First off tonight, thank you guys for such a powerful dialogue on Thursday’s post about the police. So many perspectives and ideas were brought to the table. It was a rich learning opportunity for sure.
I’m shifting gears tonight, away from the explosive and divisive political climate. I can only stomach so much politics at a time, and coming off of the DNC/RNC, I need something feel good to say the list.
I’m going to be honest, I don’t really have a witty or pun-full way of getting into this, so here we go.
If I could go back to my younger years, when I was in the throes of anorexia, and when I was starting out my recovery journey — some 13 years ago — there are so many things I would tell that scared and hurting girl.
So many words of encouragement about how an abundant life is waiting for the healthy, vibrant young woman I was stifling inside the shell of a gaunt, ghost of a human. Sure, I’d say how weight gain was not something to be fear, and I’d caution against using exercise as a form of punishment. I’d urge myself to have an accountability partner in college, and gently tell myself that being “scary skinny” pushes people away and makes them feel uncomfortable.
But the biggest thing I’d want to really talk to my former self about, is love.
(Que the Frank Sinatra song.)
This is an area of eating disorder recovery that is simply not talked about or even addressed at inpatient or in recovery communities, but is, in my opinion, so incredibly important.
Those are the life and death issues at hand. It’s understandable that love would be at the absolute bottom of the “recovery totem pole” — however, I would like to propose, that it is one of the most important non-physical parts of recovery, that takes the absolute longest to embrace.
And I am writing this today, as someone who has been in recovery for 13 years, and just now have embraced this milestone of recovery: allowing love into my life — both loving someone else, and allowing myself to be loved.
And as I type this with joyful tears in my eyes, I want to just say how beautiful the feeling is. One that, to be honest, for a long time I feared I would never experience.
Because in order to truly love and be loved, you must first love yourself.
You cannot love another without first loving yourself.
For someone who never suffered from anorexia or an eating disorder, the concept of “not loving yourself” seems ludicrous. Like some sort of over-dramatic plea for attention or pity. Or at it’s most watered down — a “woe-is-me” complex.
But at the core of every eating disorder is a lie that you are not worthy of love. So the transformation and healing process to treating your body with respect, love and gentleness is a complete and total one eighty that goes against every disordered belief that led to complete self destruction.
That metamorphasis took me nearly 12 years. And only since then have I been able to extend that love to another person, and truly and fully receive it in return.
And what I would say to my younger self, is that love is what life is all about.
The joy that I have had in my life is bursting out of every cell in my body.
My friends tell me that they have never seen me so happy. I end the day with hurting cheeks from smiling so much.
And the most incredible thing too, is that love puts life in perspective. I’ve become more relaxed, more care free. More accepting of my flaws and imperfections. Every new day puts the eating disorder further and further in the rear-view mirror.
So for every recovery warrior reading this, I just pray you know the immense joy that is waiting for you, when you choose to allow love from yourself, and from another into your life.
Because you are worth it. I am worth it.
And it’s amazing how life takes off when you not just believe it, but act on it too.
One day at a time. Recovery is a long road. Things don’t happen overnight. But one day, you’ll realize that you’re no longer battling a rocky uphill climb, but rather, the road is smooth, downhill, and full of beauty and rays of glorious sunlight.
That’s a life lived in love.
Because love is what life’s all about.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
A huge shoutout to Reason Nutrition Beverage! Their all-natural, high calorie drink is not only delicious, but it has no “garbage” in it! Utilizing the wholesome goodness of coconut oil, it’s a phenomenal option for those needing to gain weight in recovery, or for those simply looking to supplement their diet with convenient and fast nutrition. Check them out!
A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia. Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.
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