All of us wish we’d had perfect childhoods, with a mother and father who modeled ideal parental attitudes and taught us to internalize the tenets of self-love. Many of us, however, did not. Perhaps you grew up with no one to model for you that you were truly valuable, that your thoughts were appreciated, that your feelings deserved tending to, or that your worth was deeply appreciated. And whatever was modeled—positive or negative—became the model for your relationship with your adult self. That is simply how adult personas form.

If you were neglected as a child, you learned to neglect yourself as an adult. If you were betrayed as a child, you learned to betray yourself as an adult. If you were unappreciated as a child, you grew up with a lack of self-appreciation. If no one cared about your feelings as a child, you didn’t know how to care for your own feelings once you became an adult. Maybe on some level your parents weren’t there for you; and now, in the moment when you overeat, you simply repeat the pattern by failing to be there for yourself.

Or your parent or parents might have loved you very much yet simply lacked the psychological tools to help you build an emotionally healthy relationship with yourself. It’s only recently, in historical terms, that society has even considered the possibility that children have valuable thoughts of their own. Looking back into your childhood isn’t about figuring out whom you can blame, or building a case to justify feelings of victimization. It’s simply about identifying your wound so the medicine of love can be applied correctly.

A way to repair a broken childhood is to allow God to re-parent you. As a child, you had no choice but to depend on your parents’ love...and where it was twisted or absent, you suffered accordingly. Yet now you are no longer a child, and can redo your childhood by remembering Whose child you truly are. By seeing that you are a child of God—by recognizing the unwavering love and mercy He extends to you every moment of the day—you begin to realign your attitudes toward yourself with His attitudes toward you. You no longer need to model anyone’s neglect of you; you need only model God’s love for you.

As you reestablish the divine connection that was severed by any harshness in your childhood, your mind begins to move away from thoughts that weaken you and instead think thoughts that strengthen you. You will learn to be there for yourself, and in a moment when you are there for yourself, you simply don’t want to behave self-destructively. It won’t be so hard to commit to right eating once you’ve recommitted to yourself. It will be natural. Appetites that reflect an unloving attitude toward yourself will simply fall by the wayside, like leaves in autumn when their season is done.

Next: The questions you need to ask yourself
Taken from A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons For Surrendering Your Weight Forever, by Marianne Williamson (Hay House 2010).


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