Today I’m going to talk about how fear of failure can keep you stuck on a never-ending cycle of dieting. When you challenge and work through this conflict about failure, you can’t fail to lose.
Let’s talk about failure.
Imagine two people – let’s call them Darren and Darcy, who both put in a job application at some company, and neither of them get hired.
Darcy’s response is, “I’m so bummed I didn’t get that job. Hopefully I’ll get the next one.”
And she starts applying for new positions.
Darren, on the other hand, is despondent. He says, “I’m a total failure because I didn’t get that job. I’m a loser.”
When Darren labels himself a loser and a failure, he feels a lot of shame, and is likely to use food for comfort.
Shame has to do with our identity and sense of self.
There is a huge difference between “failing” and “being a failure.”
“Failing” has to do with what you’re doing or not doing.
“Being a failure” has to do with you as a person. It means you’re not good enough, and there’s something wrong with you.
When your definition of failure goes beyond the fact of failing to achieve a goal, and takes on the meaning of being a failure as a person, that may feel unbearable.
It can be easier to fail at losing weight or being healthy, which pretty much guarantees failure, than it is to feel terrible about yourself if you try really hard and don’t meet your goal.
If fear of failure is keeping you stuck, then confront the idea that you are a failure if you fail. Learn to consider yourself a person who has tried and failed, not a failure as a person. And be sure to congratulate yourself for having the courage to tackle a difficult challenge.
Food For Thought:
What were the messages you got about success and failure as a child?
What does failure say about you?
How do you support yourself in difficult times?
If you don’t address the underlying reasons for why you’re bingeing or overeating, it is difficult to stop. You have identify and process the underlying emotions and conflicts that are leading to the what’s going on with food, instead of addressing the behavior itself.
And that’s how you win the diet war.
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