Updated: Nov 8
Deprivation and I go way back. I used to think this was discipline. I used to think this was strength. I could weaponize it in every format imaginable. Cutting out certain foods or amounts of food. Eliminating any spending on myself. Limiting sleep. Avoiding TV. Devoted sexual abstinence. Excluding anything pleasurable or fun. Depriving myself of rest and anything “unproductive”. I had many pious names for my self-deprivation. Discipline. Cleanse. Detox. Responsibility. Productivity. Even, Righteousness. These all served to convince myself I was a good person. I was disciplined and in control of myself. I was worth something. Maybe, even that I was BETTER than others. Looking back, my deprivation was motivated by deep insecurity and fear. I was constantly striving to earn my worth. I was disturbed by the nagging feeling I was not good enough. After years and years of well calculated and sadistic strategies of deprivation, nothing worked. I could be incredibly disciplined. I could cut out entire food groups. I could eat less. I could wake up at 5:00 and force myself through hours of cardio. I could survive on the tiniest amounts of money. I could go months without watching tv. I could go years without sex. I could work myself all waking hours. And yet, I still didn’t feel good enough. I was terrified if I gave myself what I craved, I would want more. And what if I lost control? What if my desires consumed me? I hid behind my deprivation as if my self-inflicted suffering was a shield. It simply masked the fears I had about what would happen if I gave myself permission to have what I wanted. As I got willing to face that fear of myself, I started to shift my thinking. Instead of identifying what I wanted to CUT OUT of my life, I began to focus on what I wanted to ADD. More healthy foods. More passionate work. More meaningful experiences. More intentions with my time. More movement. More abundance. More creativity. More flow and heart-directed action. More connection. More honor. More ALIVENESS. By shifting my attention to what I wanted MORE OF instead of what I wanted LESS OF, everything changed. I was no longer motivated by fear of myself, but rather by inspiration. Deprivation was governed by fear and that is no longer acceptable to me. I don’t live a life with fear in the driver’s seat. I want to focus on the things that make me feel the most ALIVE, INSPIRED, AND PASSIONATE. I no longer participate in cleanses and detoxes and strategies to make myself more disciplined. Today, I make space for my desires. I honor them and acknowledge them. My desires are not my enemies. They are the whispers of my heart - not here to threaten me, but to enhance and enrich my life. What do you get to give yourself permission to have today? What piece of yourself have you been judging and fearing?