LETTING GO OF IDENTITY - FEELING LOST & RECOVERY
One thing I know many recovering from eating disorders struggle with is identity - who am I without this? If I am no longer the ‘thin’ or poorly or fill-in-blank-here then who am I?
It’s something I’ve been grappling with a lot recently. In many ways I’ve been feeling better. But the further I move away from my ED the more lost I feel. And so strangely the pull to go back, to what is understandable and known gets stronger. Even though in sensible moments I know just how harmful that mindset is to moving OUT of this destructive cycle I have been stuck in for over a decade.
We feel lost because identities help things feel concrete and make sense. The stories we tell ourselves help us feel a little more in control in a world that is anything but predictable. But these stories also form our lives. And so can become cages.
James Clear, the author of Automatic Habits, writes, ‘self image gets in the way. This is why you can’t get too attached to one version of your identity. Progress requires unlearning. Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to upgrade and expand your identity.’
We can rewrite our stories, with squiggly lines and blurred elastic edges. Just like our identity our stories are not concrete, as scary as that may seem to some (me). Instead they are moveable, changing, adaptable to allow us to grow.
And so with every thought and/or every action, perhaps we have to ask ourselves, what is the story I am telling myself? And is this a vote for who I want to be and where I want to go?