I truly believe that the life of recovery from an eating disorder is not any different than the life of someone striving to be authentic. As women, each and every one of us struggles to love the body we have been given. We are all affected by the messages we receive from the media on how we should look and dress and talk and feel. In today’s world, it is hard to find your place and feel at ease.
One of my favorite quotes is from Brene Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection. She speaks so beautifully about living an authentic life and embracing ourselves in the here and now.
"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy - the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light."
We all have a story to tell and every single story is worth hearing. The greatest lesson I have learned this year is that speaking your truth will set you free. It will set you free because you will no longer have to hide behind the mask you have worn for so many years. It will set you free because you will inspire others to speak their truth. It will set you free because it is so much easier to be yourself than to try to pretend to be someone you are not.
It will set you free, but it will not be an easy journey. There will be some who still believe the messages they receive from today’s society and they, quite frankly, won’t be nice because they just won’t understand. There will also be the voice of the “old you” who will doubt every new and different path you try to take. At times, it will be exhausting to fight back. And it will take a lot of work and effort to learn how to take care of yourself in the right ways, not through crash diets and extreme exercise, but through self-care and nourishment and honoring your body.
Along the way, you will need support and a sense of community. You need to find like-minded people who will have your back. I have found many of these people through yoga. Recently, I have found a whole new group of beautiful souls through an online course I am taking by More to Love with Rachel. For the month of February, we have participated in daily exercises to learn to love, honor and listen to our bodies. There have been discussions on worth, boundaries, and mindfulness. It is one thing to read about these ideas as I have been doing recently, but quite another to put them into action with a community that I instantly felt a connection with. It has been empowering to take the time to do something like this for myself and focus each day on working on another piece of who I want to be.
At the end of the day, you have to discover what works best for you. Sometimes that is the hardest part. It is always easier to pick up the latest diet book or join the hottest gym at the moment and follow their plan. But easy isn’t always right.
I encourage you today to take five minutes for yourself. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Ask yourself, what do I need right now? It might be a snack or fresh air or a nap. Whatever it is, honor your body and give it what it needs in this moment. And right there, you have taken the first step on a beautiful journey of self-discovery. I hope you love the person you’re becoming!