Finish your plate! Do what you are told! Conform!

24/08/2012 § Leave a comment

I’m someone who always eats what’s on my plate. I don’t leave anything. It doesn’t matter how hungry I am, I just keep eating until my plate is empty.

Until last weekend that is. Last Friday evening I was eating a large plate of rice and chickpea curry for supper, and at a certain point I just decided I had had enough. I stopped eating.

This may not sound very dramatic but for me it was a big step. Previously my need to see myself as “someone who always eats up” would predominate. No doubt this comes from parental exhortations in my youth, and less subtle threats at primary school. Also milling around in my head would be thoughts of the starving millions in Africa, worries about where the wasted food would end up (landfill) and regrets at the waste of money. But this time my priority was to honour the needs of my body.

This new attitude spilled out into the rest of the weekend. I was attending a festival (the wonderful Uncivilisation Festival – the annual gathering of the Dark Mountain project) and during the weekend I left no less than 3 workshops before the end. I felt that I had got what I wanted to out of the workshop and I was better off spending my time somewhere else.

Have you noticed how there can be quite a lot of social pressure to stay in a group, even when you have only been together a few minutes? I sensed this pressure to remain just as I have always sensed some sort of pressure (mainly internal) to finish my plate. But it seems I’ve reached an age of maturity where I am my own authority and act accordingly. A bit late in life, but better late than never!

I’m now keen on uprooting any other superfluous or unhelpful habits that I’ve acquired in my life that I follow simply because of what somebody a long time ago said to me (or didn’t say to me, or the way they looked at me, or whatever – we humans find varied and subtle ways to get people to do what we want). Clearing out these unwanted habits may turn out to be quite lengthy task but I sense it will be worth it. The feeling of freedom I got from not finishing my plate, and from walking out of workshops that no longer served my needs, is one I want to keep experiencing.

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