Comfort vs. Numbing

In her book, The Power of Vulnerability’, Brene Brown, a world-renowned Shame Researcher says that, ‘We are the most in debt, obese, addicted, medicated adult cohort in history.’

Let’s just take a minute to let that settle in for a second.

I don’t know about you – but that hit me hard when I read that.

 

Why are we this way? Because we

 numb.

 

In diet culture, everyone is always taking about emotional eating and how it’s so bad. But I realized after reading Brene Brown’s piece on numbing, that it’s not emotional eating that’s the problem at all – it’s the fact that we NUMB our emotions with food.
We eat with emotion all the time. We eat when we’re happy, excited, celebratory, sad, even angry. We can not, NOT eat without emotion because we’re human and we’re always feeling! Eating with emotion can be a comforting experience and one that is healthy.
It’s when we eat to NUMB our emotions that we have an issue.

A

 piece of chocolate after dinner because you crave something sweet is comforting. Finding yourself at the bottom of a tub of ice cream and not being able to stop on the way down – that’s numbing.

 

 

Numbing happens when we’re not fully

 engaged in 

our lives.

If you have things that make you feel like you need to numb out – the issue is not with food – the issue is with the thing that you’re numbing from.

 

If you need a glass of wine at the end of the day when you come home to wind down. If you have a late night snacking habit that you can’t seem to control. If you can’t have chocolate in your house because you know you’ll eat every last bite – you may have an issue with numbing.

 

And the solution, is not to simply stop the habits. The solution
involves

looking at the quality of your life and what you’re avoiding or not doing.

 

I will leave you with this story that Brene tells in her book about an

exchange that she had with her therapist

that changed everything for her

. Previously

, because of a history of addiction with her family, Brene had

given up smoking

 and

drinking, and

at the time she had just given up

sugar and

wheat

.

In her session with her therapist, she says that she has no more vices or tools to help her cope with everything going on around her. She says

, “I feel like a turtle, without a shell in a briar patch. I need a shell

!

Give me a tool or something to help me from getting pricked all the time

! I have nothing left.

Her therapist

looks at her and says

, “Brene, you don’t need a shell – what you need to do

,

is get out of the briar patch.”

W

e don’t need to give up all the things that help us numb. What we need to do is to look at the things that are causing us to numb in the first place.


So 

for this week I invite you to ask yourself –

what is your briar patch?