Some time ago, I got food poisoning. No need to describe what happened, you can imagine. Or, better yet, don’t. If you ever get food poisoning, I’d suggest having a bucket. Because you cannot do the one thing you need to do when food poisoning strikes–use two toilets simultaneously.
I was amazed at how smart my body was, though. It was not going to allow this harmful food to stay in my system. My job was to drink tiny sips of water to keep from drying out. Still, I dried out so fast my eyes had trouble blinking.
The cure for food poisoning is counter-intuitive. After the first wave of death is over, you eat a lot of fiber–red peppers, nuts, apples, celery. Wouldn’t you think it should be clear broth for three days? Nope, you also eat yogurt to replenish the bacteria your digestive tract needs.
Why am I writing about food poisoning? Because I wish my emotional self were as smart as my physical self. How often have I known a relationship, friendship, client, job were not good for me and kept up the pretense. Wouldn’t it be great if our heart and emotional self were as good as rejecting what is bad for us, what will harm us, as thoroughly as our gut?
When we do, we feel just as bereft and drained as our physical body does with food poisoning. But emotional poisoning is just as damaging, and there is no reason to clutch it to us.
The difference between emotional poisoning and food poisoning is that we can’t control our body’s defenses, but oh, what a bad job we do of holding on to emotionally damaging relationships. We are afraid of being alone, of change, or what we don’t know yet. So we keep clutching onto the bad relationship, hoping we will change enough to make the relationship work. The job is killing us, but we keep trying to prove we can do it well, because we don’t know for sure what we would do next. Although, if we listen to ourselves, we would hear what we want next.
So what’s the emotional fiber that restores us to balance? What’s the spiritual yogurt that puts us together again? It’s just as counter-intuitive as the physical fiber: trust your gut. Trust yourself to know what is not good for you. Don’t look at all the reasons you need to stay–look instead at their foundation. If all your reasons are based in fear, rooted in lack, or imagined attack, they are not real.
Your gut knows what you want, what is good for you, what you need. Look for what feels like freedom, joy, like breathing easily. Head toward that. It will restore you to the person you want to be.
—Quinn McDonald has learned how to have a healthy emotional diet from food poisoning.