I was doing supervision the other day with my friend, colleague, mentor and all around incredible woman Diane Anderson (you can check out her website here) and she told me about an exercise she does with her clients. I was speaking about how easy it can be for people to only see what they are looking for and how, when we have an unhealthy relationship to self, it can leave them stuck in the same cycle of negative self image and destructive behavior. She told me that in session she will sometimes ask clients to look around her office and point out everything that is green. After they do this she asks them to close their eyes and list off the things that are blue. They usually can’t do it and find themselves stuck (despite the fact that blue is one of the main colors in her office)s. I see this in eating disorders frequently. We focus on all the scary things that overcoming an eating disorder can present us with including possibly gaining weight/losing weight, losing a coping mechanism, having to face ourselves and our feelings, letting go of certain relationships etc. As much as our cognitive mind can see that our eating disorder isn’t healthy, our emotional self is convinced that it helps keep us safe and so we turn a blind eye to everything that doesn’t fit with what we want in the moment.
What are the things in your life that you don’t want to see? Perhaps it’s how your eating disorder is hurting you, or how your rationalizations for why you can’t exercise/eat healthy/eat/recover are actually just excuses. Maybe it is that the relationship you are in is toxic or, having been so hard on yourself for so long, you have a hard time seeing all the wonderful things about you. Either way I would encourage you to spend some time noticing the blue in your life instead of only focusing on the green. This may be difficult to do on your own so find someone in your inner circle that you feel safe with and see if you can ask them for some gentle feedback. Alternatively if you don’t feel ready to ask for help yet you can also reflect back on the parts of your life where your loved ones have given you feedback that you either rejected (for example, people’s compliments) or have had a hard time seeing and see if you can start leaning into their perspective.
Let me know what you notice in your life that you are going to start focusing on more. If you’d like, you can post it in the comment section below!