How do eating disorder recovery and self-worth go together and why is this important?
There are many definitions of “self worth” out there so I will share my definition based on what self worth in recovery means. Self Worth is the belief that regardless of how one feels from one day to the next that they accept that they are worthy of treating themselves well and being treated well by others. Treating ourselves well will mean different things for different people in their eating disorder recovery journey. In order to identify what treating yourself well means personally for you, consider the following questions. It may be helpful to write out your responses.
- If Iʼm honoring my mind and body, what are the most important thing/things that I do or refrain from doing today?
- What can I identify that I feel good about in my life and why am I grateful for this?
- Is ED (the eating disorder voice/inner critic) abusive today and, if so, what will be most helpful in quieting ED?
There are no “perfect” responses to any of these questions. Rather, they are intended to allow yourself the opportunity to check in with yourself about your needs. This, in and of itself, is a critical step toward building your self worth.
Being treated well by others and having a good support system can be tremendously helpful. That said, one of the lies ED will tell you is that when others are mis-treating you that there is something wrong with you vs. the truth which is there is something wrong with how that person or people are treating you! This is important to identify because the distortion that there is something wrong with you based on others behaviors will damage your self worth diminishing motivation to treat yourself well.
Knowing you are deserving of treating yourself well certainly doesn’t make it remotely easy. There will be times where you are struggling in every area of life, feeling depressed, anxious, fearful, etc. and every fiber in your body is screaming “Just give up!” Continuing to take care of yourself will often include talking about these feelings with someone you trust. Moving forward in eating disorder recovery and building self worth will entail:
- Learning to assess your needs
- LISTENING to what your true self is telling you (Not ED)
- Doing your best to honor what your true self is telling you.