With the New Year right around the corner, I figured it was a good time for this post. As many of you know, I have suffered on and off with anorexia for many years. I believe that I am in a better place in my recovery now than I have ever been before. I may have looked “well”, but we all know that appearances aren’t everything, right? I had this feeling deep down that I wasn’t enough. Enough what?
- Fit enough
- Skinny enough
- Fast enough (running)
- Organized enough
- Clean enough (housework)
- Mom enough (to my kids)
- Wife enough (to my husband)
When I had those feelings, I always felt like I was scrambling. Scrambling around to find the magic. The magic that would make me enough. The thing is…there is no magic.
I have worked for the past year with a therapist who specializes in eating disorders and with a dear friend who taught me how to separate the lies from the truth. Those lies come from a couple of sources. ED (name for that eating disorder voice) and Miss Perfectionist (the voice that is never satisfied). Those voices spew lies and draw the focus away from what really matters…loving myself just the way I am, for who I am. I know those voices will always been present, but today they are much quieter than they have ever been.
Everyone has a different trigger that gets those voices riled up. For many, including me, it begins with changes that include rules, numbers and omission. New Year’s Day brings all kinds of new goals, changes, ideas and how to finally be “enough”. Thank goodness for that, right? No, not right. When I impose “rules” on myself I feel like I am being punished, like I did something wrong. When that negative feeling rises up, it often knocks my confidence down a notch or two and allows those voices to get stronger. The lies become plentiful, which opens the door for feeling like I am not enough. I now know enough to put the brakes on before I get too far into that downward spiral. I counter the lie with statements like, “I am enough” and “I am exactly who I am supposed to be”. Saying those statements out loud, or to a dear friend is so liberating.
When it comes to food, ED likes to put his two cents in on a regular basis with lies like, “This is too many calories” or “You shouldn’t be eating something like this”. Those lies get louder if I omit a food or drink from my repertoire. Sue Markovitch (dear friend, author and founder of Clear Rock Fitness) suggests adding as opposed to taking away (omitting). Again, taking away feels like punishment, like I have done something wrong. Adding something in…healthy choices like fresh fruits/veggies, water, a long walk, meditation, etc makes me feel so much better. We all deserve to feel loved, so why continue treating ourselves like we aren’t good enough?
I focus on turning my negative thoughts into positive thoughts. I treat myself the way I would treat a close friend. I would never be so critical or judgmental of someone else, so why is it okay for me to talk to myself that way? I lived for years believing that I had to weigh a certain number of pounds. Don’t ask me where I got that number, I can’t tell you, but it was THE number. I refuse to let a number rule my life or be my worth. Letting go of the rules, the measurements and omissions takes away the power of ED and Miss Perfectionist. It is harder for them to speak up when there is nothing to compare anything to. I am who I am.
These past few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas have been the proof to me that I am in a different (better) place. In years past I would have been fretting and scrambling to the point of misery with all of the things I had to do, but hadn’t done yet. This year was different. Yes, there was still much to be done, but it didn’t affect me the same way. I did what I could and accepted that it was my personal best. You know what? It was fine. Actually, it was more than fine, it was glorious! It turns out that I (ED and Miss Perfectionist) was the only one placing those unrealistic expectations on myself. Going into 2014 I will continue to be kind to myself…I am worth it.