The thing is not the thing

“Until you learn to heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed into the future. You can bandage it with food, alcohol, drugs or work, but eventually it will stain your life and you will continue to bleed.”   -Iyanla Vanzant

Healing the wounds of the past begins by acknowledging the wounds of the past. If that sounds simple, think again. Many of us go through our days as the walking wounded, not even realizing that we’ve been injured in the first place. Why? Because we wear a bandage of avoidance tactics that allow us to make our problem about the bandage rather than what’s underneath that we’re neglecting to address.

Avoidance tactics come in many forms. Obviously, dissatisfaction with your body is a common one, yet many people do not realize that their body and their dissatisfaction with it is not actually the problem, but a bandage they place over the true wound they carry to avoid addressing that wound. How can they address something they don’t even know they have? Perhaps that sounds confusing. Maybe you are shaking your head, thinking, “no- -I really do have a problem, and it’s not from any past wound. My problem is that I can’t not overeat so I am overweight and it’s causing me health and self-esteem problems. My being overweight clearly is the problem in my case.”  Let’s play out a scenario. Your weight loss efforts have thus far been unsuccessful, so you decide to go balls to the wall and have gastric bypass surgery. The surgery is a success and you are no longer physically able to eat large amounts of food without becoming ill. You lose weight rapidly because the pleasure of overeating no longer is greater than the pain involved afterward. You begin exercising and soon you are pleased with the results you see in the mirror. Your body is looking good. But something is still not right. You sense this, but you can’t put your finger on what exactly it is. And now you don’t know what to do to make it better, to make you feel “settled” inside. Overeating is no longer comforting since it makes you sick. You can’t focus your self-hatred on how awful your body looks because now your body looks like you always wanted it to look and yet, things still aren’t perfectAnd no, they will never be perfect, realistically, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is figuring out what hurt/heartache/trauma/anxiety/fear, etc… has been attempting to reveal itself only to have you continue to bury it under your bandage. What unidentified dragon have you been hiding from behind a wall of self-dissatisfaction and avoidance tactics? You have now reached a jumping off point in your evolvement where you will either take up a different avoidance tactic (“switching addictions”) or you will decide once and for all to rip off the bandage and finally take a good look to see what it is you’ve been running from all this time.
The longer you stand strong in the face of your dragon, looking it squarely in the eye, the less frightening it will become. And eventually the day will come when you will be ready to take it down and utilize it. On your terms.

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