You may not think or say the exact words “I am not enough” but your actions and thoughts about yourself often speak the words loud and clear if you have challenges with food and body image.
Cousin to “I am not enough” is people pleasing. People pleasing inevitably leads to low self-worth and feelings of not being enough. That’s because it is impossible to please everyone, all the time, including those closest to you. If you only attempt to please others and devalue your own desires, you will only feel disappointment and dissatisfaction in life.
People pleasing is something most people learn at a young age. It’s a great childhood strategy to impress your teachers, make your parents happy and build friendships with your peers. But as you get older, people pleasing only makes you become less and less authentic and more and more unhappy as you endlessly try to be someone you’re not.
To be honest, living an inauthentic life and putting on a mask to hide who you truly are is kind of like living a lie. Just as living a lie becomes stressful to keep up, living inauthentically becomes stressful to maintain good friendships and inner happiness. You end up feeling alone and like you don’t belong, simply because your friends don’t really understand and know the real you. Your friends can only know you as much as you let them. More often than not, loneliness is a result of feeling misunderstood and disconnected from those in your life, not because you are physically alone.
Living inauthentically, people pleasing and not feeling enough are all intricately related, and can all indirectly lead to unwanted eating habits and negative body image. Unwanted eating habits almost never have anything to do with food itself. Problematic eating is a symptom not the cause of a deeper issue. You may turn to food when you are feeling low and upset because it provides a temporary escape from your discomfort. Poor body image is not because your body doesn’t look the way you want it to, but rather it’s related to how you feel about yourself as a person. People of all shapes and sizes are happy and unhappy, and there isn’t a particular shape or size that is congruent with happiness nor a shape or size that is congruent with unhappiness. Negative body image is an internal issue, not an external one.
When you accept that you do not have the power to please everyone, but have all the power to please yourself and live according to your own truths, you will become truly happy and satisfied in life. You will know that it doesn’t matter what people think, and if in fact you do receive criticism from others for anything you do, it’s because you ARE being true to yourself and not conforming to what others think you should or shouldn’t do. Most people are afraid of different ideas and of deviation. People would rather play it safe and do what everyone else is doing rather than take risks or follow their own heart. If you choose to follow your heart, people may criticise you because of their fears, not yours. Don’t give into them!
Sooner or later though, when you are living your life happy, confidently and successfully to whatever that means for you, the people that stand with you are the ones that you will feel a belonging to. You won’t feel lonely, misunderstood or disconnected. You’ll be fully connected to yourself and to your friends. Your authenticity will make you magnetic, and people will love you for you being you!
With a newfound confidence and self-worth, challenges with food drift away without you even realising it, and when you look in the mirror you see you, your true self, the one you love and are true to.
On one final note, you can have expectations of no one. Not your loved ones, not anyone. Even your best friends will disappoint from time to time, and truthfully, you will also disappoint others occasionally. You are only human after all. But the one person on this earth you can have full confidence in is yourself. Which means you can live to your truths, beliefs and values and be true to your own heart. As a result, you’ll feel happy and content with the way you live, knowing that you are being the person you are meant be in this short life you were given. The world needs you after all, not someone you’re pretending to be.
You are enough!