What do you really want?
I remember feeling like a deer in headlights when I tried to write down what my life will look like after I’m recovered. It was an assignment in the book we were working on in my B.E.D. recovery group, and it shook me. It was the first time I really thought about what an enormous amount of time I’d wasted trying to change my body.
What do I want in my life? Who the hell knows! But it certainly isn’t this.
I remember being shocked at how normal my body image struggle had become -- how I’d stacked up my desire for happiness and dreams for the future behind the quest for thinness...And there they sat, gathering dust.
What did I want, anyway? The truth is, I hadn’t even thought about it in years. The last time I seriously considered the question, I was a teenager with absolutely no clue what my life would look like.
The fact of that matter is that for about 25 years, my only goal...desire...thought...dream was to be skinny. I was sure that I couldn’t do anything useful until I had accomplished that goal, so I didn’t even think about anything beyond that.
Eventually, I got an inkling that wasn’t going to work -- becoming thin wasn’t possible, or it wasn’t going to make me happy. Either way, I needed a new plan.
You’re here because you’ve had that inkling, too. On some level, you’ve realized that what you’re doing isn’t working, and you’re desperate for something different. Or maybe you’re done with diets, done with hating yourself, done with distracting yourself from what really matters.
Whatever brings you to that point, whatever shift you have where you finally realize your self-worth isn’t reliant upon your appearance or you will never be able to conform to some socially mandated body size...that’s the beginning of the rest of your life. That’s when you get to finally open your eyes, and look up, and ask, “Why am I here?”
It isn’t easy to face such big questions -- that’s why we got so good at distracting ourselves in the first place. What if you don’t know what you want? What if you can’t figure it out? Or, worse yet, what if it’s something drastically different from what you have now, and you’ve got to make some big changes?
I remember the twisting in my stomach the first time I asked myself, “What will make me happy?”
It can be kinda scary...Okay, really scary.
Here’s the thing that will get you through this -- the thing to hold on to throughout this whole, new, exciting, frightening process: everything is happening at exactly the right time. Everything you’ve experienced before this led you to this point, and everything you’ll experience after this will unfold at exactly the right time.
You can take your time and relax, because you’re finally on the right path -- to self-acceptance -- and while there may be bumps and bends and turns and drop offs, you’ll eventually get to where you want to go. There’s no rush.
So be patient, continue loving yourself, and most importantly, be compassionate. Once you can find the joy and wonder of discovering a new life for yourself, built on the foundation of self-respect and acceptance, you’ll get a taste of real freedom.
Can you imagine how good it’s going to feel to put your feet on the floor in the morning, and instead of dreading the scale or planning your meals or reminding yourself how hideous you feel, you ask, “How can I set the world on fire today? How can I contribute? How can I help someone else? How can I be the best version of me?”
Hopefully you have a vision of how incredible your life can be. But if you don’t, you can just trust me: it’s there, ready for you, and it’s amazing. You can take your time...it’s not going anywhere.
Just keep taking the next step with faith, and the path will appear.