One of my most favorite people (and fellow recovered sufferer) told me I need to write a blog post about a quote we both love by Nayyirah Waheed.
“And I said to my body, softly, “I want to be your friend.”
It took a long breath and replied, ‘”I have been waiting my whole life for this.'”
When we struggle with an eating disorder we view our body as the enemy. We believe it is constantly betraying us and we try to control it by being abusive in return. All of our painful feelings get projected onto our body and the disconnect between our emotional self and our physical self grown and becomes more and more destructive.
As we enter into the time of year where food is overly present and triggers seem to be hiding around every corner, I would encourage you to slow down and take moment, even just one, to talk kindly to your body and to try to be its friend by acknowledging what it does for you. The way it allows you to get out of bed, or go for a walk. How it transports you to evenings out with friends, or relaxes when you curl up under a blanket while reading a book or watching a movie. Maybe you love to travel, or go camping or, at this time of year, love walking and seeing Christmas lights and decorating your tree. These are all things that require our body to work and move and perform, ideally, pain free. If you are further along in your recovery, perhaps you want to thank it for tolerating the neglect you put it through, or for sending you hunger and fullness cues that you can now recognize.
While the body seems like the enemy and feels untrustworthy, what its really trying to do is keep you alive and safe. It wants to be on the same side as you, where you respect it and it respects you. I understand that this concept seems impossible to grasp and that it feels like it will be a “forever battle,” something you will have to struggle with forever in some capacity. I, personally, don’t believe this has to be the case. One critical piece in recovery is learning to listen to your body and befriend it, work with it instead of against it. Usually if you really listen it will tell you what it needs.
So this holiday season take a moment to whisper to your body one kind thing you are grateful for. You never know, it may be the start of a healthier, more compassionate relationship.
Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy holiday season.