I’m constantly in awe of my clients and their courage to be truly open and transparent in their struggles — and to openly celebrate their victories. Their eating disorder is whispering in their ear, telling them to hide. It’s saying they don’t deserve to be who they are, to take up space, to need help. That “normalized” eating is failure and all those other ideas that become reality in our minds. These are strong voices in there. So to be open and vulnerable under those circumstances, that’s inspirational. And, for me, that’s some of the real joy of this work. To be there with people as they’re realizing the courage they have.
We often think of the epic tales of super heroes or military victories over the centuries. But, in fact, it’s often that quiet, day-to-day courage that we discount. Here’s one of my favorite quotes that’s always been an inspiration to me:
“Refuse to fall down. If you cannot refuse to fall down, refuse to stay down. If you cannot refuse to stay down, lift your heart toward heaven, and like a hungry beggar, ask that it be filled, and it will be filled. You may be pushed down. You may be kept from rising. But no one can keep you from lifting your heart toward heaven — only you. It is in the midst of misery that so much becomes clear. The one who says nothing good came of this, is not yet listening.”
—- Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Because the epic fight to break through to new ways of interacting with the world and with food, sometimes isn’t a fight at all. It’s almost an anti-fight. It’s having the courage to just be there. To plant a flag in the ground and say, “I’m here and I will take my space to figure this out.” It’s amazing and humbling for me to walk beside someone in this process.
Almost every step, every realization, every breakthrough — every one of these things are fed by moments or even little micro-moments of courage. To look yourself in the eye, to look your struggles with food right in the eye and not know how you’re going to solve them. That’s one of the bravest things, I think. Because you don’t know what the road ahead will be but you’re saying you’re ready to travel it anyway … or ready to travel it today.
It takes courage to seek help from your friends and loved ones, and from professionals. Even to allow yourself to THINK you might need help. It takes courage to see a therapist or a dietitian or to reach out in other ways — to be in acceptance that you might not be able to simply “get over” your pain or fear or struggles with your relationship with food and body. While there’s no “getting over,” there is an opportunity to walk through, to allow and imagine a life that’s full of freedom.
Thank you for your bravery, your willingness, your acceptance, your compassion and your strength. And here’s to an ever-enriching relationship with food and with life.