Cate is bold, warm, colorful, a top sales woman, mom, and has a beautiful accent.
I could listen to her talk all day.
She noticed this week in our private coaching call that she has been beating herself up, feeling uncomfortable in her body, frustrated with her “slow progress” in losing weight, and impatient with herself for not making “bigger progress.”
So I asked her the most important question:
“How do you want to feel?
Not how she wants to look, not how she wants to be seen, but how she wants to feel.”
This is something I discuss at length in my book Women, Food, And Desire, something Danielle Laporte writes about in Desire Map, and what Lisa Fabrega teaches in her 7 Soul Gates program.
How do you want to feel?
And then, the important follow up, what can you do to create that feeling in your life now?
Cate got still, and very clearly said, “Peaceful. I could say ‘happy,’ but honestly, I just want to feel peaceful.”
Cate has been, as we all do at times, fighting her innate desires, both her “darkness” and “lightness.”
So I shared with her an important truth:
We all have dark and light aspects of ourselves. When we try to cover up one part of who we are, we end up covering all of our lightness, too. We hide our brilliance when we try and squash our darkness.
Perhaps most importantly, it feels bad to your true self, your body and soul, when you fight who you are. So you end up punishing yourself. With food, or just those nasty thoughts that play over and over.
We get stuck in a struggle, distracted by the effort required to only present one side of ourselves all the time.
And that struggle is certainly not peaceful.
“So what are you trying to hide? What aspect of yourself are you trying to keep from the world?” I asked.
“I have this secret shame I’ve been trying to hide: I love attention. I would love to take singing lessons, but I’m so afraid! I’m fighting this need for attention and trying to make myself bland. But it’s not working!”
“Wonderful! Yes!” I agreed with her. “You’re failing at making yourself bland, and I’m so glad! But you’re viewing this failing as a problem, when in reality it’s good!”
She’s a vivacious, outspoken woman who loves her rock n’ roll t-shirts. She’s a top sales person in her field. She’s mom to two energetic boys.
She is so far from bland.
I continued, “Yes! We all need and love attention. We need attention from the moment we are born to survive. We need attention to thrive as children. We need attention so that we grow and connect with our families and community. It’s just a universal need.”
(BTW, I’m so glad there are people who embrace their desire for attention! What would my life be without Lady Gaga or Debbie Harry from Blondie? I LOVE those women and their gift of performing!)
Here’s what I had her do, in order to accept, enjoy, and begin to benefit from her love for attention:
I had her look at me, in the eyes, and tell me “I love attention!” as if she were describing her favorite chocolate cake.
“Tell me how much you love attention, as if it was the best thing about you.”
Her eyes lit up as she started telling me how much she loves attention, without apology.
Now that she felt more connected and proud of her desire for attention, she felt more confident in signing up for a singing lesson, something she’s wanted for a long time.
“Now Cate: imagine you keep giving yourself things like singing lessons – things you want that make you feel good. Things that help you feel peaceful because you stop fighting yourself. How will you eat then? What would happen with your emotional eating?”
“I wouldn’t need to emotionally overeat. I mean, maybe it would happen sometimes, but I would just feel good more often, and wouldn’t do those self-destructive things as often.”
By the end of our coaching call, her energy and attitude had totally shifted.
A week later, she was signed up for her first singing lesson, and had even bought herself a brand new car, bright red to honor her hard work and success in sales.
She was starting to feel aligned. Strong. Peaceful.
And, yes, even happy.
When we honor all of our desires, even the ones we think are “bad,” we start to love ourselves for who we really are: right now. And have a lot more fun doing it!