I think a sad reality we all have to accept is that we live in a world where the body, dieting, fitness etc is a near constant conversation and focus. One of the things that is most difficult for people trying to recover is having to live in a world where they are constantly exposed to different triggers in their social group, work environment or even in their treatment. These triggers can make your recovery more difficult and they are also a reality that everyone in any form of recovery has to face; the world, unfortunately does not always feel like a safe space when we are struggling.
People will often come into my office and tell me all about the conversations they have overheard and how unacceptable it is that their friends, who either do or don’t know about their disorder, are talking about unhealthy behaviors related to their body or diet. I get how hard it is, often even for myself when I hear people talking about the latest diets or what they are going to do to get ready for summer I want to cringe and remind them that there are healthier things to focus on besides our size. But the truth is, it isn’t my job or yours, to try to correct people’s thinking or behaviors unless they have come to us asking for help.
So what do you do when people are talking about things that make it difficult for you to maintain your focus on recovery? You come back to yourself and remind yourself what you do have control over and what you don’t. In other words, if we wait until the whole world adopts a healthy attitude towards themselves and their body, we will be waiting forever. While I understand that recovery would be easier if people in your life would stop (unintentionally) triggering you, you have to take ownership of your own recovery instead of using others to delay the steps you need to take to live a freer, happier life. By taking responsibility for your recovery you decrease the chance of relapse in the future and get to fully own how successful you’ve been despite the unforeseen trials that will come your way.
Recovery is filled with lots of challenging moments, many of which are brought on by conversations we overhear or behaviors we witness. It is hard at times to maintain our focus on recovery when we face so many destructive triggers that leave us overwhelmed. Be good to yourself and remind yourself why you are striving to move away from your eating disorder towards a recovery focused life. Learning to lean into yourself when life gets hard will make you that much stronger going forward.