My BFF-who-doesn’t-know-it-yet, Brene Brown defines connection as, “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give or receive without judgment.” This connection is so important because it lifts the shame and feelings of “otherness” we feel when we are in isolation.
And you’re certainly not alone if you find that most of your dysfunctional behaviors with food happen in isolation. Eating acts as a way to feel comforted in the moment, briefly trying to fill the void of true human connection.
But the truth is, of course, that food is only a temporary solution to feeling better in the moment. It drives us into further isolation, making it harder and harder to build a fulfilling, thriving life. Isolation is like a petri dish for your dysfunctional relationship with Sugar, and your negative thoughts and emotions. Of course it makes sense that people use substances less when they feel connected and a part of something bigger than themselves.
Want to experience more connection and don’t know where to start? You have a very solvable problem on your hands. Here are a few tips:
- Step Out of Your Comfort Zone. Unless we try new things, we can’t form new relationships! Find groups you might be interested in – like a 12-step fellowship, meetup.com group, book club, sports league, church/temple and give it a try! Look for communities of people who share your struggles, interests and passions, as well as your humor, hobbies, or religious and spiritual beliefs
- Make the Effort to Stay in Touch. Be proactive and reach out – you can’t always wait for someone else to make the first move! You may even be helping someone else by connecting – win win win!
- Participate Fully. Let go of unhelpful or critical thoughts and throw yourself fully into the activity or conversations
- Be gentle! Starting new relationships can be really difficult – and they can take a little time to develop! Just because you’re not BFFs right away doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong! Be gentle and be patient.
Connection is perhaps the most important skill you can cultivate when establishing a healthier relationship with food and with yourself. Not even just important, but essential. What’s your obstacle to connecting with others? Reflect and brainstorm how you can overcome those obstacles and explore what you have to gain by taking a leap and reaching out to others. You’ve got this!