Acceptance is hard. It’s one of the hardest things that I think anyone has to do in their life. You can correct me if I’m wrong, but I really don’t think I am wrong. Acceptance means that we have to drop our wall and allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to be okay with that with which we are not okay. We have to say, “this is not what I wanted, but I’ll be okay with this.” We have to be willing to allow change that we weren’t planning and we didn’t control. We don’t have to like it, but we have to say this is what is real and it’s not going away. This is hard.
The topic of acceptance has been coming up a lot lately and I think it’s something that is important. It’s also something that is extremely hard to do. I went out for a run the other morning and that run was amazing! I didn’t push myself and the breeze felt great. As I was running I just wanted to enjoy it. I realized I paused my pacer and had gone for a while, and didn’t know my pace, and was slightly worried. Then I thought, “I don’t want to know my pace, I want to enjoy this run, just because I can. I know what I’m capable of running, but maybe I just need to accept that I can’t be in peak running shape all the time.” I tell my athletes they can’t be in peak shape all the time! Why doesn’t this rule apply to me? Our bodies need rest and seasons off – I can’t be any different than that. I’ve had the discussion of over-training with my treatment team for some time and I think I just need to accept that this season of running is not going to be my best. Maybe this is a building season to find the reason why I love running and what running does for me. Today was probably the second or third time that I realized, while not running at peak performance, why I like it. I was running and enjoying the breeze, not pushing myself for time and it just felt good to run.
This all started when I was furloughed from my teaching position this spring, and just before that when my legs stopped working. They literally turned into cinder block legs. My cinder block legs made no sense to me. I was running perfectly fine (10 miles at a time) and then, one day, they just got exhausted and stopped working correctly. My performance started plummeting and I could barely finish a mile. I’m now realizing that as I’m bringing my body back to health, nutrition is catching up with all the things I’ve done to it, and it has a lot of healing to do. Needless to say, I’ve been fighting accepting this fact for quite some time, and I’m at the point where I just need to do it.
I couldn’t accept that the furlough happened because to me, it wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair because I did my job like I was supposed to, and I was just a number and let go like it meant nothing. But what I’m realizing is that my principal is fighting to get me back in the building so I did mean something to them. I am coaching for the district to stay there, so I did mean something to them. So, although there are things I can’t change, there are some that can. This leads me back to the Serenity Prayer that I try to think about a lot:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
The one thing I have to remember with this, and I’m reminded by my treatment team is that we can’t control everything around us, we can only control ourselves and how we react. But taking that a step further, as we control how we react, we have the choice to make it healthy or not. We can make the choice to accept what we can’t change and make a reaction to be healthy and let those emotions out, or keep them in and create harm for ourselves. As we grow and learn, we become stronger and hiding behind “I can’t do it; I can’t handle it” no longer works. We can do it because we have a choice. The choice is usually not the fun one, or the easy one… it’s usually the hardest and the one that hurts the most.
There comes a point in treatment and healing when you learn enough about your journey and what you’re doing where you know the right choices to make and it’s a matter of will power. I hate admitting that it’s a choice you’re making, but it’s the truth. There is a point where you are controlled by the eating disorder and you’re so malnourished that you have no clue (I had no clue), but now, there is no excuse. There is a point where you have learned enough that you can make the choice to instigate Ed, or fight against him. You have the option to fight Ed or feed Ed and it’s a very, very, very hard thing to do because you feel like fighting him is impossible. It’s not impossible. The treatment team was right…. The more you fight, the quieter the thoughts get. I wish it would happen a little faster, but at least it’s happening.