When I first entered recovery, I realized it was hard for me to unravel my personality from the personality of my eating disorder. I had to figure out who I am apart from ED. Was I actually a home body? Shy? Did I really like to run or was that ED forcing me to run? Was I competitive? Did I enjoy crowds? Baking? Teaching? Was I a confident person hidden under ED’s lies about my worthlessness? What was my love language?
I honestly didn’t know. And that was kind of scary. Who I had become in my 17 years with ED confused my perception and allowed doubts to run my thoughts and actions. Who I am apart from ED took work to discover.
Uncovering my own self was as much a part of my recovery as relearning how to eat was. I needed to unravel the lies and knit the truth back together into its proper and freeing form.
Patience and perseverance. These are the keys to recovery.
Be Okay With Being Uncomfortable
I’ve said it before and I repeat – recovery means being okay with feeling uncomfortable. Uncomfortable in a body that’s changing and finding it’s natural shape. Uncomfortable with feeling full, with sitting in that fullness, and in fighting ED’s lies on the regular. Uncomfortable in not feeling in control.
Uncomfortable in not being sure what was your ED and what is you.
Realizations about my own self started sweeping into my consciousness just weeks out of treatment. I began to realize that I didn’t know who I am apart from ED. I realized how tangled my personality had become. These were aha moments for me . . .
. . . when friends who had met me during my time with ED commented about how different I was from the Rhonda they’d been introduced to and gotten to know.
. . . when friends and family who had known me all my life commented on how they saw the “old” Rhonda again.
Be Persistent in Uncovering Identity
Essentially, I had to uncover for myself who I was. So I tried new things, joined new activities, volunteered for committees, went out with people more, pushed my comfort zone, even took a love languages test.
I found out:
The point is this: You are not ED, no matter how hard he tries to make you think you are. He hides our personality inside of doubts and low self-worth so that his insidious lies can reshape us into his design. He wants mindless followers.
We need to want more.
Be Persistent in Wanting Your Identity Back
We need to be willing to know ourselves. We need to be willing to face our faults while also celebrating and using our strengths. We can’t wallow in the weakness and assume we have nothing to offer those around us. We need to gracefully accept that we do have strengths that we can in fact use for beauty. We need to know that we are strong and backed by the Creator of all that is good. We need to be able to accept who we are so that ED can’t make his lies into our reality.
I needed to work at knowing who I am apart from ED. You need to work at knowing who you are apart from ED.
Because you are worth knowing.
Friend, you have so much to offer this world. You can make a difference in someone’s life because of who you are. God created you with a purpose. It should honk you off that ED is hiding your personality so that you live in a fog of trusting belief in his lies.
Do not let him take away your right to be who you were created to be.
Do not let your eating disorder steal your ability to choose joy in your own personality.
Do not settle for doubts, isolation, confusion, or unworthiness.
Do not settle for a muted life. Allow your personality to shine. Allow yourself to work on areas that need work and to use areas that should never be hidden.
I had to be okay with the uncomfortable work of finding out how much I had let ED hide who I am. Because in the work, I discovered I am made of tougher stuff than ED ever allowed me to believe.
And this I don’t doubt – So. Are. You.