The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Filling Instead of Feeling


As I was interviewing fertility advocate, and sex educator, Pamela Madsen on my Blog Talk Radio show called It’s All About Relationships, we were speaking about insatiablilty, eating disorders, body image and sexuality. She was mentioning the ways in which we fill ourselves up when there is an emptiness within us. She feels we are “so hungry and we keep reaching for more and more. People are doing this insatiable behavior. We don’t slow down to feel and allow our bodies to digest our experiences. We distract ourselves from what might be uncomfortable.”


She spoke of her eating disorder which took the form of bulimia, and the words “filling instead of feeling” came to me. One of my hats is as an addictions counselor and over the years, I have worked with people who have that insatiable ‘hole in the soul.’ How often do we fill ourselves with food, drugs, shopping, gambling, hoarding, unhealthy sexual activities and high risk behavior when what we really want is pleasure?  When one addiction is handled, another might jump right into that space.

What were you taught about pleasure?  Was it that it is self indulgent, bad, wrong….or was it encouraged? I was allowed to  play in the mud, finger paint, run clay and dough through my fingers, splash in puddles, get messy. My wise parents knew that laundry detergent and bubble baths were at the ready. Tears and laughter were welcome in our home, although my father was sensitive to our pain, so he had a hard time watching us cry. Anger wasn’t overtly expressed, so I am learning to feel that now.  Boo boos were kissed away and for better or worse, I learned to do the same for others when perhaps they would be better served by feeling. We can’t heal what we don’t feel.  What were you taught about handling discomfort? Some quickly rush to self medicate, rather than sit with it. Mine takes the form of activity; doing instead of being. More often, I am able to just be with my own pain, emoting, rather than stuffing out of fear that I won’t be able to handle it. Of course I always do, And of course you do too.

Not that there’s anything wrong with an occasional cupcake.

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