Have you been hard on yourself lately?

Have you been putting pressure on yourself to ‘get it right’? Get what right, you might be asking. Well, anything, really: your recovery from dieting, your journey towards body acceptance, your attunement to your needs…

A few years ago I ran a Facebook Group for people who were on this path. A conversation arose about this self-imposed pressure (reinforced by our culture) to ‘get it right’.

The group member who started this conversation had worked incredibly hard on her recovery for at least 2 years. She was light-years away from where she was when I first got to know her: both in her eating behaviour, her relationship with her body and in her general approach to life. She made an enormous contribution to the group. She was very enthusiastic about a life free from dieting, food rules, fashion rules, and body oppression. And she received a lot of acknowledgement from the other members for her growth, how she shared her personal evolution with such vulnerability and authenticity; how she supported others etc.

Then she had what she described as a crash. She didn’t share in detail what that meant, but she did say she had let the group and herself down.

I was curious about why she thought she’d let herself and the group down? What was behind this thought? I believe it’s the demands and expectations we have unconsciously set up about how we think we have to be in order to be worthy, that contribute to this sense of having let us down. All the ‘positive’ acknowledgement she had received over time she’d interpreted to mean that her worthiness (no longer dependent on a thin body) was now dependent on her faultless recovery. (If you’re interested in a deep dive into this topic about our conditioning, go here.)

So I asked this:

How can you let someone else down? What does that mean? The only way you can let anyone down is if you have made a (realistic) commitment/ promise that you haven’t kept.

Did you promise to be thin?
Did you promise to be a certain size?
Did you promise to always love your body 100%?
Did you promise to be perfect?
Did you promise to never binge again?
Did you promise to give up certain foods?

How do you imagine you’ve let anyone else down?

Are you allowed to be confused?
Are you allowed to not have it all handled?
Are you allowed to be on your own unique journey with its ups and downs?
Are you allowed to be uniquely YOU?

Can you give yourself permission to be human?
Can you give yourself permission to take steps backward sometimes?
Can you give yourself permission to be in a funk, under a cloud, sometimes, even if it seems like most of the time?

Are you responsible for other people’s disappointment?
Are you responsible for anyone else’s feelings?

What can often happen in one’s personal evolution, is that the imperative to be thin, or have a certain body size/shape or eating behaviour in order to be acceptable or worthy, becomes displaced by other imperatives: to have a perfect recovery; to never become sad or depressed; to have it all handled. Forever.

This is just another opportunity to claim your unconditional worthiness.

Your worthiness cannot be bought – with a thin body, a relationship, certain clothes, a big house, money, a particular kind of job – or anything else.

It’s yours for the claiming.

Simple. Not necessarily easy!

With love,
Vania

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