It’s not what people do that upset us, it’s our reaction to it. It’s not our thoughts or our feelings that upset us, it’s our reaction to it.
One of the things that we rarely remember in recovery is that we actually have a choice. Sometimes, when we have the urge to binge, it feels like we have no choice whatsoever. If we have the urge, we absolutely must do it. But the truth is, you always have a choice. If you are feeling the urge to binge, you can decide not to. Yes, it will be challenging to sit with that uncomfortable anxiety of wanting to and not being able to binge. It can feel like an unscratchable itch, and the only way to relieve it is to binge. However, you can allow yourself some discomfort and some anxiety. Anxiety and discomfort and desire and even feeling the need to binge are just feelings. Feelings can’t kill you. You can sit with these. Some people believe that they can’t. But you can.
Many people react to such feelings as loneliness, sadness, anger, or anxiety with disdain. They feel the need to judge it as bad and make it go away. The truth is that there are no “bad” feelings. You can’t put a moral judgment on a feeling. They just are. God gives us millions of emotions, yet so many of us believe that it’s only okay to feel one or two, all the others are unacceptable. You are completely responsible for your own reaction. It’s okay to be okay with what you’re feeling even if it’s unpleasant. So often people try to push the uncomfortable feeling away which in turn causes more discomfort.
It’s not just our feelings that we react to, but it’s also other people’s actions. For instance, if someone at your office blows you off or is rude to you, you have a choice. You can attach meaning to that which upsets you. You can believe that they don’t like you or that you did something wrong, or that there is something inherently wrong with you, or you can give yourself another rational explanation… they didn’t feel good, they just had a fight with their husband, or maybe they were just in a bad mood. In the end, how other people treat you has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. People choose their own actions. People choose their own reactions.
Next time something happens, notice how you react. Is this reaction helpful or harmful? Can you choose a reaction that would feel good in your body? Can you slow down and think about how you want to be with this instance in this instant? This is all about you, no one else.
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