If you have been rocking with me long enough you know that I am always talking about emotional weight. If you follow me on IG, and watch my IGTV videos you would have seen my series on Emotional Weight. Addressing emotional weight is my thing! I know you’re saying.. “Okay, V… I have watched your videos and I follow you on IG. I think I know what Emotional Weight is but I still kind of don’t get it”. Fret not sis.. I got you! Let’s dive in again, because I am up for this no matter how many times it takes for us to be serious about the emotional weight in our lives!
Emotional weight is the collection of those experiences that weigh heavily on us. It’s the stuff we feel pretty emotional about that lends to stress, anxiety and depression, if left unaddressed. These experiences can be both from the past and from the present. However, it is the stuff from our past that helps to inform your present, and so naturally it is the stuff from our past that tend to weigh the heaviest on us. Let’s use my experiences for example.
I experienced early loss when my mother passed away when I was 10 years old. This sort of experience is categorized as early childhood trauma. Early childhood traumas, such as the loss of your parents creates what is called an “adverse childhood experience”. This ACE, there are a list of them and you can find them here, created so many stories in me, particularly around abandonment and rejection.
For many years, unbeknownst to me as a child, I carried the stories of “I am not good enough”, “I must work hard to please others”, or “Be the best so they don’t leave me”. After years of difficulty communicating my needs and wants effectively with others, after people pleasing, after proving my worth to others, not wanting to be too close to the women in my life for fear of losing them too… it finally dawned on me how my experiences as a child were having an impact on me as an adult. Those stories were driving how I viewed myself, my behaviors and how I showed up in my relationships with others.
Throughout the years I have spent countless moments pinpointing my stories and the effect it has had on my life. That story of not being good enough led me to doubting my worth and always overthinking things. That story of pleasing others led me to putting others’ needs before mine ultimately resulting in my self-neglect. That story of being the best led me to being afraid of being my true self in relationships for fear of rejection. The culmination of my stories weighed on me, and resulted in anxiety, depression, obesity and many years of wasted time. You see, studies have shown that there is a direct link between ACEs and risk factors such as obesity, depression, high blood pressure, anxiety and so much more. ACEs are directly related to negative health and well-being outcomes in in the course of one’s life.
Here’s what I want you to know.. It isn’t the fact that you have had those experiences that lead to negative outcomes. It is what you do with those stories from those experiences that can help to determine your health and well-being outcomes. We have to be very clear about that because I don’t want people to feel like they are doomed because they had a negative experience in life. I didn’t allow myself to sit in that kind of victimhood mentality, and I sure as heck do not want the women I work with or come across in my work to operate from that place as well. I want you to know that you don’t need to carry the weight of your stories with you; they get in the way! We cause ourselves harm when we dwell in our stories, when we sit too long in the emotional weight.
One of the ways in which I saw that harm in myself, and I see it with so many others… and in fact, it’s precisely the reason I began doing this work, is in the health and lifestyle habits we choose to engage in. Because I didn’t think I was good enough, I overate to feed the emptiness within me. Because I spent so much time pleasing others, I put my self-care on the back burner and it showed in how stressed I was. Because I was proving my worth to a man, I spent too much time in a relationship that was going nowhere. My stories, when I didn’t address them, kept me tired, overworked, sick, heavy and emotionally drained.
While my entire work is based on helping brown and black women release the emotional weight so they can shed physical pounds. The emotional weight is what is causing us to make diet, health and lifestyle choices that result in the very issues that keep us heavy and are a straight shot to some of the leading causes of death in adults. When you address the emotional weight and you decide to heal from them and release it from your life, you release so much more than extra physical weight. You uncover your true self and release everything that keeps you heavy. Releasing the emotional weight means you are deciding that your stories no longer hold power over you. It means you get to make better diet, health and lifestyle choices to increase your quality of life because you now understand how you got here and now you know how to get the F out!