I can remember being told many times throughout the years of being ill with anorexia that I was “just being selfish”. Whew! Didn’t I care about my family, my children, etc.? Talk about shame and guilt!! I KNEW I was not a selfish person, in fact, looking back, I sacrificed myself in many ways in an attempt to please others or meet their expectations, however convoluted it may have appeared.
To those on the outside looking in on a person who is suffering with an eating disorder, I can see how it can appear to be a very ‘selfish’ condition. YES, an eating disorder does in fact develop into a very ‘self-focused’ way of existence. But that’s different from BEING selfish.
I think it’s important for any of us who have been told this, to realize the deeper meaning, and to not allow this to be another factor that decreases the worth we see in ourselves.
During recovery, I think many steps along the way are devoted to switching that focus from ourselves, in terms of the obsessive rituals and rules that have kept us sick, to focusing on how to truly CARE for ourselves. Even this focus is NOT selfish, but an important factor that will truly increase our belief in ourselves and the strength we have to embrace others into our lives.
Some things that may be helpful include: daily gratitudes (which may translate to prayer, meditation, yoga, etc.), relaxation tecniques, daily emotional check-ins with those close to you who understand, journaling, SUPPORT GROUPS, or any other methods that help you to change your mindset from your external identity, to who you are internally, heart and soul.
How can you change YOUR self-focus to a more recovery type of focus?