Are you overdoing something? Then you lack something …
Every excess that you have hides a hole. Everything that you overdo is to hide what you lack. If you over work, over eat, over spend, over drink, over shop, over binge watch TV, over indulge in social media, news media, porn, gambling, drugs… (All those are the same by the way), yes… You lack something and you are trying to fill your void with these behaviors. It is over compensation which is doing something too much to make up for and correct another thing that you do not accept within yourself.
In doing so, you create a different problem. Usually a far more consequential and destructive one at that. For example over eating is usually to hide feelings of powerlessness or anxiety. Over drinking is usually to hide feelings of boredom or stress. Overspending and shopping is usually to hide feelings of insecurity or lack of acceptance and approval. Over binging TV is to hide feeling of worry, inadequacy and meaninglessness. Over working is usually to hide lack of significance and an insatiable need for validation. Over indulging in social media, news medias, porn, drugs or gambling are usually to hide a lack of self worth, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
So here is the big idea this morning. Instead of trying to change the excess, or the problem behavior that you overdo which is hard as it is a reaction to what bothers you, why don’t we try to figure out what is the hole you are trying to fill? Going on a diet to resolve your over eating will be difficult and frustrating. Most probably you will sustain the change of behavior for a while but will soon fall back of the wagon and start the same behavior again. Remember your yo yo dieting? Instead I ask you if identifying the behavior and correcting the “lack of” would help you better in changing the “over something” that you want to eliminate. Fighting against the addiction, the ingrained habit, established behavior, that is very incredibly hard. Plugging the hole that is causing them on the other hand, might prove to be much more efficient and effective.
As it turns out all types of binge behaviors have the same root causes. Psychologists explain that all types of binging are ways to cope with negative emotions that are not rational or healthy. Fully fledged binge disorders are characterized by feelings of powerlessness, secrecy, shame and social isolation. Even disorders like excessive gossiping is usually to hide shame and feeling bad about oneself. Excessive judgement is usually to hide feeling unworthy and inadequate. Excessive snobery is usually to hide feeling inferior and uncertain about oneself. Even shyness is usually to hide insecurity and fear of being judged and being unaccepted. Excessive loudness is usually to hide being uncomfortable with yourself so you dominate the environment by being “extra” : extra gregarious, extra drunk, extra silly… It is a facade to keep others from seeing the real you. Excessive talking is usually to hide feeling awkward and insecure and turns the feeling of anxiety into constant chatter. Excessive excuse making is usually to hide lack of confidence, shame and fear.
So, as you can see, it is going to be really challenging to fix the behavior. If you first do not plug the hole you are trying to fill, it might even prove impossible! Your diet plan, your fitness plan, your relationship plan, your prospect plan, your financial budget plan, your abstinence from alcohol, social media, drugs, gambling, porn etc plan… None of these plans are going to work or last if you don’t first plug the hole.
So how do you plug the hole that you are overcompensating for? For any over something behavior you have in your life, you have to identify what it is you are overcompensating for. Is is shame? Fear of rejection? Anxiety? Lack of confidence?
I invite you to write down what it is you think you are running away from and then find a professional psychologist, coach, mentor, pastor… who can help you with expressing yourself and going deep into why you have developed the sentiment that expresses itself under the cover of negative emotions. Then, and only then, can you plug the hole in that void that you overcompensate for and start to eliminate the “over the top” behaviors.
Good luck and as always, strive for progress… Not perfection:-)
My next article will deal with the 5 major childhood wounds which might help you understand the sentiments generated in adulthood.