Have you ever heard of the term ’emotional eating’?

Emotional eating is when someone eats foods that make them feel good (like foods high in sugar or carbohydrates) in order to counteract negative feelings of lets say, feeling unloved or loneliness. The problem is that if a person isn’t feeling good about themselves, eating something nice might be able to distract them from their inner pain for a while, but there is no way that the physical satisfaction of tantalised tastebuds or a swelling stomach is truly going to be able to take away the pain that one is feeling inside their heart.

An example of this idea: Lets say there is a girl called Samantha who was unloved as a child. She may now believe and feel that she is unloveable. She may struggle, because of this, with relationships. She may feel so, so lonely. But chowing down a large helping of hot chips and drinking with it a couple of Chillas will only be distracting herself from her inner pain for a while, but it will never take it away, even a bit of it… To do that there is only one option… Samantha needs to learn to see her inner beauty and her inner greatness and to love herself unconditionally… And then, everything else will flow from that.

So… most people we know are probably not chronic emotional eaters. However, there is something like emotional eating that people we know may be doing, and, in fact, we too may be engaging in this as well. So what is this thing that I am talking about? Well, before I say it, I need to preface with the point that a person needs to be really intellectual honest to hear this idea and to admit that “Yes. It does apply to me” if in fact it does. I’m going to suggest something that many people would say is rubbish and even if they accept it to be true they will say it certainly doesn’t apply to them.

So here goes… Apart from having a part of us that desperately needs to feel loved (whether we are female or male, extroverted or introverted), we also have a part of us that desperately needs… meaning.

This point most people wouldn’t argue with. Every person born into this world… including you, me, every criminal, every x-rated film star, every business tycoon, every sportsman and every coach potato will feel unfulfilled if we don’t feel that there is real meaning in the life that we are living. However, just as someone who feels unloved may distract themselves from that inner emptiness by eating, someone who feels unfulfilled due to a lack of meaning in their life may well do a similar thing. We may substitute something that really isn’t providing us what we really need – but it distracts us in some way, so we don’t hear that inner yearning for true fulfillment any more.

What are these distractions that we may engage in, in an emotional eating type way, to distract us from our inner yearning for real meaning? Well, it could be anything. It could be movies. It could be our sports team. It could be a hobby. It could be our career. And by the way, I am not saying that working hard at one’s career is a bad thing. I am just saying that some people make career success an almost all encompassing pursuit so much so that their inner cry for something more isn’t heard.

So… Where am I going with this is this: I think that it is very, very wise to take time out to ask one’s self the following 3 questions:

  • Am I in touch with my inner desire for fulfillment / meaning?
  • Outside of the area of relationships with others, what do I consider to be truly meaningful that would satisfy this inner yearning and give me the ultimate fulfillment?
  • Does it really matter if I substitute non meaningful pursuits if at the end of the day that does distract me from my inner yearning for fulfillment / meaning?

I encourage you to take 7 minutes to ask yourself these questions. It is so important to listen carefully to our inner yearnings for that which is truly valuable and meangful to us.

(Thank you so much for reading! I would love to hear your comments / thoughts, which you can leave below.)

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