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    Building Intimate Relationships: 6 High Dive Principles

    A new adventure starts the moment you allow yourself to love the person you are inside — that good person with the great, compassionate, overflowing heart — even as you recognize there will still be great challenges as you keep growing toward emotional health.

    6 HIGH DIVE PRINCIPLES

    1) Face your challenges head-on. If you choose to, your compulsive behaviors will remain. Overeating, secretive spending, an obsession with television, hiding food, lying, and whatever behaviors you may be engaging in may seem innocent enough. In fact, they are a chain on your body and a tether to your soul, dragging you to places you do not wish to go. Become aware of what is happening to you, in you, and around you.

    2) Put yourself in the company of a variety of people, difficult though it may be. It could be a small Bible study, a support or therapy group, a community project, fellowship group, the choice is yours. But choose something to join now. There’s a saying that you can’t get to second base with one foot on first. It’s the same challenge you face in moving closer to others. Move quietly away from your past isolation and get involved at the basic level with other people. Even if you do not participate fully in the event, at least have the courage to be present. You can’t learn to swim by reading a book, and you will never achieve intimacy with others unless you take the risk of being in their presence.

    3) Discover what kinds of people are a challenge to you. What types of individuals trouble you or seem to make you feel uncomfortable, self-conscious, or ill-at-ease? Who ar these people in your life? Are they neighbors, relatives, a boss? For instance, if you are a woman and are uncomfortable around men, put yourself in the presence of trustworthy men with whom you practice being the kind of perosn you are becoming without losing your personal power or identity.

    4) Survey your past. Look at those relationships that have involved conflict, hurt, and pain, and therefore need to be resolved. You may have been the receiver of the hurt, or you may have been the giver. Whichever, look at the conflict squarely and determine to do something redemptive. People who lose weight permanently learn to do this on a regular basis. They see and feel the hurt, and they forgive.

    5) Select two or three people and work on improving your relationships with them. These might be people you work with, live with, or come in close contact with on a regular basis. Write down three ways you would like to see your relationships with them improve. Then begin to work on enriching those relationships. Because you have been a food addict, you may have assembled a group of codependents who have not been honest with you about what was going on in your life. Now is your opportunity to take the offensive and begin to effect positive changes in your relationships. Be aware that your former compulsive eating has made an impact on others. Choose a few people with whom you want more honest, healthier relationships.

    6) Look for creative ways to solve your interpersonal problems. Emotionally healthy people are problem-solvers and bridge-builders in relationships. They understand that we were never made to go it alone. No one is an island. Deep within each person with a weight problem is a big, loving heart that desperately wants to touch someone, hug someone, love someone, and be touched and loved in return. You may be off the scale when it comes to anger. But please never forget: the damage is not permanent. You are becoming free to be authentic again. You need no longer allow your addictions, unresolved anger, or compulsions to hide your big, loving heart.

    SOURCE: Chapter 7, “Developing Intimacy With People,” in Losing Weight Permanently by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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