July Self-Care: How to Surrender

Things work out if we surrender.


Surrendering is quite possibly the most difficult, and therefore worthwhile, thing that I do.

Surrendering does not mean giving up or failing – it means placing what you most want to control into the hands of something you believe in. For me, that can be trust in my body’s own wisdom, trust in the infinite love of the universe, and lately, a spiritual power that, to me, is called God. Basically, trust in something that is larger than yourself.


It’s terrifying to surrender, to give up the facade of control. It is also comforting. After reading “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson, I’ve taken to saying this phrase in many forms:


“I don’t know how to….., but I am willing to try.”


I don’t know how to stop being afraid, but I am willing to try.


I don’t know how to stop being ashamed, but I am willing to try.


I don’t know how to stop watching tv, but I am willing to try.


One of the biggest, most toxic barriers we have is self-judgement. I write a lot about the importance of self-love, but lately I’ve been focusing on self-acceptance. It is easy for me to say to myself that I love myself unconditionally, because it is true. But when specific behaviors of mine come up that I don’t like or am uncomfortable with or know are not the healthiest – I usually compound my problem by adding in judgment.


I judge myself for watching tv. I always think there is something better that I should be doing, something more worthy of accomplishing, etc, etc. That is my ego speaking. The ego drives fear-based thinking and choices, and I feel that later on when I don’t have so much personal time, I’ll regret watching tv. That’s fear talking. I tried analyzing when I want to watch tv and if I am making the choice out of fear or out of love. Sometimes I watch tv to numb myself from shame, or to avoid difficult emotions, or because I feel lonely. I shut down for an entire 3 days before I moved to Japan because I was scared, so I watched tv instead of packing or spending time with people. Sometimes I watch tv because it is relaxing or enjoyable, and I let myself have the pleasure. Even there, I use the term “let myself”. But I thought I had a good solution in deciding to watch tv when it was a love-choice, and doing something else to feel better when it was a fear-choice.


So it happened on Monday that I had a very stressful day at work and I came home and wanted to watch tv. I asked myself if I was making the choice out of love or fear, and the answer was fear. And this time, I did it anyway.


I felt guilty, but I ignored the guilt. I ignored it so much that I ate three servings of homemade chocolate. I was very full, and I had eaten emotionally – something that hasn’t happened in a while.


I punished myself with food because I made a “bad” choice in watching tv even when I knew it was a fear-choice. The food as punishment brought back a lot of memories. But I didn’t fall back into the trap of self-abuse, eating for comfort, and then more self-abuse.


I took out a notebook, and I wrote a letter to myself. I told myself that I figured out why I did what I did, and that was ok. I forgave myself and said I would do better tomorrow. I did do better the next day, and today I am also trying to treat myself in the most loving way possible.


Over the years, I’ve taken the emotional charge out of most foods. It doesn’t so much matter to me what I eat, but that I’m eating and enjoying it with people I love. I wrote about food nostalgia when I first went gluten-free, and the upcoming interview series I have with Lillian of Lillian’s Test Kitchen explores it even more. I write about emotional eating on the blog and share my “emotional cravings.”


I no longer crave specific food, but I crave how it has made me feel in the past.


I figured out the same thing about tv.


I listened to this Health Nuts podcast with Brittany Watkins about emotional eating and EFT. It is incredibly insightful and I have started following her work with the Emotional Freedom Technique. I believe that attaining balance is removing obstacles, and most obstacles are self-created. Brittany emphasizes finding memories from your past and how they relate to how want to feel in the present. She specializes in emotional eating, but I realized I have the same thing with tv.


Just like Mom’s apple pie can bring back feelings of safety, comfort, and love, I have fond memories of watching tv with my family. We used to all sit around and watch The Wonder Years or Seinfeld (apparently my parents thought all the sex jokes would go over our heads, which amazingly they did). In the summer, we would rush home from playing outside to watch the first season of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire with Regis, sweaty and full of bug bites and shouting at the tv all at once with our answers. My family would watch the original Iron Chef together, the World Cup (we all played soccer), and the Olympics. I have so many good memories of family time all around the tv together. And when I’m alone and live so far away from them in Japan, I probably want to recreate that feeling sometimes.


Using EFT, you can remove the emotional charge from things, so you eat chocolate but you don’t need it. You won’t rip someone’s face off in order to have all the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. You get to keep your wonderful memories with food, and you can keep your trigger food in your life too, eventually. It just won’t be a trigger food anymore. I was fascinated, looking back on my own life, on the interplay that food had in certain memories. Using EFT is easy, very quick, and highly effective. Check out Brittany’s introduction video here.


I don’t yet know how to have tv in my life, or if I need to have it at all. But I’m willing to try and figure it out. I’m willing to accept that I am not a bad person for wanting to watch tv. I’m willing to find other ways to express that love and family connection I want to have in my life. And I will stop judging myself for it. I’m going to surrender this conundrum, to let it go into the Universe, and see what loving answer I get in return.

Things work out if we surrender.


From our main hostess, Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness, on our July Self Care retreat!

A bit more on our retreat:

These posts are to inspire you all to make July a month of reflecting on self-care and the many ways to nourish ourselves.  We encourage everyone to participate in this event in a way that feels appropriate to them, whether through making different choices around food, adding in movement, personal reflection, journaling or other self-care.  If you would like to share your experience with self-care, we would love to include you in the experience, whether you join us for one week or every week. We ask that you link back to this post so that more people can learn about this retreat, and leave a comment for the weekly theme host, too! That way, we can make sure we see your post and that you’re entered into the drawing.

Before we get into the “rules”, know that the main “rule” is to relax, enjoy, take good care of yourself and have fun.

Why join us? Because self-care takes a village, too.

I’d also love to hear from anyone out there who wants to share their self-care goals! We also have a Facebook group and we’d love to have you join us! Just send along a request (it’s listed as a private group.)

As a little added incentive, for each post on your goals and your progress you link back here or one of the other co-hosts, you’ll be entered to receive a $50 gift certificate toNuts.com  (they are not sponsoring, I just wanted something with healthy gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, etc. options)

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