While in supervision with a supervisee who is working toward licensure, I was giving him feedback on his therapy interventions. It was a session in which he received a lot of direct feedback from me. He always approaches his work and our sessions with openness and an eagerness to learn but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Before sharing another piece of feedback, this time I warned him it was coming, “I have something else to suggest. Are you ready?”
“Can’t I eat cake instead…?” he asked.
I cracked up with laughter. Then he did too.
In that one moment, he captured my entire work with clients! He’s a writer as well as a counselor, so his words often perfectly capture the moment. This time, he captured you (and where I used to be too).
When life was difficult or I had a feeling… I would eat cake instead. I used to eat cake when I felt sad, mad, hurt, scared, ashamed and well, every feeling under the sun…even joy. I used to eat cake to take away the pain of the past and the shame I felt inside. It was probably effective. Until it no longer was and my life instead was filled with constant thoughts of food and how terrible I looked.
Can you relate?
When my clients ask me if they can eat cake instead (which they often ask, just in different words), I say yes! Yes, you always have the choice to avoid what’s difficult in life. There’s no shame in doing that. We all do sometimes. The only problem is that if you do this too often, you never get to live the life you really want. That’s what I help people do… live their authentic life by choosing to feel, instead of eat. There are tools to help you do this too.
Now I eat cake only when I’m hungry and cake is exactly what I want. And it isn’t even that often. It’s because I allow myself to eat cake. Cake is no longer a strong, uncontrollable have-to-have-it-now food. There’s no barrier to me and the cake. I can have it if I want. Do I want it now? No. I don’t. So I don’t eat it. Life goes on.
I also feel my feelings when they come up. So I don’t need to eat cake instead. On the rare occasions that I do this, I no longer beat myself up for it. I notice it and learn from it. This is true freedom from a food-focused life.
I want that for you too! One of the most helpful steps you can take is to let yourself eat the cake. If you haven’t already, sign up for my newsletter at the left side and you will get a video to learn how to take this step and why it works so well!