The first time I read this sentence I was in High School reading The Great Gatsby for my English literature class. Back then I did not realize the role this one single sentence would play in my life many years later.
When living with an eating disorder it can be extremely difficult to see the positive side of things. I remember myself being chained to obsessive thoughts and feelings on food, calories, myself and my body. If there would have been a degree in negative thoughts, I definitely would have a master’s degree.
One of my therapists gave me a little book, including 50 positive affirmations. My homework consisted of reading these affirmations out loud each day while looking to my own reflection in the mirror. In the beginning this felt extremely (!!) uncomfortable to me. I hated myself from head to toe, so I did not understand why I would even be willing to look in that mirror and say kind things to that person. The only response my therapist had on this was “patience my dear”. So I did my homework, day after day after day, and at some point I started to see that these affirmations were actually really supportive and meaningful in recovery. Slowly they changed the way I was thinking. Thinking about myself and my (destructive) behaviors and thinking about the rest of the world. Feelings like “You see, you’re worthless” changed to “Hey I am not so bad to be around”. Don’t get me wrong, this took me a lot of effort and a lot of repetition and practice, but it’s worth the ride, even if that ride will take you years.
The first sentence in that book was the saying by F. Scott Fitzgerald I mentioned above. I love it because it sounds strange and funny when you hear it for the first time, but when you look closer you will see it is actually so TRUE! I used to hate the fall, since where I live fall means a lot of rain, it gets dark very early, it’s windy and cold and ‘post card’ Indian summer days can be counted on one hand. Not the best climate for me to live in. In the end, it is not about whether you live in a sunny state or country or in a place where it’s not. In the fall, nature will start to get rid of the old (leafs, flowers etc.) in order to make itself ready for the Spring. No matter what happens, nature will find his way back up and this process will always continue to last. This is something really powerful to realize when going through the hard process of recovering from an eating disorder. Like in nature, no matter how desperate you feel, you will find your way back and will be able to shine again 🙂
Affirmations are a great tool in recovery and can give you a a lot of strength. I share the thirteen affirmations that supported me the most. Why not five or ten or any other round number? Like a person can not be defined by the number on a scale, we believe life and the beauty of it can not be defined by an exact predefined number :).
1. My happiness does not depend on my weight or size, but on who I am and what I do.
2. Today I will abandon my destructive behaviors and start using behaviors that are good for me.
3. I am a survivor and I am a warrior. I don’t need my eating disorder to be good enough.
4. I am courageous and from today I will stand up for myself.
5. My life is just beginning, not ending.
6. I will not define myself by my past.
7. How I feel about myself has nothing to do with what I eat or don’t eat.
8. The process of recovery may be an epic one, but it’s worth it and I know it.
9. I deserve to be happy and I deserve to fulfill my dreams.
10. I deserve to treat my body with respect.
11. I will love and appreciate myself.
12. I don’t need to do excessive exercising to deserve food.
13. Everyday I become stronger and healthier.
Do you use affirmations in your recovery treatment? Share with the Recovery Warrior community the ones that help you the most!