Comparison Really Is The Thief of Joy- Especially In Recovery

comparison - drawing of female with long wavy hair, eyes closed, pink circles on her cheek

Comparison is the thief of joy. – Theodore Roosevelt

Plus, comparison can be dangerous to your recovery. For more reasons than one. Let me explain…

Here’s an example

I recently checked up on an old friends who began recovery around the same time I did. Coincidentally, we had been around the same weight when we began recovery. So, comparing myself and my recovery to her has been all too easy.

At first, it was beneficial to both of us. We talked about the struggles of being un-diagnosed and we related each other quite well. She was someone who understood me and what I was going through.

Our friendship allowed me to feel less alone in a time when recovery seemed very isolating.

However, I later noticed that our bodies were changing in very different ways. Plus, our recovery journeys were heading in different directions. Before I knew it, I was stuck in the cycle of comparison. Her body vs. mine.

And sure enough, I felt as though her recovering body was “better” than my own. Surely she had to be doing recovery the “right” way and I was doing recovery the “wrong” way.

Soon, our face-to-face friendship died down because I found myself constantly comparing and had to stop hanging out with her for my own well-being.

Comparison – the thief of joy

Yet here I am, years later, checking in on her. By “checking in” I mean doing some Instagram and Tumblr stalking. I read some of her latest Tumblr posts detailing her status in recovery and looked at her most recent Instagram pics. That’s when I discovered that she’s relapsed and officially diagnosed.

Something inside of me snapped – jealousy bordering on the edge of envy filled me.

I immediately felt like I had been doing recovery “all wrong”. Simply because I hadn’t relapsed or been officially diagnosed. Oddly enough, it felt as if anorexia was a stamp of approval I need on my forehead as a prerequisite for a successful recovery.

The truth is, my eating disorder is always going to view other people’s bodies as more aesthetically pleasing than my own.

It will try to tell me that I’m failing at recovery because I don’t look like everyone else in recovery. But that’s the thing, I’m not “everyone else”.

I’m me. And my recovery and my body are mine. And no one else’s. I’m never going to look like anyone but me.

Own it

Similarly, my recovery is my own. Just because other people relapse, I don’t have to. And just because some people have been diagnosed doesn’t mean I need to be diagnosed in order to be worthy of recovery.

By comparing my recovery to someone else’s recovery, I am only damaging myself and my recovery.

The reality of the situation is that we’re all recovering at our own paces, in our own ways, and with our own unique bodies.

Recovery is not one-size-fits-all. It’s about finding what works for you and embracing your individual journey.

The things I am self-conscious about in my recovery may not be the same for you, and that’s perfectly normal. Perhaps others in recovery look at me wonder if they are recovering wrong.

The answer is no, none of us are recovering wrong. In fact, we are all recovering correctly, as long as we all have the same end-goal of recovery.

There is no wrong way to recover. Recovery is different for everyone and different methods will benefit different people.

We cannot compare our recovery to others’ recovery. Whether it takes you a month to exercise without being triggered or ten years, it doesn’t matter how long it took someone else to overcome the same thing.

We are all different, our eating disorders are different, and each persons recovery will be different. And that’s part of what makes life so interesting.

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