Numbing VS Nourishing

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Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

When you’re tired, down, defeated, sad, alone, lost…do you nourish your mind, body, and spirit? Or do you numb it?

So often when we’re experiencing any of the above emotions (and many others) instead of feeding ourselves what we need, we fill up on junk that may give a moment of release, but ultimately robs you of the opportunity to truly find a sense of replenishment and energy. I’m not just talking about diet here- we are what we eat. But we are also what we watch, read, think, how we sleep, what we believe in, who we spend time with…we are a culmination of many habits, preferences, and circumstances.

To make matters of numbing vs nourishing all the more confusing, we’re bombarded with messages on social media, tv, movies, music, everywhere really, with false information about what will make us feel better.

But the reality is that chugging Fanta in the street will never be as exciting as it appears in the ad. Binge-watching Seinfeld for the millionth time (it’s a classic, I agree), because you just need to zone out for a bit, will not give your mind the peace it craves. Eating the entire cake will not make the stressful situation in your life any less stressful or any more dealt with. And that impromptu shopping spree? It’ll only disguise the inferiority and fears you feel for a hot second. But we all know this, right?

TV is not inherently evil. Fanta and sodas probably are not either. Shopping can be pretty fun. And I, for one, really love chocolate cake. But when we use decadence, laziness, sugar, caffeine, booze, among tons of other stimulants and numbing-agents, to keep us from feeling what we’re going through, we’re losing out. Instead, is it possible to set these indulgences in our lives aside as just that? To enjoy them in a way that honors our growth? Is it possible to look into the behaviors that we’ve called “resting” and call them out for what they really are? Hiding. Procrastinating. Numbing. 

How do you respond to your body’s call for rest? For nourishment? What are some ways we can replenish ourselves without the boozing, the bingeing, and the self-loathing?

 

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The Myth of “Starting Over” and Why it Matters.

“Numb the dark and you numb the light.” Brene Brown

    In the midst of new surroundings, schedules, jobs, and relationships, the topic of “new starts” is popular. Perhaps because it’s a new school year, and I live in a college town, I feel like I’m hearing hopeful sentiments for new starts all around me. If these sentiments are expressed the way I’ve expressed this desire, it’s usually with the imagined hope of being this brand-spankin’ new person who does all the things they didn’t before, who never falls behind, who suddenly makes better decisions, and all the troubles and habits and issues from the past are mysteriously gone from the present. I’ve done this. I still do this.

   A desire to “start over” shows there’s awareness of things not serving our best selves and purposes. And that’s noble. But to shove those parts of ourselves and our lives into our past and bury them there, indulging in the shame we carry over these things, that’s not moving forward. That is not growth. In fact, it’s hiding. Its numbing ourselves from the discomfort we’d feel if we really face these things head-on. Ultimately, it diverts us from the work that needs to be done to become these “best selves” that we’re imagining we’re going to be. When we get that desire to “start over” in our lives, and I’m looking at myself here too, we need to ask why.

    Why do you feel the need to “start over”? What about your experiences and life causes you so much guilt, shame, or fear that you feel like it can’t be any part of this new self you’re creating? Letting things die, part of ourselves, experiences, is an important part of growing. But we must face our shame, feel it, and choose to give ourselves grace and love despite failings, imperfections, and discomfort; that’s where healing and real growth, real change, begins. This is not to suggest that we’ll then tote our pains with us through life. Everywhere you’ve been, people you’ve known, things you’ve done, they’ll be with you forever; BUT you get to choose at what capacity they affect, if at all, your life. 

    Every part of our lives has value even if looking back over it makes you cringe. Accepting the cringe-worthy, a vital part of self-acceptance, allows us to put those events, habits, and relationships aside. We can leave them in the past with a sense of peace because we know that they are not shameful or embarrassing; they’re a vital part of who we are now. For myself and others who seek to “start over” when life isn’t looking the way we want, who sometimes want to hide away who and how we’ve been, I challenge you to not. Instead of “starting over,” offer up a hefty dose of grace and self-love, feel what you feel, and simply move forward with what you are, how you are, who you are right now.