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Loneliness and Longing
Loneliness and Longing
It has been 5 years since my mother died.
It is my son’s 5th birthday.
A Lot can change in 5 years – don’t be fooled by life’s seaming consistency and repetitiveness.
Yet- even though I had that major turning point and life change, you do eventually adjust to the new norm. The transition of adjusting to the new norm, is painful in itself.
I’d say, for the first few months after my mother died, I felt the pain of a sharp knife in my body constantly being poked at. The pain is unbearable, but you at least have a strong connection to the one you lost.
Yes, it gets easier over time, but there’s no way of knowing how much time it will take to get easier.
For me, it’s been a few years. But as the fog did start to lift, and the pain abated ever so slightly, the grief of not thinking about your loved and lost one begins to set in. Maybe I wouldn’t even call it grief, it’s somewhere in between loneliness and longing.
Here we are, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The loneliness and longing hangs over my head. Not just because this is when my life changed forever, but because we so badly want to do teshuvah and we don’t always really know how to.
We long for Hashem and his closeness, our teshuva-our returning – and His returning to us.
When we sin, we separate ourselves from G-d. But when we are in pain, we also feel distance and separateness from G-d. At least I do. Some get closer and call out, others question and step back.
And at the same time, we are taught that our suffering actually shapes us.
Many times life takes us on a circuitous route.
For example, many times, people become very successful in their lives and careers because they struggled with something and overcame it. Now they understand the struggle and pain, they know about the setbacks, they know the road to recovery and they get to feel the joy of helping others overcome.
For me- that is certainly true. I am so keenly aware of my teenage self, hemming and hawing over the real questions in life- “to eat or not to eat.”
Of course, I am being sarcastic. No one should ever think about that question for more than 5 minutes tops. But, there I was, heavily influenced by diet culture and all the lies it tells us, and all I wanted was to be skinny. But really, all I wanted was to be loved, recognized, acknowledged, to feel strong, powerful, in control. You get none of those things from losing weight by the way. Yes, people may notice and compliment you, you might feel strong for some time. But those are all completely smoke screens, throwing you for a loop. Convincing you that weight loss really is the most important thing and if you just tried hard enough, you will get all those things.
Fast forward to my adult life, and my greatest pleasure and joy is to help other girls and women who have struggled with this. Who may continue to struggle with these even well past the age of 60.
They feel so stuck. They know dieting has never worked. They know that their worth is not dependent on their weight or how they look at all. They know what they “should” eat. They know diet culture has lied to them. They know their best friend who has been on a diet for x amount of time and lost x amount of weight will either gain back even more then she lost, or will be so obsessed with food that you can no longer have a conversation with her about anything else! Both of those outcomes lead to a much poorer quality of life – if you want my opinion.
Teshuva really means to return.
I believe that we all know these things. It is part of our essence as a Jewish nation. We don’t believe in glorifying the body for its own sake. We don’t believe in subscribing to secular beauty ideas. Yet, we are all lost. Swept away by the dieting genie. Dictating what the “right way” to eat, and the “wrong way” to eat.
Therefore, teshuvah is really returning back to someone who you are already. Teshuva is returning back to something that you already know.
Knowing something, and practicing something are 2 VERY different things though – right?
You might feel lonely in your quest for Intuitive Eating.
You might feel longing to be like everyone else. To fit in and just diet like everyone else does. Just obsess about your weight like everyone else does. You are lonely in your beliefs. You are longing for hope.
We are all lonely and longing sometimes.
You will not be able to change your whole life and your whole self in just 10 days. Don’t ever believe those ads please. But you can certainly introspect on your life and challenge your beliefs. Check in with yourself to see if you are living within alignment of your true self. Are you showing up in the world as you have wished to?
Are you stuck? Are you letting yourself suffer when there may be a solution out? Are you holding onto beliefs that you know are not true at all, but the pressure of everyone else believing it is getting to you?
I get that. We have all been there. I just ask that you use this time to reflect, introspect and get curious. See if their is even just one tiny part of your life you know the path to do better in, and go for it!
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If you are ready to make peace with food and never say diet again, check out my website https://gilaglassberg.com and apply for a free 20 minute clarity call. I look forward to hearing from you!
Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. As a teenager, she was faced with constant diet talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food. She struggled with disordered eating. This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a non-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.
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