When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
-Kahlil Gibran

From "The Joy of Weight Loss: A Spiritual Guide to Easy Fitness" by Norris Chumley:

So many of us hate ourselves deep down, avoid making changes, and hold on to our problems because that's what we're used to. We have lifelong investments in misery and it's really hard to put them aside... The truth is, we feel we're supposed to be in constant need and to suffer. We're supposed to hate ourselves, supposed to be fat, supposed to overeat, supposed to be sick. We've been trained to be incomplete and needy from birth. Our culture dictates it. We're supposed to be constantly hungry so we'll buy food products; we're supposed to be sickly to we'll buy medicines; we have to be fat so we can constantly purchase diet products; we're trained to feel ugly or esthetically inferior so we'll invest in fashion and cosmetics. Why do advertisers pick the most beautiful, perfect-looking people as models? So we'll feel inferior, dislike ourselves som more, and buy whatever they're selling in hopes of getting what we need. And on and on. That's one cause of self-esteem. But there's an even deeper one.

Many parents, caregivers, and teachers inadvertently teach us to hate ourselves, in order for us to conform to society and be "normal." We were always supposed to be "good little children," the way others wanted us to be, and not the natural selves we were.

Some of us, from extreme cases of childhood criticism, abusive or dysfunctional families, got so much criticism and emotional pounding that we really shut down our whole personalities. We emotionally numbed ourselves, turned of uniqueness off, and became terrified of doing anything different. We learned to hate ourselves a lot, so that the adults around us would stop torturing us. It snowballed, and no matter how shut-off or deep into the shell we got, we still got hurt. Where was the relief? Where was the only easy comfort and safety? In food.

Please understand... you're not alone, and you're going to be OK-because you actually are already OK. Nearly everyone alive has some degree of sorrow, self-depreciation, or feelings of inferiority. I believe that overweight people just have a lot more of it.

If you're one of us who is hurting inside, who longs for some real joy; happiness and relief-congratulations. The more you hurt, the more you'll be able to rise above it. The more you truly want joy, the more you'll do in order to get it.

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Also on Beliefnet:

  • The Joy of Weight Loss, with Norris Chumley

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