think you are?” no matter what my client had been like, no matter how she lived her life, because that’s where the mother’s thinking was at that time.

If my client had been only mildly successful, her mother would have asked “Who do you think you are?”

If she had been a meek little wallflower, it would have been, “Who do you think you are?”

“Who do you think you are?” was her mother’s narrative. It may have also been her mother’s mother’s narrative, who knows.

It is the story of many parents who innocently inherited it from their parents.

But since this one shining woman saw that she plays absolutely no role in other people’s thinking, it’s no longer her narrative.  It doesn’t have to be yours either.

 

This post was originally published in January 2014. 

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