In eating disorder recovery, making a decision to begin accepting yourself is a brave act that can bring about big changes, and that can also be quite scary. The process can be especially daunting for a person who suffers from low self esteem.
Oftentimes they have created unrealistic goals of perfection that are impossible to attain. Accepting oneself will involve letting go of these goals, and accepting one’s flaws and weaknesses. It can be a painful process because many of us have hung on to these illusions of an ideal self for so long, and put a lot of time and energy into them.
Hiding our faults and weaknesses seems like the most natural and easy thing to do. No one wants the world to perceive them as being weak or inadequate in any way. Many of us create personas that we present to others that give the impression of being strong and put together. It can feel empowering to believe in this persona and to ignore all of our deficiencies.
However the more we hide or deny parts of ourselves, the more we will begin to feel inadequate. Many people feel unhappy, unsatisfied, or just a general sense of unease because of this. It’s very difficult to pinpoint the source of the unease. Depression, anxiety, loneliness, and other issues may arise as a result.
Acceptance and eating disorder recovery.
It’s important in any type of recovery process to begin the journey of self acceptance. In eating disorder recovery, the process can be especially frightening for someone who has spent a lot of their time and energy toward attaining perfection. The process of accepting oneself will involve acknowledging all of one’s strengths and weaknesses, and then accepting all of them as a part of who we are.
This may also involve giving up dreams or goals that are unrealistic, unhealthy, or simply unattainable. Instead, we offer ourselves unconditional love in the same way that we love our children, family members, partners, and even our pets. Separating our sense of worth from achieving goals or acceptance from others is a big step toward greater self love and a sense of inner strength and well being.
Tips for self acceptance.
Take time to celebrate your strengths.
It’s so easy to focus on our failures and weaknesses, while glossing over the many strengths we have. Take the time to celebrate all the things you’ve accomplished, the things you’re good at, and the ways in which you’ve made goals happens, even if they are small.
Quiet your inner critic.
Negative self talk can really get in the way of self acceptance, but luckily there are many ways to deal with that inner critic. Practicing mindful meditation can train your brain and teach you to observe negative thoughts rather than get carried away by them. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also very effective in changing the way we talk to ourselves. Making journaling and therapy a part of your self care routine can make a big difference as well.
There’s no use in dwelling on past mistakes and regrets. Everyone has done things they aren’t proud of, but that doesn’t mean you should continue punishing yourself forever. Look at those past mistakes as opportunities to learn lessons and move forward toward becoming a better person.