How are you, and how are you feeling? These seemingly simple questions can receive the most dishonest answers. Hands up if your automatic response is, “fine.” This blog is for those of you that struggle to be honest on days when honesty is most needed.
Earlier this week, we hosted a Nurturing Hope session for individuals in eating disorder recovery, with the focus on “honesty”.
Honesty is deeply supportive of recovery, because it is the skill of recognising what our needs are and being able to take steps to ensure those needs are met, either by ourselves or others. We explore more about taking responsibility and holding ourselves accountable in recovery, here.
Through conversations with our community, we recognised that this was a pertinent theme in recovery. Often, we do not allow ourselves to dig deep and question how we are truly feeling, or allow the truth to the surface. Perhaps honesty might bring to light difficult emotions, or it might go against the expectation to “be well” in recovery. It might also communicate to others and ourselves that we are not perfect. This can be hard to handle.
Jaime, Orri’s Online Clinical Manager, poignantly shared during the session:
“Through honesty, you are allowed to not be ok. Sometimes, by saying this out loud, you are allowing someone to hear you – to hold you. You may wish to protect the person you are talking to but don’t forget to protect and honour yourself too.”
The deepest connections start when we are honest and accept when we are feeling sad or angry, or share that things may not be perfect. In recovery, we can begin to unlearn and let go of these expectations upon us and can start showing up, just as we are. This opens understanding of our locus of evaluation.
What is a locus of evaluation? This is basically how we make our judgements based on ourselves, others and the world, interchanging from an internal locus or an external.
Internal Locus of evaluation = How much we trust and value our view of self
External Locus of evaluation = How much we trust and value how others view us
As humans, we experience a spectrum of emotions and experiences throughout life, and this includes the ups and downs of our mental health, our relationships, our circumstances and our recovery. What is essential here is what we learn from these experiences and how we use our findings to move forward in eating disorder recovery.
Though, we get it – it’s difficult to say the difficult stuff. We may have created a safety in “fineness” and an eating disorder can capitalise on the narratives of “I’m okay” or “I’m feeling secure/certain”. To aid your understanding here, allow your body to be your guide. It will show you if it is not ok, so try and listen to it and be curious in what it is trying to tell you. There is a practice that comes with honesty and this is where self-enquiry can come in.
We have an explorative resource that enhance your practice of radical openness, here.
Remember, honesty doesn’t have to be neat or tidy and you don’t need to pretend or meet any expectations here. This is just between you, your body and this journal.
“If we’re going to move things forward and make change, we have to work toward honesty. By respecting your boundaries and listening to your true thoughts, you can then set an authentic foundation to build your recovery from.”Kerrie, CEO & Founder
Honesty in the community
We turned to our Instagram community and asked them to dig deep and share where they were in their eating disorder recovery:
Here, our community is demonstrating that difficulty can be witnessed and held with compassion and without judgement. Recovery invites us to welcome all parts of ourselves. You can simple ‘be’, as you are.
Admitting that something may not be ok is not weakness or a sign that you have failed – in fact, it is a great strength, for you are demonstrating a commitment and kindness towards your vulnerability and by doing so making space for healing and compassion. This takes courage.
What we encourage throughout treatment here at Orri, is to lean into the unknown, into vulnerability. This can be by trying a “fear food” or by challenging yourself at mealtimes; or, it can be bringing your true self in a therapy session and sharing something that has sat with you for a while. However you decide, you do not have to lean in alone.
So, see where being honest can take you today. You might be surprised in what you learn..
Well done, you did it. You are still here and we proud of you.