Recently, my friend, Mary, stopped by for a chat. Mary is working to develop better eating habits. Her friend gave her a question to ponder before she opens the refrigerator. “What are you hungry for?”
At face value, this question can deal with food. Are you hungry for sweets? Fruit? Veggies? Grains? That’s where my mind went. Mary took this question deeper. When she reaches for food, what is she hungry for? Relief from loneliness, perhaps?
This got me thinking. When I reach for my favorite Jelly Bellies, or for chocolate, or for fruit and it’s not to fill a physical hunger, what need am I attempting to meet? For that matter, when I tune into Facebook for an hour or more, or spend a lot of time on blogs, what void am I trying to fill? Am I seeking a connection with online friends and acquaintances? My answer is yes. Usually, I feel isolated and look for that temporary “fix” for the loneliness.
Most of us have deeper needs we either ignore or try to fill up with substitutes. Whether it’s food, busy-ness, or other fillers, these substitutes will only sate our hunger for a short time. Sometimes the key to satisfying the hunger within us is to figure out what’s behind it. Taking time to pinpoint what drives us to certain behaviors or cravings can be the first step to understanding the internal issues we face.
My friend is posting that question on her fridge. It will help her evaluate what hunger she’s striving to fill. I might just place that question next to my computer. When I’m tempted to browse rather than write, I can think about what need I’m trying to satisfy.
What about you: What are you hungry for? What substitutes have you used to fill an internal need?