Learning how to live with our past can be quite difficult. Even the happiest person on earth has something itching the back of their minds. We all have something we wish we had done differently. Feelings of shame are very common for people who are recovering from eating disorders.
As we are all very well aware of, changing the past is impossible. And even if we could, lots of times it’s better off the way it happened anyways. Why? Because we wouldn’t be who we are otherwise.
It’s true that life can get very hard during some stages, but that’s what makes us grow and appreciate the better moments. The most challenging situations we face in life are literally what mold us into who we’re going to be down the line.
This can be particularly hard to sit with if we’re dealing with an eating disorder or an addiction to any substance. As we start a rehabilitation program, the guilt and shame of acknowledging everything until that very moment can be a very tough realization.
However, it is important not to forget about the mistakes we’ve made. It’s even more important to learn from them, make peace with them, and move on with life. It is possible to let go of the shame and live a life filled with purpose, love, health, and motivation.
Here are some tips to deal with feelings of shame and blame when recovering from an eating disorder
1. Forgive but don’t forget
Often, it becomes much easier to dwell in the past when we hold on to anger towards whoever caused us harm. We often blame others for the way our life is turning out. Though this can be true to some extent, the effectiveness of this approach is highly debatable.
In orde r for us to move on with our recovery process, it is essential that we forgive everything and everyone in our lives. Especially ourselves. We might have made some big mistakes that ended up pushing us down another way, but this doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve a second chance.
Forgiving ourselves is the first step towards a healthy and happy mind.
Whether it is through meditation or any other methods you find adequate to your situation, it is also essential to not forget what has happened.
2. Don’t blame others
Regardless of who or what we think is a direct cause of our situation, pointing fingers won’t do anything inside ourselves. It won’t heal our minds or our bodies. It will only waste time and take our focus off of what really matters at this moment: ourselves.
Learn that blaming someone else for our situation is worthless. Realizing this will save us a lot of time and will give us a head start on the race of self-improvement. Harboring resentment when going through addiction recovery will only slow down the process.
3. Acknowledge, but don’t resent
Perhaps one of the things we lack the most in our current society is the courage to acknowledge when we do something wrong. It is important to do this without trying to drag someone down with us.
That courage doesn’t always come easy. But when we are brave, the freedom and peace we feel from taking responsibility for our actions are worth it. As the saying goes, just because we can doesn’t mean we should.
We have to be ready to face the consequences of whatever choices we make, without resenting the past. This will allow us to move on and do things differently next time. Reaching that state of peace once we acknowledge that what’s done is done, we are able to embrace a new healthy and successful life. We can adopt better life habits, a new approach to life, and a mindset that won’t be influenced by factors of the past.
4. Embrace imperfection
No one is perfect. Lots of the decisions we’ve made before recovery were the effect of the disease (addiction), psychological stressors or even triggers. This doesn’t mean that we can justify all we’ve done in those examples. But on the contrary, it makes emphasis on the fact that as humans we will make mistakes, lots of them.
In the end, it’s being able to learn from them and improve ourselves that really counts.
Embrace the fact that we’re all imperfect and the road will become smoother.
The key is not losing faith in ourselves.
5. Leave no room for fear or pride
Fear and pride are the biggest enemies we will have in our lives. They disguise in lots of costumes with the purpose of stopping us from reaching our full potential.
It is very difficult for someone dealing with addiction to accept they need help. It is also traumatizing to know that there is always the possibility of failure. On the other hand, learning when to take a helping hand or when to accept the consequences of our acts builds a strong base for our whole recovery program.
Blame and shame are in most cases inherent feelings we can acquire once we acknowledge that we have a problem. Many questions can and probably will start showing up in our heads. This can make us doubt if we’re on the right path or if what we had before was better.
We must leave behind fear, because any decision made out of fear lacks moral value. Leaving fear behind is the only way to embrace the cards we were dealt in order to play with them.
If you’d like to ask a question or simply suggest any other ways we can deal with blame and shame during addiction, please leave a comment below.