As I was spending time down at the river, it made me think of one of my favorite metaphors.
Imagine, imagine you’re on the banks of a raging river. It’s pouring down rain, and you slip and you fall in, and you’re drowning.
You are getting pulled down through the rapids. And eventually along comes a big log. And you grab on. And the log saves your life. It keeps your head above water, when surely you would have drowned. And eventually it carries you to a place where the river is calm. But, you can’t get to the river bank because you’re clinging so tightly to the log.
Make no mistake about it, the log is like your disordered eating. It has saved your life at a time when surely you would have drowned in some very strong emotional currants. And it serves a function, a very important function. And it would behoove you to know what that function is.
But to make it more complicated, there is always someone on the riverbank yelling let go of the log, let go of the log. And you feel like an absolute idiot, because you can’t let go of the log.
Well, the truth of the matter is, letting go of that log may not be the very best thing to do initially.
Because what happens if you let go of the log, start to swim to shore, get half way there and realize you don’t have the strength to make it?
That means you don’t have the strength to make it back to the log either.
And you’re really sunk.
So, what do you do instead?
Let go of the log.
When you start to sink, grab back on.
Let go of the log and practice treading water, and when you get tired, you grab back on.
Let go of the log and swim around it once, twice, a hundred times, two hundred times, whatever it takes to have the strength and confidence to make it to shore. Then, you let go of the log.
Whatever it is that you’re doing with food, and eating and obsessions about your weight — unbeknownst to you –have kept you afloat in some very difficult emotional currants.
The problem is, it’s also getting in the way of you going where you want to go in life. And so, what has to happen, rather than just letting go, which is something well-meaning friends and family might tell you, you first have to develop certain skills. Like floating or treading water. Or whatever the skills are that you need to keep yourself from being overwhelmed or pulled down by really, really strong emotions.
So, the process is, first, appreciate the function of your disordered eating thoughts and behaviors. And then, see what the skills are that you need to develop so that you can let go.
How can I help you let go of the log? Please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear what this brings up for you.
Till next time,