Hello everyone! I’m RecoverReflect from Recovery Reflections! I write about all facets of eating disorder recovery, using my own experiences as inspiration for others. I am excited and honored to be writing the following guest post for Wellness Wednesdays and I’d love for you to stop by my blog and say hi! But, without further ado…
As per the Wellness Wheel, spirituality is at the core of our being, the essence of our soul. Having suffered from an eating disorder, it took me many years to understand, define, and accept who I truly am. If you would have asked me 10 years ago to explain my spirituality, I would not have even been able to answer. Now, healthy and recovered, I have made conscious efforts in developing “me” and can finally articulate my spirituality. For me, spirituality encompasses several aspects of my being:
· My optimism for myself, others, and the world in general
· My belief in a higher power
· My tolerance and acceptance for those different than myself
· My appreciation for the simple pleasures in life
· My purpose in life: I truly believe (and have believed since I was in the midst of my eating disorder) that I went through my eating disorder so I can effectively help others who are suffering (hence my career choice as a psychologist)
Identifying, defining, and loving the aspects of my core were the first essential steps I had to take in order to begin recovering from my eating disorder. And now, years later, I look at the Wellness Wheel and understand why: spirituality is at the center of all other aspects of one’s wellbeing. Without it, how can one purposefully begin to fulfill and enhance the other aspects of the self?
After analyzing the 12 subtasks of the Wellness Wheel, the two that stuck out for me most as I reflected back on my recovery were self-care and sense of worth. These were two aspects of wellness that were severely disturbed and disrupted from my eating disorder. However, once I began my journey through recovery and developed my sense of spirituality, I began to work on each of these aspects of wellness, slowly but surely. Because self-care and sense of worth were not obvious underlying symptoms of my eating disorder (like exercise, nutrition, emotional awareness and coping, and realistic beliefs were) they were not the first areas on which I focused to improve and make healthy. However, having finally concentrated on these two aspects of wellness, I feel they have profoundly changed my life for the better.
Self-care. Through years of therapy and personal discovery, I gave up my self-destructive habits and behaviors. This satisfied my doctors, parents, and friends. I was no longer starving, over exercising, or purging. I was eating a “normal” amount of calories and maintaining a healthy weight. However, for me this wasn’t enough. I was in this state of neutrality, not hurting myself, but also not doing anything special or caring for myself. At first, this idea of “self-care” did not even occur to me. It was through my spirituality that I realized I deserved to be more than neutrally existent. I deserved to enjoy life. How did spirituality relate to this?
· My optimism for myself, others, and the world in general gave me hope for a better, enjoyable life.
· My belief in a higher power helped me believe that God did not want me to be living in a life with out happiness and self care.
· My tolerance and acceptance for those different than myself helped me realize that my compassion for others could also be applied to myself.
· My appreciation for the simple pleasures in life gave me a better outlook on life in general, which helped me see my life as worthwhile.
· My purpose in life: I truly believe (and have believed since I was in the midst of my eating disorder) that I went through my eating disorder so I can effectively help others who are suffering (hence my career path to become a psychologist). Having such a purpose in life gives me reasons to maintain my health, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally, as well.
Make sure to check back on Thursday for Part 2 of this post!