Image: clemono2I want to share two stories about two women and their struggles with food, weight, body image, and eating disorders with you. Do you resonate with either of them? Think about which warrior you want to be.
The first woman
The first woman spent more than half of her life struggling and fighting against her body. No matter how much weight she looses or gains, she never feels like she is in a healthy spot, or that she was “doing it right.” She tries her hardest to control outcomes in her life. Whenever she feels unable to control what’s going on in her life she holds onto the control of her body.
Sometimes she tries recovery, but she remains very rigid in her attitudes and behaviors. Each time she faces a challenge in her life, she dive back into her eating disorder. She sinks lower into her disorder each and every time.
Although she returns to treatment several times, and she knows that recovery is always short lived. She fears deep down inside that there is something very wrong with her. Can I ever really recover?
While she believes it’s possible for others to recover, she doubts that it applies to her. She feels different. Every time she stumbles she is angry at her self because she “knows better” and feels like she’s hurting her family. She hates herself sometimes and fears she may never be able to be happy. It feels like she’s in a hamster wheel. She’s making the same mistakes over and over again.
The second woman
Like the first woman, the second woman struggles with food, weight, self esteem, and being her true self. While she fought her eating disorder most of her adult life, she did have stretches of time when she was more free with food. She longed to hold onto those times and build a life free of the prison of an eating disorder.
This woman returns to treatment several times through out her adult life. Each time she made makes more progress than the last. She was laying a foundation of skills she could build upon every time she reached out and sought treatment.
Her bravery allowed her to ask for and accept help. Trust for the recovery process builds.
Instead of going in circles making the same mistakes over and over, she recognizes that she is traveling upwards on a spiral staircase. While sometimes she fears she is repeating mistakes, she realizes she learns new lessons each time.
She owns that she is not perfect, but that every day she has a choice to choose health. She started to understand that she was the author of her own story and she cast herself as the warrior. Although she can’t control outcomes in her life, she can accept the ups and downs and allowed her vulnerability and imperfections to show.
Every slip up and step backwards reminds her that life doesn’t have a final destination. She gradually learns to let go of trying to control outcomes. Instead, she works on being present.
Which one are you?
So as you read about these two women and their journeys, perhaps you recognize yourself in one of them? Maybe you can relate to both of them. Do you wonder how two women struggling with the same disease can have such different experiences? Do you wonder why?
What if I told you that these two stories were actually about the very same woman?
That it was really the same story, told in two very different ways. Or that the women are both me. Would you believe that everything in both stories is true?
You get to choose
You see, through my journey with an eating disorder, I am learning that how I tell myself and the world my story makes a huge difference in my life. Not only is it important for me to be aware of my thoughts, it is also critical that I am cognizant of the way I share my story to others.
I have a choice to see my life from the perspective of the victim or the perspective of the hero.
It is my responsibility to cast myself as the hero in the story of my life if I want to enjoy the victories. So much can be gained or lost depending on the perspective we choose to view our life from.
So today, I challenge all of my fellow warriors out there to notice the way you are authoring your own story. Pay attention to the view point you are examining your life from and to the language you use when describing your journey. Challenge yourself to tell your story from the most loving, accepting, and upifting perspective possible.