Taking steps toward healing an eating disorder requires everyday courage—the kind that enables you to keep showing up and putting in the work, even when you make mistakes or have doubts.
The word “courage” comes from the French word for “heart.” It’s a quality of feeling, not logic. Although it’s more often associated with grand heroic feats in action movies or big life events like job interviews, courage is something that you use every day. And there is great value in learning to recognize and celebrate your own everyday courage, especially if you are in recovery.
So how do you cultivate courage? Professor and author Brené Brown tells us that “vulnerability is our most accurate way to measure courage.” And it’s true: Vulnerability is closely tied to courage, even though sometimes the two states can feel like polar opposites.
With that in mind, here are three small ways to practice courage:
1. Acknowledge what is hard today. Admitting that something is challenging—especially if your mind tells you it “should” be easy—is a fantastic way to practice self-compassion. It’s about listening to yourself and honoring what feels true today.
Try this reflective journaling practice: Write down three things that went well and three things that were tough today. Devoting time each day for gratitude as well as holding space for what was hard helps normalize that every day has its ups and downs—and that’s okay.
2. Keep showing up. For those with perfectionist tendencies, it’s common to operate under a mentality that “If I can’t do it perfectly, it’s not worth doing at all.” If this describes you, then it’s important to celebrate persistence. Acknowledge that some days are harder than others to show up at work, school, or a social event.
Rather than berating yourself for how you could have looked, acted, or performed better, give yourself praise and encouragement for showing up on a day when showing up was difficult. You are strengthening your resilience with this practice.
3. Connect with the outside world. When trying to overcome an eating disorder, it’s important not to get caught up in your internal world. Gain perspective by stepping outside of yourself: Share a brief smile with someone in the grocery store or call a friend for a chat.
Opening yourself up to someone else’s life, whether for a moment or an hour, can take courage. If you aren’t feeling social, find some beauty to connect to in the natural world by visiting a park or garden. Moving toward connection with others and the world around you alleviates isolation and is a key part of healing from an eating disorder.
Healing is not linear. Some days you may question your progress.
It might feel like you’ve gone back to your old ways, or “messed up.” This can feel uncomfortable. Have faith in the path you are on. It’s not about choosing the perfect path, it’s about continuing to take steps forward and being willing to reflect and recalibrate. Recognizing your own everyday courage makes the journey easier to navigate.
Are you ready to take the next step in healing from your eating disorder? Connect with us for a free 15-minute call.