December 31, 2012 by Deanna James, LPC, CEDS in Clinical Articles For many of those that suffer with eating disorders comparing and competition can be very ingrained traits. Comparing with others and yourself, is in an integral part of the disorder. In the recovery process you begin to work towards not constantly comparing your body, your accomplishments or your problems to those around you. Finding peace with your current status, current body and current life is a journey which involves a lot of cognitive reprocessing and positive self talk. I believe to truly recovery you have to learn that happiness is not achieved by measuring up to some perceived expectation, its about defining yourself by your own morals, ethics and values. Its not about your size, shape, weight, accomplishments, or status. Its about relationships, living life, laughter, fun, clarity, and peace.
In recovery social media can be a great support. You have access to others who understand what you have been through, what you are going through, and who can offer advice and support. You can watch an inspiration video on youtube, read a great blog post, or even ask for support from friends on Twitter or Facebook. When used appropriately these can be great resources. The problem emerges when that sneaky comparing voice comes back. We start to compare our day to day life with others highlight reels. We compare pictures of ourselves at various time periods, we compare our bodies to others and we even compare our happiness to the perceived happiness of others. We stare at pictures on pinterest and feel like bad mothers, bad friends, bad organizers, etc. When this happens we must remember that we don't always know the reality of others lives. We must remember that everyone has a context and a behind the scenes! And that even if they are happy, successful and fulfilled, that we can be as well. Perhaps we just are not to that part of our journey yet, perhaps we had different obstacles that delayed this or perhaps we just need to do the therapeutic work to find that state of mind and develop those relationships.
So this year, as we approach the new year and people set unrealistic or unhealthy resolutions, put yourself and your life in context. Recognize and be grateful for the progress you have made. Be thankful for your body and what it does for you every day and all that it has endured. And work to imagine and develop the life you want to live, the relationships you want to have and the happiness you deserve. Set realistic, measurable goals for the year, that are about health, relationships and happiness.
"Beginnings are usually scare and endings are usually sad, but its the middle that counts. You have to remember this when you find yourself at the beginning." ~ Hope Floats
"I'm at peace with myself and where I am. In the past, I was always looking to see how everybody else was doing. I wasn't competitive, I was comparative. I just wanted to be where everybody else was. Now I've gotten to an age when I am not comparing anymore. "~ Courtney Cox
"When you stop comparing what is right here and now with what you wish were, you can begin to enjoy what is. " ~ Chery Hubner
"Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged." ~ Helen Keller