I know what you’re thinking.
Or I should say, I know what you’re thinking if you’re anything like me.
Ha. As if. Suuuuuure I can love myself. I can probably also cure cancer someday, IF I get a brain transplant and find half a million dollars and go back to school for a decade and don’t die of old age before I graduate….
Truthfully, I used to cringe – or worse, completely disconnect – when I heard, read or otherwise encountered the phrase, “you can love yourself.” And when I heard, “you must love yourself before you can love anybody else,” well, that was my cue to find a shovel and start digging.
To my non-self-loving ears, “love yourself” sounded like a pronouncement of certain doom. I knew I loved my bird, my family, my friends.
But me? Um, that would be a clear no.
So trust me, I understand how it can get irritating to encounter “love yourself, love yourself, love yourself” no matter which way you turn. Want to feel happier? Love yourself. Want to have more friends? Love yourself. Want to meet the love of your life? Love yourself.
Sooner or later it starts to sound like the magic pill they ran out of just before you got to the front of the line.
This is also why I don’t say “you really CAN love yourself” lightly. Ten years ago (when I was just starting this work I do now) I still loathed myself. Five years ago I tolerated myself. Two years ago I was contemplating the concept of liking myself. A year and a half ago I bit the bullet and decided …
This month’s edition of “Good News for Eating Disorders Recovery” has just been published. I wanted to share the inspiring message with you here as well – hope you enjoy it!
“You Were Born to Be You”
Each month I wait for new lessons.
And each month I get the same lessons again.
This (I assume) is because a) these are difficult lessons, b) I really need to learn them, c) I really want to learn them, d) I have built an encouraging and honest support circle who keeps reminding me I CAN learn them.
For example: this past month, many friends have reminded me yet again that I need to resist the temptation to compare. I am me. There is no one to compare ‘me’ to.
I know this of course. Unfortunately, the ‘knowing’ part isn’t where I seem to run into trouble.
It is in the doing – being – becoming – evolving – unfolding – opening up – having those necessary self heart-to-hearts – practicing patience – and discipline – and faith – and more patience – and more discipline – and more faith….
In this, I have come to believe that “being me” is (oddly) a skill I can and must learn as well as an innate gift that comes pre-installed in each of us.
For instance, I must learn to discern the difference between “being me” and comparing (aka attempting to be someone else). Then I must practice what I have learned, over and over, so this learned discernment knows it is welcome to guide and direct me as needed.
I must also really want to be me – this is the only way I will find the perseverance to practice how until I learn it well.
Finally, I must believe in the wisdom of being me – after all, I’m already here, no one else is doing it, it just makes sense – and I’m the absolute right fit for the job.
So are you.
There are many things in this life you will want and need to learn how to do. Some will …
This month’s edition of “Good News for Eating Disorders Recovery” is now available and I wanted to share the inspiring message with you here in honor of NEDAwareness Week 2013 (February 24-March 2). I hope you enjoy it!
You Are Aware
If there is one thing I have actually managed to learn well over the past 42 years, it is that my struggles, more than anything else, are what have given me the cherished ability to empathize with others when they are struggling.
While it is always great to enjoy happy moments, and to do whatever we can to make those moments last and grow, in truth it is our struggles that allow us to enjoy happiness when it comes, and to celebrate with others when they emerge from painful places into happiness again.
If you are anything like me, you probably don’t particularly enjoy feeling sad, anxious, depressed, lonely, angry or fearful, but you can also see how your very awareness of these states has created a more compassionate, loving, giving, gentle, kind, caring person living right inside your own skin.
Because you have first felt pain, you are aware of the pain in the people around you.
Because you have struggled, you can extend compassion – and respect – to others when they struggle.
Because you have experienced personal weakness, you can encourage loved ones to use weakness as a tool to strengthen and grow.
Because you have endured loss, you can extend a hand of comfort to grieving people just with your presence and listening ears.
Because you have been afraid, you can encourage others who are anxious or fearful that they are not alone.
Because you are still here, learning and growing and stretching yourself through all of the ups and downs and in-betweens of life, you can offer your hope to those caught in a dark valley that the sun is absolutely waiting for them just over that next mountain peak.
You ARE aware. You are awake. You are alive.
Just by waking up again each morning and choosing to get out of bed, …
This month’s edition of “Good News for Eating Disorders Recovery” is now available. I hope you enjoy this month’s inspiring message!
I continue to have sad feelings on a somewhat regular basis, even though I have been in recovery for more than a decade now.
The difference is that today I do not try to shove those feelings down, ignore them or run and hide. Rather, I open the door, open my arms, and welcome them as friends.
Certainly at times sadness can “just happen” – it can be the result of hormonal fluctuation, seasonal shifts, biological imbalance, even empathy with a loved one’s pain.*
But for most of us and most of the time, sadness felt for any of these reasons will be the exception rather than the norm.
As well, in the same way that anger, grief, jealousy, resentment, frustration, loneliness, despair and other so-called “uncomfortable” emotions may visit us because it is in our best interests that they do, sadness frequently comes knocking because it is bearing a message – and gifts.
It has taken me a long, long time – more than 30 years to be exact – to recognize my sad or difficult feelings as friends.
But once I did, I stopped feeling afraid of them. I also stopped feeling afraid of me when I had them.
Rather, I saw that these difficult-to-feel and heal feelings came to reveal to me my own strength and wisdom, my faith and depth of vision for the present and the future.
My sad feelings would never have approached me if I wasn’t strong enough to welcome them and learn what they had to teach me.
It just took me some time to realize this.
As we wave goodbye to another year and welcome in a new one, I wanted to share with you the inspiring message from December’s edition of “Good News for Eating Disorders Recovery”.
You ARE Good at Recovery
Recently I got a message from a Facebook friend.
She asked a question I have heard all too often over the years – “What if I am just NO GOOD at recovery?”
The implication was clear. What if she simply wasn’t made of the right stuff to pull this “recovery” thing off? What if she tried …. and failed?
I spent years thinking this way, worrying myself sick that I was no good at recovery, that I would never ever recover, that everyone would laugh at me for even trying (or already was).
But then I recovered.
This month’s “Good News for Eating Disorders Recovery” ezine is out, and I wanted to share it with you here as well. Enjoy!
You Have Such a Good Heart
For many years I loathed myself.
I mean – I hated everything about “me”. Just a glimpse of my reflection on the pavement could give rise to shame.
I was also convinced that everyone else felt the same way about me that I did. Oddly enough, they didn’t.
This I found especially frustrating. When someone would try to connect with me, I would wonder what was wrong with them. Couldn’t they see? Didn’t they know? So if someone said they loved me, I assumed they were as flawed as I was and I refused to give them any time or attention in return.
This went on for years. And years. And years.
Then one day, a shift began. I made a genuine connection with a single person – my first mentor – and I shared my flaws with her, and then she shared her flaws with me, and then I realized that having things to improve in myself gave me something in common with every other person on the planet.
I also, much more slowly, began to realize that having good things I liked about myself – such as the ability to play and write music, my love for animals (and birds in particular), my desire to serve others – connected to me to every other person I saw as well.
My awareness of myself as someone worth knowing grew out of meeting my mentor, and understanding from her that my very desire to improve myself, to be a likable person, to not let loved ones down or cause them worry, was proof that I had a good heart.
Only a good hearted person would long for those things, and resolve to do whatever it took to attain them.
Only a good …
The newest edition of “Good News for Eating Disorders Recovery” has just been released. I wanted to share this timely pre-holiday message with you here as well, since the holidays are often a time when happiness can feel less like a choice and more dependent on circumstances or other people than at any other time of year.
I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful!
You Can Be HAPPY
Many, many years ago, one of my mentors made an incredible statement. She said:
It takes much more strength to hold joy than to hold sadness.
I had never heard anything like this before. My yet-to-be healthy mind was RIVETED.
My eating disorder mind, on the other hand, was distressed to the point of panic at her words, having used the exact opposite argument to keep me dependent upon it for so many years.
This simple statement transformed my relationship to my eating disorder, to my recovery efforts, and, ultimately, to myself.
I began to see happy people, joyful people, as the truly strong ones. I wanted to learn more about them, so I began studying those great souls who exuded contentment, joy, a spirit of giving and service, gratitude, and humility whether in the midst of plenty or deprivation – and wondering HOW they had achieved this feat.
Then I began to wonder if I could achieve it too.
The newest edition of “Good News for Eating Disorders Recovery” is now available, and I wanted to share this month’s timely message with you here as well. I hope you find it helpful!
You CAN Forgive Yourself
Forgiveness can be a touchy subject.
I should know.
For years, I absolutely, categorically insisted that I was beyond forgiving. I was willing to go round 1000 with anyone who dared to suggest otherwise, too.
I wasted so much time and energy treating myself differently from the way I treated everyone else around me. I was often quick to forgive others, for the very reason that I assumed automatically that if they were mad at me, I must deserve it.
But when it came to me, I was rock-solid bent and determined upon locking myself safely away in a forgiveness-free purgatory of my own making.
Why do we refuse to forgive ourselves? Is it protective – are we afraid of what we might do, say, or create if we give ourselves any leeway?
Is it reactive – are we so inordinately tuned in to our ever-changing inner climate (a climate, by the way, that no one but us will ever be privy to) that we suffer a catastrophic objectivity-fail that factors out the presence of our humanness, and the natural frailty and continual proneness to error that being human entails?
For me, it was both, and the loud presence of my eating disorder as well.
Today we’re taking a brief posting break from our exploration of my fav new article, “15 Powerful Things Happy People Do Differently”, to bring you this month’s inspiring message from Good News for Eating Disorders Recovery is here – I hope you enjoy it!
You Can – and WILL – Figure It Out
We can’t. But we can. And we ARE. Sometimes all that is needed is to recognize how our process works and trust THAT to lead us through.
I will admit it.
To this day, I still get flustered by the unknown, the unexpected, and pretty much anything else with an “un” attached to the front of it.
You’d think by now I would have figured out that what the card I carry in my wallet says is actually true -
Everything really is alright.
But clearly I haven’t. So instead I follow the routine:
Freak. Run. Cower. Hide. Repeat if the scary thing is still there.
And yet I am doing it. I AM.
We have loads – I mean TONS – of evidence in even our most recent past that we can, will, and do eventually figure it out….whatever “it” is.