Name Your Enemy

by Fred

Many great warriors, generals, etc. over the millenia of human history have subscribed to the commandment, “Know your enemy.” Most scholars consider Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to be the earliest form of this doctrine. But I have found that another step must follow simply knowing your enemy– particularly if the enemy is inside you.

I am preparing updates on the various “entities” that live inside us. No, there are not other beings inside of us. Not on this site, anyway. But the human mind is so complex that our consciousness can split itself into different awarenesses that compete with and confuse one another. The most common acknowledgement of this is in Acoholics Anonymous meetings when they admit that they are “powerless to alcohol.” Alcohol is a chemical and has no power unless we give it power. Alcohol abuse is not common among other animals. Only homo sapiens.

The human mind is capable of giving volition to other “beings” within itself and even being defeated by these so-called beings. Dealing with and conquering them is the next step following Sun Tzu’s doctrine, “Know your enemy.” The next step is “Name your enemy.”

Here’s how it works. I have recently been struggling to lose weight because my shins and Achilles tendons were getting strained during my workouts. Yes, I could stand to lose fifty pounds or so, even though I work out like a fiend. The Updates from earlier this year deal with my different strategies to lose weight by calorie counting and increasing metabolism. All the methods I discussed were marginally successful until I learned the “Name your enemy” technique.

I could not lose more than a few pounds because I was constantly sneaking in calories during the day and at night. I did not want to snack, but I still did. Why? One day it dawned on me that someone else was asking to be fed. Not me. I called him “Comfort Guy.” This is the guy who has to have a snack or he will panic. This is the guy who wakes up in the middle of the night and heads for the ice cream to quell the hunger in his belly. Comfort Guy does many other things that disrupt my life. I’ll discuss them in future Updates.

Comfort Guy is my enemy. He defeats my long-term purpose in order to get his way in the moment. If I simply name him and tell him to go and sit in a corner, I can control the urge to snack at any time. I feel powerful telling him to go and sit in a corner. He is not getting fed because I am in charge.

Oh, and I lost fifteen pounds over the next month. I’m down to my weight of five years ago. And I’m still heading down. I have not been suffering or starving. I’ve felt better in the mornings because my stomach was not full all night. Most importantly, I am in charge.

As I said above, I am preparing more notes on the neuroscience behind these so-called enemies that form in our minds and defeat us. Go ahead and subscribe so that you don’t miss the information. Those of you who read these Updates know that I’m not one to flood your inbox or your blog reader with frequent postings. Just relax and learn with me as we move along on our journey.

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