Eating disorder recovery requires the building of solid self-esteem. The core of self-esteem is based on respect and appreciation for yourself coupled with an honest appraisal of your capabilities and a kindness you give to your vulnerabilities.
If you haven’t got self-esteem, how do you get it? I’m continuing this self-esteem building series to give you specific tasks that contribute to building self-esteem. Choose what seems relevant and possible for you.
1. When you experience any kind of a loss you will go through a normal grief cycle. Rather than suppress grief, commemorate the value of what you have lost in a way that is meaningful to you.
2. Plan and create a simple birthday party for someone who doesn’t usually have birthday parties: e.g. a neighbor, a pet (yours or a child’s), yourself.
3. Take a martial arts class or a self-defense class for women. Befriend your own power.
4. Learn what you can about the lives and experiences of your grandparents and great grandparents if you are lucky enough to have them. Ask questions and listen. Ask questions with a tape recorder going. Don’t interrupt.
5. Give yourself reasonable time to learn something new or develop improved habits. Setting a goal is not the same as achieving a goal. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Expect new learning to take time and practice.
6. Give yourself the gift of privacy on a regular basis. You need alone time to think, write, muse, dream, feel what you feel, make a phone call in private. You don’t have to isolate. Just give yourself the gift of a closed door once a day. (suggestion from reader, Kym. Thank you!)
7. Journal your hopes and dreams for the future. Sketch them. Paint them. Sculpt them. Collage them with pictures from magazines. Do this alone or have a group hope and dream session with a friend or a child.
8. Be attentive to the wonders of our planet. Watch the moon. Call a friend to see a special night sky. Catch a sunrise or sunset now and then, alone or with a friend (or child).
9. Examine the rules, habits and routines you follow. Do they serve a useful purpose? Have you outgrown some? What might you change?
10. Be on time for your commitments and promises: e.g. picking up your child from school; meeting your friend for lunch; arriving at a family dinner; greeting your guests at home as well as job interviews, arriving at the airport or bus terminal or train station.
11. Create emergency backup systems to help you when you need help. E.g. smoke alarms, charged phone battery, locks that work, car in good working order, extra light bulbs, flashlights with new batteries; candles, matches, whistles, first aid kit, easily available phone numbers to call: fire department, police station, doctor, emergency medical help, emergency child care.
12. Take care of your health. Get regular medical and dental checkups. Be responsible about giving your body the care it needs.
13. Take time to relax and be silly with a friend, a child or a dog (or all three at once!)
If you had or have an eating disorder these activities were probably not part of your everyday considerations. Bring them into your life and you will be building a sturdy and earned sense of self-esteem that gradually will make your eating disorder irrelevant and unnecessary.Which of these suggestions seem like new possibilities to you?
- Which have you yearned for but never tried?
- Which do you think could make a positive and needed change in your life now?
- Which will you do?
Please share your choices and what happens when you follow through.
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