Upon entering treatment I could have sworn that all I needed to fix was my relationship with food. While this was very true, that problem did not stand alone. Along with needing to fix a formerly abusive relationship with food, I also needed to heal relationships with my friends/family, my Heavenly Father, and the most wounded relationship of all--my relationship with MYSELF.
For now I just want to touch on how I'm working to restore my relationship with myself. I haven't gotten it all figured out yet, but a few days ago I made a discovery that will play a key role in my journey to recovery and finding myself again.
In a therapy session I was asked what I wanted for myself. I had to pause for a minute to think about this because there are about a million things I could have glued to the end of that question. But then a few words sort of illuminated in my mind and I instinctively grabbed hold of them. CONFIDENCE and SELF-WORTH. Those are the two words that escaped my mouth.
I was sort of taken back by my own response and if you know me at all then you're probably just as surprised.
I think most people would consider me to be a pretty confident person. And on the outside I can see where that assumption would come from. I've excelled in dancing and tumbling, I'm a cheerleader at a D1 college, I'm fairly athletic, I have a large circle of friends, and I'm never deprived of compliments on my body and/or appearance. (Despite the impression you're probably getting right now, I can assure you that I'm not saying any of this in a boastful way. If you can bear with me for just a sec, I'll actually show you how I've let all of this work against me).
Sure, all of those things I just mentioned are things I should find joy in. And joy I did find. But I made a terrible mistake when I let all of those things define who I was. I rooted all of my confidence and worth into these fleeting aspects of life. That's not to say that I shouldn't have been proud of these things or that they shouldn't have boosted my confidence or been apart of who I was, but when that's all I see myself as or when I honestly let myself believe that that is all others see when they look at me, thats where the problem gets created. What happens when those things are gone? Who am I when I'm no longer that cheerleader? Who am I when my body changes--because inevitably it will--? Who am I when my body no longer allows me to do all those cool flips? Who am I without the cute clothes? I'll tell you who I'll be. (Well first off, I'd be naked without the clothes, but thats not my point). I'll be a nobody. I'll be a nobody if I continue to find my confidence and worth on such a surfaced level. Those things are a part of me but they are not WHO I AM.
So now I'm left with a question. Who am I ? And better yet, who do I want to be?
I'll tell what I know as of now. I am Taylor. A girl who loves to make people laugh, a girl who would spare anyone from the pain shes experienced if she could, a girl who will find optimism in a considerably bad situation, a girl who has an undaunted desire to help others, a girl who finds herself so perplexed by the problems of the world that she can't watch the news, and a girl who is complex. Complex is the key because it says that there is so much more to her that she, or those around her have yet to discover. But those things will remain undiscovered if she continues to think that all she has to offer the world are her visible or outside qualities.
And now, who do I want to be? Well I want to be refreshingly honest. Fearlessly loyal. And constantly humble. (Things I lacked as I got deeper into my eating disorder). But I also want to be a good mother, a loving wife, and a sincere disciple of Christ.
All of these characteristics that I have and want, have nothing to do with my physicality or the things that I have, so why have I let those become my identity?? It's so frustrating. But the awareness I now have is what's going to change all of this. And I'm hoping that I've raised some awareness for all of you as well.
What shallow things have become your identity? Where do you get your confidence and your worth? Ask yourself these questions. And then dig deeper and start to discover who it is that you really are and who is it that you want to be. That's where you will find true and lasting confidence and worth.
The coolest part about asking ourselves who we are is that its a question that will span out across the rest of our lives, so it's not like we need to feel pressured to figure it all out today. But it is something we should start thinking about.
**I don't claim to be an artist, but we do a lot of art therapy in treatment so sometimes I get to pretend to be one :)
This is a flower I painted. The petals represent the things about me that could get taken away from me, or "plucked off" if you will. And the center represents the core of who I am, or things that I would still have even if I was plucked of all the other things. This project taught me that when combined, all of these things can make a truly beautiful creation.