The Importance Kindness Plays In Eating Disorder Recovery
By Z Zoccolante
(Listen to the 4min audio version of this post in the blue box below)
Recovery is a journey. It can feel a little like collecting breadcrumbs along a long, serpentine path, and that’s OK. We learn a new way of being without the eating disorder, and that can take time and practice.
Recovery isn’t perfect, and kindness is required.
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We’re all completely human and doing the best we can. But often we feel as though we should have everything together, or that we should be recovering faster or easier. We can feel shamed on our struggle to be better and healthy. This shame can trigger us to relapse.
No one’s perfect. So let’s stop pretending we are, or striving to be.
The perfection illusion causes us to ignore or hide our problems or struggles, and instead pretend we’re fine. We might put on a pretty smile and say all the right things, but inside we feel hollow and ugly.
Then in pools anxiety, because we’ve been pretending, and pretending is exhausting. We circle round and hit the point where ignoring the issues has led to unhappiness, and then we must address it, we must to do something about it right frickin now.
That’s when we focus on our bodies and spiral down. That’s when we detach from kindness.
But kindness matters.
Kindness is the most important thing.
Kindness is vital for recovery, because recovery isn’t a straight line. It’s a serpentine path through the forest, nights in dark caves, nights under a star pocketed sky, tree climbs, swims in freezing rivers, out running wild beasts, fighting dragons and shadows, and outsmarting the witches and goblins in the labyrinth. Recovery is an adventure novel and the longer we travel we come to realize that we’re the hero.
Kindness matters, because you can take steps forward, and back, and still be heading in the right direction, still be learning and growing.
Hatred, cruelty, and self-abuse trapped you in the eating disorder prison. It’s kindness that will set you free.
Kindness can look however you want it to. It might be taking a walk after you’ve relapsed and remembering that recovery’s not a straight line. It might be choosing to eat when you’re having a junk body day, because you know it’s a wise choice for recovery. It might be calling a friend instead of binging on a tub of ice cream.
Kindness comes in a plethora of forms.
Kindness might be:
- Seeing your bodies as more than a number on a scale or the clothing size you fit into.
- Telling yourself that this body is your home and you’re going to love it and take care of it.
- Remembering your body is your home. Just because you’ve done mean things to it, or had things done to you, it’s your body and your home.
- Making choices that make you feel good. You get to choose how your body is touched or how it’s talked to.
- Choosing to talk to someone safe, if you feel trapped.
- Making a cup of tea, taking a walk, moving your body for the joy of it.
- Eating a chocolate chip cookie.
- Laughing with friends.
- Remembering why you want to recover.
- Reminding yourself that you are doing a great job.
Kindness is key to recovery.