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Taking Responsibility

Do your ever feel like other people or events are the reason you eat something, or eat more than you need or want? A loving relative piles food onto your plate, and you eat it so as not to give offense. Someone brings your favorite dessert to the office or to a social gathering. You see an ad for some food that looks so appealing you have to go out and buy it, even if you weren't thinking about it before. Or someone tells you not to have something, and in a spirit of rebellion, you eat it.

These are all things I've done, especially the last one. The problem was how l felt afterward. Physically, I was often uncomfortable because of eating too much, and emotionally I felt guilty but also angry with myself for not being strong enough to withstand temptation or manipulation. I felt powerless.

Oddly enough, sometimes this feeling of not having a choice, of being forced into something and helpless to resist it, was attractive. lf it wasn't my choice, then my actions also weren't my fault. l was a victim in all of this.

Of course, feeling like a victim carried its own problems. It meant l didn't feel empowered to make a different choice in the future, or even to recognize that it could be a choice. It also meant I couldn't learn from those experiences. I could only do that once I changed my mindset and owned my actions.

Taking responsibility is not easy, though, if it's something you're ashamed of. But here's the funny thing. Once you can acknowledge that you are responsible, the shame and guilt lose their power. You can acknowledge that you did something you wished you hadn't, but that doesn't mean you have to get stuck on it.

You can choose to learn from that experience, understand that making mistakes or making the wrong choices is part of being human - but so is being responsible. And only by taking ownership, and recognizing your ability to make different choices, will you be able to move forward to something better and brighter.

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