creative joy, 2012, trust your vision

Yesterday my friend and talented blogger Shannon Cutts published a post on her blog, Mentoring & Recovery, that really resonated with me. And I think it will with you, too.

She talked about having the confidence and knowing yourself enough to do what’s right for you.

This is especially relevant to body image and disordered eating. When we rely on diets and other people’s rules for eating, it’s because we don’t trust ourselves to make decisions about what to eat, when to start eating and when to stop.

We worry that we can’t be trusted. That if left to our own devices, we’ll eat the entire fridge — and pantry. (And many magazines and “experts” like to nudge us toward this very idea.)

That’s also when we let others’ opinions of us batter our body image or self-esteem. We let their comments about our weight, shape or size make or break our days and make or break our moods.

We let others decide whether we need to lose or gain weight. We let others decide what we’re going to eat, how and when. We let others decide our lives.

Shannon writes:

When I was in sixth grade and my best friend at the time (and since kindergarten), Leslie, told me I was too fat to be seen with, too fat to be popular, too fat to continue being her friend, I didn’t rear back and let her have it. I didn’t tell her, as Clint would have done, “Go ahead and try it – go ahead, make my day.”

I went on a diet, grateful someone had pointed out what was “wrong” with me, and promptly headed into a full-blown case of anorexia and bulimia that would plague me for 15 long years.

I’ve had so many of these moments when I should’ve stood up for myself. But instead I buckled and believed whatever supposed “truths” some person was spewing. I let their harsh, untrue words define me and dictate my actions.

If you’ve had these experiences or still do, what can you do? As Shannon asks:

The next time someone challenges what you know to be true about yourself, treats you uncaringly or callously, wounds you with words or actions, or attempts to shame you, what are you going to do?

She offers these wise words to readers:

If you don’t know what is true about you, then this is where you start. Get to know yourself. Get to know yourself so well that if you come across a judgmental friend, an unethical co-worker, or a peer who is not working their recovery program and wants you to join them, you won’t hesitate to do the right thing for you.

Taking the time to get to know myself and engaging in good self-care have been incredibly valuable for me. Because I deserve to know myself, to trust myself and to stand up for myself.

And so do you. In fact, maybe that can be the gift you give yourself this year.

P.S., I hope that all my Jewish readers are having a wonderful and beautiful Hanukkah! (I just bought my own menorah this year, and I’m very excited about it.) And I want to wish everyone celebrating Christmas this weekend a wonderful and beautiful holiday, too!