I remember what a relief it was to be diagnosed with an eating disorder.
It felt good to have a label. The label made it official. It meant I wasn’t crazy and I wasn’t alone. Other people felt the same way I did. Those understood all the crazy thoughts running through my head.
I loved the ladies in my treatment program; I still do. We feel like a family – one of those families that really likes each other!
I liked the power of telling people I was “in recovery”. It shut people up. It had an impact. Saying that was sort of like a punch in gut. People respected it and didn’t ask questions.
Please don’t talk to me about weight loss because I’m in recovery for an eating disorder.
No one argues with that. That just gets wide eyes and solemn nods.
Yet the more I progressed through treatment, the more restrictive the label began to feel
“Am I someone in recovery? Do I have an eating disorder? Is that who I am, now? Is that who I am forever?”
I wanted to move beyond that identity and figure out what I really wanted out of life. Going through treatment was an absolutely necessary part of my evolution. However, I didn’t want to stop there. I wanted my new-found health to be a springboard for the rest of my incredible life.
Defining who you truly are
When you identify a struggle in your life, it’s tempting to claim it as part of you.
This is who I am, now. It’s just how it is. This is part of me.
However true those statements may feel, they also keep you trapped in the cycle. When you repeat anything to yourself, you’re confirming it over and over. You’re owning it.
If you feel trapped in an unproductive cycle, it may be helpful to write a new script for your life. Write yourself a new story. And make it a good one!
How do I start?
You can start with simple questions like these:
What are you dreams?
What do you want to do?
How do you want to feel?
What lies beyond this stage of your life?
The more you can think beyond your current reality, the faster you can bring change into your life.
This may feel daunting. Looking beyond the very real, overwhelming feelings you have right now might seem impossible.
Don’t force yourself if it feels uncomfortable. But when you’re ready, gently allow a new way of thinking to become part of your consciousness.
In your own time and when you feel ready, try the following process:
Step 1: Identify how you want to feel. Use the feelings you have right now for contrast to help you.
My example: “After years of crippling anxiety and fear, I want to feel secure, relaxed, and confident.”
Step 2: Develop a picture of how your life will look when you feel that way.
My example: “When I’m secure, relaxed, and confident, my life will be leisurely. I will work from home, and all my relationships will be harmonious. I’ll be professionally and financially successful and be perfectly free to do anything I want.”
Step 3: Fantasize
Make it a daily practice to think about your ideal life, picture it in your mind, and refine the details of what you want. Picture yourself living that ideal life.
Really get into it, and try to experience the emotion and excitement of having exactly what you want and feeling exactly how you want to feel. Focus on the end result, and don’t get too hung up on the details of how you’ll get there – there are infinite paths to your happy place, so don’t limit yourself to just one.
Remember, it’s a process
It’s important not to feel stressed or anxious about this process. It’s just an exercise in awakening to new possibilities. There’s no rush, no time limit.
There’s no finish line to reach. You’re progressing at exactly the right pace, and you’ll experience the change you desire at exactly the right time.
Relax and enjoy each step on the path to your perfect life. You’re doing great, and I have faith in you.