Food and Belongingness
We may, of course, know very well the exact nature of food, how our bodies wnt to eat, how we feel we “should” eat, and what we need to be healthy. We all hear the innate whisperings when we know we are doing something “wrong”, or less than what we truly can be and do to our highest potential. Eating is one of them. How we choose to nourish our bodies, live and function in the world, are choices we make every day. So what stops smart, knowledgeable, well informed people from answering the call? The same as what motivates those that DON’T have the information, or care to: belongingness.
Food plays a large role in our stature in society, in our social engagements, and as a describer of who we are and are choosing to be. There is hardly a meeting or gathering where food or drink is not a part. And from these seemingly minor choices, a whole host of judgements can arise. On the parts of ourselves, and of those we are dining with.
We eat to belong, to be normal, to be like the rest. We want to conform to what others are doing, what we believe is expected. The restaurants all have their menus all laid out of the conventional “options”, we simply have to choose one. And if we do, we are sure to be as normal as the rest of them. But to go outside of that laquered box, we are now open ourselves up to critique.
If we choose from the options but ask for adaptations, we worry. We could come across as needy, a bother, bossy, controlling, or worrisome. We would much rather tow the line than have to stand out, particularly if negativity or ridicule accompanies it.
We don’t want to be a burden. If we are dining at someone’s house, for example, we don’t want to rock the boat by having anyone have to “accomodate” us. We don’t want to stand out by having to bring our own special food or the food we want to eat. And if we bring a dish to share with everything that we CAN eat, we might stand out because it looks different from what others have brought. Why can’t we just bring what everyone else is expecting?
There are psychological concepts at play as well, driven by concepts of justification. There are some of us who have had negative health experiences and ate particularly because of it. In this way how we “needed” to eat was justifiable. In this way, we could eat the way we wanted and others would be more accepting, and even “sympathize” or “pity” us. Little have we figured out that we do not want to be people to be pitied. But sometimes depending on the negative illness helps us out by justifying our healthy habits. When we are stronger and more confident in our own choices without fear of judgement, we can choose as we wish without fear of recrimination.
Dare I say, our choices of food for belongingess may even extend into the low vibrational realms of judgement, guilt, punishment and sacrifice. Among these negative burdens is also the feeling of ….betrayal. Food is a very joining and connective activity. It is like a silent agreement that we are all one. It works that way in couples and families, when a silent initiative is formed where each person quietly supports how each other is eating because they are doing it too. You can’t be wrong if someone else is doing the same thing right? You can’t choose healthier when you are not responsible for the meals, right? You can’t choose to be healthier when it’s just so hard that your significant other doesn’t choose the same, right? All of these are excuses to give one an “out” and the fear of being great stems down even to our smallest choices, like, what to eat. Then when one in our clan steps out and changes (heaven forbid) it causes us to question ourselves. Sure, this questioning comes off as judgement of the other person, but either way, now there is discord because someone has silently and wholy rejected the mutual silent agreement of acceptance. And now, you must decide again who you are, and if you are worthy to be accepted.
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