A lot of the work that I have done has been on my emotions. These could have been those that I am feeling now at this very moment, or at some time in the past that I have yet to acknowledge and deal with. One of those emotions was that of guilt and/or shame and it was connected to meals I was served up by my parents.
I can remember being aged about 7 and I was sitting at the dinner table with my parents and my brother, who is three years older than me, and we were having Sunday dinner. It was a roast with roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy. I didn’t want to eat all my dinner for whatever reason. So I was told by my mother that if I didn’t eat my dinner there was a child in Africa who had no food at all and who would be very grateful to get my dinner.
Now being 7 years old I didn’t dare answer back so I gradually stuffed all the dinner into my mouth and eventually it was all gone. All the time I was thinking to myself how on earth do they intend to pack up this roast dinner with all the vegetables, roast potatoes and gravy? Are they going to put it in an envelope and post it to Africa? How will they know which child will get the dinner? What state will the food be in when it gets to Africa which is trillions of miles away? How will they know if a child in Africa has eaten it? What if that child doesn’t want it, will it be sent back to me? And so the thoughts went on.
All the while I was feeling guilty for apparently wasting food and shameful because I was depriving a child in Africa of a dinner. And these emotions and feelings were left undealt with until I worked through them and wrote about how angry I was that they had made me eat all that food I didn’t want and resentful of that child in Africa who wanted my food. I was hurt that this emotional blackmail was used on me. I was afraid that if I didn’t eat all the food my parents would not love me any more and this led to me feeling insecure. As I said I felt guilty for wasting food. But I loved my parents and I understand now that they were doing the best they could and I can now forgive them and I want them to know that I love them still and always will.
Part of this learning for me was writing my thoughts and experiences in my journal. Something I was quite resistant to at first, but I have benefited so much and learned so much about me that I love it now and enjoy writing in it every day and noting my continued progress.
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Creedence – Confidence for You
International Confidence Coach, Motivational Speaker, Author
This is a beautiful post Maggie. I can see how you could have relate eating to feeling guilty for a huge part of your life. It’s great you have learned forgiveness and release of these useless emotions.