The very quick story is that this:
Physique picture points can perform as a strong instrument for distracting from, suppressing, and controlling your feelings.
Being obsessive about meals, weight, train, or the way you look can provide you one thing to give attention to apart from how you are feeling, which is a welcome distraction for a lot of people, as a result of so few of us discovered to control, tolerate, and course of our feelings in a wholesome method as youngsters.
It’d suck to consider energy, meals, weight, or the way you look all day, however typically that’s preferable to occupied with how unhappy you’re, how lonely you are feeling, or how resentful you’re of the individuals in your life who aren’t assembly your wants.
Obsessing over and trying to regulate your physique and look additionally presents many alternatives to suppress and push down your feelings utterly.
Weight-reduction plan has a numbing impact in your feelings, as does binging. We name it “emotional consuming” for a purpose—as a result of it’s regular (and at the least reasonably efficient within the short-term) to often flip to meals to assist us handle Massive Uncomfortable Emotions.
Pushing our our bodies to train lots may have a numbing impact on our feelings. It’s exhausting to tune into your emotions whenever you’re continually coaching your self to tune them out with a purpose to push your physique tougher, sooner, additional, or extra usually. Studying to override and push previous your emotions is taken into account a “good factor” in sports activities and health tradition, which makes it the right pairing for somebody who desires to really feel much less of their emotions regularly.
None of that is acutely aware, after all.
Individuals keep away from or suppress their emotions for any variety of causes, however probably the most fundamental is that they discovered their emotions had been harmful, unhealthy, shameful, invalid, or an issue. Typically their emotions had been simply too painful or uncomfortable, or chronically dysregulated due to trauma, or an insecure attachment determine. Typically their emotions had been explicitly shamed, till they needed to cover them even from themselves. (Assume: sexual want, anger, grief, or something labeled as “not good.”)
No matter brings somebody to a spot the place they don’t have the talent, vitality, capability, or inclination to really feel all their Massive Uncomfortable Emotions, I hope you may see what a strong, intelligent, and useful coping mechanism it’s for this individual to show to physique obsession and management with a purpose to dial down the amount on their emotions.
Do you know that weight-reduction plan and over-exercising can suppress libedo and sexual want? Do you know it’s practically unattainable to really feel the complete depth of your emotions whenever you’re hungry, or exhausted, or respiratory shallowly because of holding in your stomach?
That is all completed unconsciously. That is all survival, and an try to simply get by.
Controlling your physique can simply grow to be a method of controlling your feelings, containing them, shrinking them down, and making them extra manageable. It is a completely affordable factor to do whenever you’ve discovered that your emotions are unacceptable, harmful, shameful, or mistaken.
It goes lots deeper than simply meals and train management, too. Many of the habits we fall into with a purpose to management our look have a numbing impact; a method of eradicating ourselves from the expertise of being in our our bodies.
Physique checking, fixed anxiousness about how we glance, and an excessive amount of magnificence routines can all distract us from being with ourselves. Choosing your self aside within the mirror, doing hair and make-up, and obsessing over “flaws” like cellulite, zits, physique hair, pores, or frizz can all give you considerably of a numbing ritual, or feeling of management.
For many individuals, it feels a lot safer to be an individual this manner:
Numb. Distracted. In management.
That is truly a quite common purpose individuals with consuming issues and disordered consuming initially flip to meals restriction and/or binging—as a result of controlling their our bodies helps management and numb their feelings, making it really feel safer to reside of their our bodies.
In spite of everything, take into consideration what number of youngsters (particularly women) discovered that our emotions had been a shameful burden on others; that our needs, wants, opinions, and emotions had been “an excessive amount of” for the individuals round us to deal with?
Is it any marvel we would leap on the likelihood to regulate or suppress our too-muchness by meals, train, magnificence rituals, or obsessive ideas about how we glance?
Personally I used health and diet to attempt to tame my “unforgivably unruly” interior self.
I wished to beat the pesky obstacles of my very own impulses and cravings. The perfect I held in my thoughts was extra robotic than human, somebody who functioned on logic alone, and was by no means swayed by emotion or want. I wished to be cast of iron and can, a specimen of self-discipline and management.
Health provided me a option to get there.
Why did I maintain such a ridiculous very best for myself, you may ask? All the standard. Internalized misogyny. Skinny supremacy. Magnificence tradition.
However greater than that, it was as a result of I felt so totally uncontrolled inside. I noticed myself as far too emotional, too delicate, too fucked up and messy. Different individuals had their shit collectively, it appeared, and I wished to be like them. I wished to belong, and be regular. And I knew I wanted to lastly “management myself” for that to occur.
I didn’t need to be the sort of one who cried uncontrollably at commercials, and made questionable sexual selections on impulse. I wished to grow to be the sort of one who awoke at 6am and went for a run; the sort of one who was totally self-sufficient and in management. The sort of one who by no means took a relaxation day; the sort of one who meal-prepped for the entire week after which ate it out of tupperware.
I used to be continually failing my very own very best after all. I wished to sleep in. I wished queer intercourse, and extra emotional help from my accomplice. I wished cookies and pasta and beer.
I turned to physique management in an effort to grow to be another person fully, to regulate my uncontrolled interior self into somebody I deemed acceptable and lovable. I sucked in my stomach, and wore excessive heels, and bought laser hair elimination, and wore sticky mascara. I counted macros and lifted heavy and did cardio on an empty abdomen.
I did what I assumed I wanted to do with a purpose to grow to be the individual I wished to be.
The one factor is, that individual wasn’t me. It was by no means going to be me. And the one factor I completed was to make me really feel worse about myself, as a result of I used to be continually failing.
That is one other facet of utilizing physique obsession and management to attempt to management and suppress your inside self: it offers you an limitless provide of issues to beat your self up for. Which may be very handy in the event you’ve determined to make the undertaking of your entire life about changing into Somebody Else.
And if we’re being utterly trustworthy, that’s precisely what that is about. Controlling, suppressing, and avoiding your feelings is all the time a self-rejection. It’s all the time an try and grow to be somebody you’re not. Which is each why it all the time fails, and why self-acceptance on a deep emotional and existential scale is such a massively plain a part of the physique picture therapeutic course of for therefore many.
PS For those who’re trying to construct a extra trusting, tolerant, and wholesome relationship along with your emotions, my 10 week self-study program Make Buddies With Your Emotions is perhaps what you’re on the lookout for.
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