Q: Why do bad things happen to good people?

A: They don’t. They happen to everyone. Adversity is part of the human experience.

Everyone who has been on this planet for any length of time will experience the loss of a loved one, financial distress, medical crisis. Life happens. Things fall apart.

Difficult times are an inescapable part of the journey through life. We might wail, why me? Or shame ourselves into thinking something is wrong with us – believing that if we were a better person (perhaps perfect) these things wouldn’t happen. 

This is what can set us on a pattern of desperately doing whatever we can to be good, to be better, to people-please. We try to look like, act like, think like, feel like how we imagine others want us to look, act, think, and feel.  All with the idea that if we do that – perfectly – nothing will ever go wrong.

And when things don’t turn out the way we want, or not as quickly as the way we would like, we return to the belief: there must be something wrong with me.

It’s this underlying belief that lies beneath the struggle with disordered eating.

And it’s one worth investigating. Otherwise, when things “go wrong” the shame we feel about something being fundamentally wrong with us will color our perception and interfere with us learning whatever we need to learn from the experience.

We see ourselves as damaged, inept, and hopelessly flawed. We respond to disappointment and rejection with shame and guilt.

And this is what can activate the pattern of using food behaviors an an attempt to soothe the pain that this belief brings.

Bad things happen to good people. It’s a fact of life. They don’t happen because we’re bad.

Once you can accept that (instead of blaming yourself), you can clear the way for imagining new ways of responding to difficult experiences.

You can begin to see the motive behind your disordered eating as an attempt to escape from or control uncomfortable situation, to keep things from falling apart – or to keep from feeling like a failure when they did.

What if you could accept the inevitability of adversity? And cultivate the skills that would give you strength when it came knocking on your door?

How might your relationship with food be different?

  • I just had the “AHA” moment last night. I was beating myself and putting myself down for not facing my life as “it should be”. Klara you are wreck, another disaster on your list, another joke to your family but then I realised it is experiences. Maybe I am not bad. I can shift the point of view and maybe learn something from it. If not fully aware being in the moment that I suddenly realised I am – I can take it as a lesson, opportunity – As a mirror. Accept myself and think what I am doing now, how am I keep myself in old patterns etc. and how possibly make difference
    Freeing experience.

    THANK YOU Anita for a reminder to get back to that thought again today xx

  • If I could face and accept adversity with grace and practice the self-care skills to strengthen my recovery from disordered eating, then I would make progress on this journey of earth-school. I would learn and grow and evolve into higher understanding of how my life meaningfully contributes to this world. If I could see problems as learning lessons instead of punishments, I would have a chance to relax and get curious about solutions instead of devolving into a puddle of blame and shame. Blame and shame trigger me to seek escape in food. I especially crave sweets to sweeten the harsh realities of adversity like plumbing problems or relationship conflicts.
    Thank you Dr. Anita, you inspired me to practice self-care today.

    • What a beautiful way of looking at LIFE. It’s hard for me, especially when the doctor tells you that you are obese. I know I eat when Life isn’t going the way I want it. I know poor excuse. . . I have difficulty in practicing self-care. Thank you for sharing.

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