How to nurture a compassionate voice

So, we’re in February. It’s the second month of the new year, and some of you may be feeling conflicted with where you at now. Perhaps, January didn’t go how you had planned – perhaps those recovery goals you set at the start of the year are feeling harder to reach, or you may have even lapsed in the process.

The reality is – recovery was never going to be perfect. For some, that might be hard to handle.

So, if you are feeling the pull of the inner critic, take a moment to read through these reminders for self-kindness in moments of challenge.

Thought 1

January just didn’t go how I thought it would. I lost my way in recovery and am back at square one. I feel I’ve really let myself down.

Compassionate Thought:

Feeling lost and having some wobbles along the way is normal. There will be times when might feel really tempted to return to old eating disorder behaviours. Perhaps they worked in the past – they may have offered you safety and certainty during moments of vulnerability or distress.

This is where checking your perspective can help: the year has just begun, which means there are 11 more months of opportunity and learning to be had. It’s all part of the process.

If you feel “lost” in your relapse or wobble, what can help is mapping out where you see yourself right now compared with what you want to get to in the future – and whether your eating disorder will be part of that vision and mission.

You could consider your:

  • Relationships
  • Work and productivity
  • Hobbies

In these moments, try and reflect on your motivation to change. Focus on what you will gain by moving forward and towards a new life that has more to offer you than your eating disorder. Think of all the possibilities the future, recovered you can do.

Thought 2

I don’t want my eating disorder to hold me back, but it already is. It always gets in the way and I feel lost. I just want to write-off the year already. This is all my fault.

Compassionate Thought

First up, it is not your fault that you have an eating disorder. Let that sink in…

Secondly, you have the power over you, and that includes over your eating disorder. Whilst your eating disorder is not your fault, recovery is your responsibility. Take a moment to clock how you’ve taken responsibility for your recovery and your future without an eating disorder.

First up, it is not your fault that you have an eating disorder. Let that sink in…

Whilst your eating disorder is not your fault, recovery is your responsibility.

Take a moment to consider all your small wins in recovery, and praise yourself for them. These little victories, no matter how small, will bring you that step closer to understanding yourself and your eating disorder better. They could look at all the areas bullet pointed as a framework.

It is building upon that sense of hope that your future requires – nurturing the belief that you can recover and that you will have an identity and a sense of belonging to your life as you are, without the eating disorder.

The key is to remember that you are so worth fighting for…sometimes, it’s about reminding yourself that.

Thought 3

I don’t feel I’m getting better – my eating disorder feels really powerful right now. I don’t have what it takes to stick to recovery.

Compassionate Thought

Lapses in eating disorder recovery can be good opportunities for growth. Whenever you feel eating disorder thoughts or behaviours arise, keep in mind the 3 D’s:

Delay: Urges only last for a period of time and will pass – so delay acting on your eating disorder thoughts for a minute at a time until the urges pass

Distract: Do some other activity that matches with the energy of your urge to help you distract (as mentioned in our point above)

Decide: Make that decision not to react with your old eating disorder thoughts/behaviours and think of all the things that you don’t like about your eating disorder. All the things you have to lose. Urges only remind you of the good things about engaging with your eating disorder, so challenge those thoughts and remember all the reasons why you decided to change in the first place!

Recovery is also very much about acknowledging that there are and will be difficult days. In these days, it is important to welcome understanding and compassion – and to try and not beat yourself up about what makes you human.

We’re not perfect, so we will make mistakes. Give yourself some self-loving.

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