This is Why You Need to Own Your Story

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I went to see the wonderful Brene Brown speak in London a couple weeks ago. It was a joy to hear such a funny and engaging speaker share her honest stories and tender moments with passionate conviction. The event was part of her support tour for her new book Rising Strong, in which she explains how the strongest people are those that not only take risks, but get kicked down, and rise up again.

As Brené explains, “When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away – they own us, then they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending – to rise strong, reckon with our story and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends.”

The degree to which this resonates with eating disorders and recovery is significant. It is through disengaging from the difficulties in life, pushing them away and refusing to feel hard emotions that eating disorders develop, as a way to deal with those frustrations, hurts, and struggles. But it doesn’t work. The emotions come back harder and kick us more, and we fall down.

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, it’s important to not only follow the meal plan and reduce behaviors but really allow yourself to feel. Even if this part of the story is rubbish and horrible and you just want it finished with, you have to explore it.

Only then will you know how it came to be, why it’s a story you’ve allowed for so long, and how you can change it.

The eating disorder became your story for a while, but it’s not your story. It’s not who you are. When you allow yourself to get curious about your emotions and create space to live your true story you can write the next chapter.

Pick up the pen and get stuck in.

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3 Comments

  1. says: Richard king

    That’s so good to hear. So refreshing. My eating disorder had been at its worst over the past two years until I decided two things. That I was going to accept my anorexia completely. That I was going to be happy.

    Those decisions brought derision from family and friends. I was even patronised a few times because people stopped looking at me and only saw the illness. I have so many skills, talents and qualities. When I refuse to own my eating disorder it drives me from behind. When I hold my shadow in front of me it becomes a harmless guide.

    Now I’ve started an eating disorders organisation for those of us with, those affected by and professionals. We heal more deeply when we heal together. We will use our projects to raise awareness and challenge stigma too.

    We are based in the UK technically but we have our vice chair in Australia and now we have a development director things are firmer. We welcome all.

    I am in early recovery but I am improving. I am Richard. I have anorexia. I am recovering. I am back in touch with my compassion, my willingness, my courage, my actions of self love, my creativity, drive and determination.

  2. says: Carlijn

    When a fellow warrior left therapy, she gave me a set of cards with some quotes. One of my favorite is “this is not how my story is going to end” and I had to think of that quote while reading this article. I write a lot in my journal as I want to write a new chapter after this one: ED free.

    Richard, wonderful that you are starting your own organisation! I wish you best of luck!!!

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