Note: With Halloween coming up, I thought I’d do a short series of posts about some of the messages I’ve found in Dove chocolate wrappers. While I often enjoy the messages, a few of them make me uneasy, particularly ones related to chocolate, so I thought I’d write about them.
“Chocolate loves unconditionally.”
I’m not completely sure of the intent behind this quote, but it only served to depress me, reminding me as it did of times when I believed what it said. Not only, but during those times I felt like chocolate (or sometimes other food) was the only unconditional love I had or would ever have.
I remember how negative I felt about myself, imbibing the toxic message that because I was fat, nothing else about me counted. Oh, I argued against it intellectually, but in my innermost heart, I believed it was true. And being in that place – where no matter how hard I tried, or what I achieved, I was never good enough – made chocolate all the more appealing.
But of course chocolate does not love, conditionally or otherwise. It doesn’t have emotions of any sort, so anything that I felt when eating it came from me, from my own need to have that sense of being cared about. Since I was very good at fooling myself, though, I turned to chocolate quite often for that sense of acceptance and validation, trying to use it to convince myself that I was a worthwhile human being.
The fact that this is one of the phrases in the Dove chocolate wrappers makes me think that I am not alone in having felt this way. Which is another reason why it depresses me. What does it say about our lives when it’s almost expected that we should look to a food to feel like we’re loved?
These days, I’m glad that when I’m feeling that yen for true acceptance, I have other ways of finding it. It took me a while to get there, but I am grateful that instead of looking to food, I can turn to other people in my life, or my cats, or my own feeling of self-worth, among other things. I save eating chocolate for the simple pleasure of it, and accept it for what it truly is – a delicious treat, but not something that I need to make me feel loved. And I enjoy it all the more for that.