When we enter a recovery programme our way of thinking may be directed towards success. We want to feel better; get our life back on track and we usually want this to happen fairly quickly. Success may mean different things to different people however when we speak of recovery from an eating disorder our thinking usually goes something like this. To be successful could mean reaching a target weight, no longer binging, no longer purging, fitting into last year’s clothes, striving to do a five mile walk in a certain time frame, being able to avoid calorie-
But for many of us it isn’t so simple; years of dieting have proved unsuccessful. Binge/ purge behaviours have soared. We have managed to do five miles but now we have set a target of ten. In other words can we ever be successful with this attitude towards ourselves. Perhaps the standards and ideals we set for ourselves are unattainable and so we set ourselves up for failure time and time again. However we are filled with anxiety at the thought of no longer dieting, purging, or over exercising. We dread to think of ourselves becoming fatter and so the cycle continues.
Through recovery we learn there is a different way to be. We can learn to let go of the measurement of success/failure. Have you ever wondered at the cruelty of being a failure. Some of us may have experienced kind hearted people pitying us because we didn’t lose the weight despite our huge effort. Or we compare ourselves to others who managed to lose stones and yet again we didn’t….we failed.
This feeling of failure compounds our feelings of not being good enough, useless or worthless. When we feel such a way we disregard ourselves and this is never helpful in a recovery process. Ask yourself is cruelty ever helpful? Scientist worldwide are now recognising the benefits of compassion in the brain. Perhaps it is a kinder wiser approach to become interested in your own process and wonder why you live your life the way you do. Knowledge on the benefits of healthy living are freely available…maybe we could ask why we don’t apply this knowledge to our lives.
Recovery processes are slow but always life-
Try just for today to let go of the concept success or failure; for if they haven’t worked up to now…...Instead introduce wonder and compassion and a determination to live life well; no matter what size you are.