“You spot it, you got it”
I’m currently reading the “Completion Process” by Teal Swan, who is a well-known spiritual teacher on YouTube. In Teal’s explanation we came to this world “whole” and over our lifetimes have experienced trauma where we essentially split ourselves, fragment ourselves, disowning aspects of ourselves while accepting others. Often times, the traits we accept and don’t accept are related to what our primary caregivers and society told us was acceptable and unacceptable. In fact, this is often what I see in my client work and with my own journey – that often times the difficulties we have in moving forward reflect some unhealed parts of us that are calling for our attention.
I think of my binge eating as an example. Growing up, in a household that valued good work ethic and in competitive school, I became the overachieving type that always strived for straight A’s and beat myself up when I wasn’t “perfect.” I learned to disown sensitivity and rest at a young age. Growing up, I learned there wasn’t room for tears: “You’re too sensitive. You were such a cry baby… Dont’ end up like <insert neighborhood kid’s name here>, she is so lazy and sleeps all the time.”
So growing up, I had been conditioned to turn off a huge part of myself. I hid behind a veil of straight A’s, awards, and accomplishments. Occasionally, my sensitivity would slip out, which frustrated me. In conflicts with friends and other people, I would push down the feelings of hurt and instead be the first to end the relationship. “I’m stronger on my own,” I’d say. I prided myself on my independence. From then on, I wouldn’t let anyone else get too close. When it came to studying, I often overworked myself. I didn’t give myself time for breaks or really to enjoy (which is where food also began to serve as a reliable way to take a break).
All of these things being a big mistake because in that isolation, I grew more and more ashamed. I didn’t get the support I needed. After all, if there is one thing that addiction and feelings of being out-of-control thrives in, it’s isolation and loneliness. It was inexplicable to me why I was so achieving and hardworking yet no matter what I tried, I couldn’t figure out how to stop binge eating.
A big part of healing binge eating for me was, learning to embrace and love the parts of myself that I had disowned for so long. For me, I had a big part of me that was sensitive, needed more time and space for rest and play. It was the part of me that hated competition and loved collaborating with others. It was the part of me that wanted so bad to be truly myself with people and to be seen exactly as I was.
One of the biggest turning points I had was in recognizing that my insecurities were strengths. Being “sensitive,” I was great at listening to others and connecting the dots to them. Having an “overactive mind” that loved to go DEEP into things (another part of myself I didn’t embrace for the longest time) I also often went down the psychological rabbit hole and wanted to learn all I could about the field. In remember the sense of peace, I felt immediately the moment I embraced this aspect. Up until that point though, I had suppressed this part of me, I had made it wrong, and because of that my body/subconscious mind was looking for others ways to make up for this need. In finally owning up to my needs, I started to build a life that honored those instead of denied them… and the binge eating healed as a result.
So how can you begin this process of returning to wholeness? One way to start is to looking at what you are insecure about in yourself. What are the positive aspects of this trait? After all, if you’re insecure about being shy, perhaps a strength in this is that you are great at observing people and make wiser choices on who to engage with. If you’re insecure about being called “cheap,” perhaps the strength in this is that you know how to make every dollar count.
What you both hate about and admire about different people reflects aspects of yourself that you have not yet claimed. The saying goes, “If you spot it, you got it.”
“The degree to which you despise a trait in others, is the degree to which you have suppressed that trait in yourself. On the other hand, the degree to which you admire and are drawn to traits in others, also reflects the degree which you have suppressed this within yourself.”
Excerpt from The Completion Process by Teal Swan
We fall in love with the people who exhibit traits we want for ourselves because deep down our souls want to get back to wholeness and full love of ourselves.
Another way is to look at a place in your life that you feel stuck – whether it be with food or another area of life. You can bet there is some part of you in resistance, that is calling for you to finally pay attention. After all, I truly believe we live in a friendly Universe, where Life is always giving us signs on what’s next for us to grow.
I had a client who wanted so bad to prioritize her health and exercise yet had no time. In our time together, we found the original “trauma,” a time in her life where she learned she should always take the lead in situations. Her relationship with food told her it was time to reintegrate the part of her that lets things go and relies on other people . After all, that would free up more time for her own priorities and self-care. The work then was on saying “no” in order to start saying “yes” to herself by setting healthy boundaries. In filling her cup up first, she was then able to give more to others.
Another one of my clients struggled with eating while bored and in the house. Her relationship with food reflected a need for pleasure in her life. She had been conditioned (like most of us) to value following the rules and so she ended up in a job that was safe and bored out of her mind. It was time then to write her own rules and to really explore what pleasure was for her in a long-term vision and plan for her life.
So what is Life calling you to finally integrate? What parts of yourself have you disowned up until this point that are calling for your attention? Instead of ignoring the signs that point to our needs, we need to start paying attention to them.
Above all, love,