Tag Archive | Eating Disorders

What Are You Afraid Of?

I used to be afraid at night. Afraid of the dark. Afraid that just beyond the point my eyesight allowed me to see that there was something lurking. Afraid that the darkness itself would somehow surround me and swallow me up…as if darkness were anything more than simply the absence of light.

I used to be afraid of tomorrow. Afraid that who I was would continually dictate who I am, and that who I would be might be someone who I didn’t like very much at all…as though there was no such thing as being made new.

I used to be afraid of opinions. Afraid that though words would not break my bones, they certainly would shatter my dreams…as though I started doing this for the approval of many, rather than the glory of One.

I used to be afraid of failure. Afraid of losing. Afraid of falling. Afraid of being wrong, creating busts, and looking absolutely stupid, because who am I to think that I could ever actually make a difference? As if those setbacks were anything more than the laying down of stepping stones on the path to success.

I used to be afraid.  Used to.

But then I did a little research.  And by that, I mean I re-searched, and I re-searched, and I re-searched, over and over again, and through all of my re-searching, I kept coming up with the same exact question:

What room does fear have?

What room does fear have when I cling to TRUST? What room does fear have when I lean on HOPE? What room does fear have when I search for something more, when I discover and realize what’s good, and when I stand in AWE? When I run with PERSEVERANCE, when I walk by FAITH, and when I rest in COMFORT. What room does fear have when I sing with PRAISE, when I take hold of INSPIRATION, explore the POSSIBILITIES, and step into FREEDOM? What room does fear have when I discover STRENGTH, EMBRACE COURAGE, REMEMBER PEACE, DECLARE TRUTH, CHOOSE JOY, EXPERIENCE LIFE and CONQUER DEATH? What room does fear have when I find perfection in the one place I never thought to look? In weakness, when I’m saved by the most unlikely of heroes. By grace, when I’m invited into a relationship more loving and intimate than I could ever imagine, as a child of God.

I’ll ask you again: what room does fear have when I step out of the darkness, and I bask in the light? When I let the past be the past and the future has no limit. When they can talk all they want, but their opinion doesn’t matter! And when failure is nothing more and nothing less than the road by which I walk my path to success.

I’ll ask you one last time: what room does fear have when in His Word, He tells me three hundred and sixty-five times DO. NOT. BE. AFRAID. As if I needed to hear that every single day. And as if that’s how many times I needed to hear it before I finally believed it.

What room does fear have when I make room for LOVE?

What are you afraid of? 

 

-Jon Jorgenson

 

Here is the video if you want to watch him speak it.

Motivation

There are days where you get knocked down by one thing after another. You forget your lunch at home and you know your dogs already ate it, so there is no use in turning around (it’s happened). Or maybe all the hard work you put in on a project at work gets overlooked, leaving you feeling stranded and unseen. But if you really think about it, you are in control of your choices and they are ultimately yours. As we go through life making our choice, strong, motivational quotes from powerful people can give you a new outlook. Here are 14 that will challenge you to be the best you can be. These can apply to any aspect of life… from recovery… to a new job… to trials we face!

  1. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. — Maya Angelou1
  2. Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences. — J.K. Rowling
  3. The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. — Ayn Rand3
  4. I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it. — Estée Lauder4
  5. Power’s not given to you. You have to take it. — Beyoncé5
  6. I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done. — Lucille Ball6
  7. If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one. — Dolly Parton7
  8. You can’t give up! If you give up, you’re like everybody else. — Chris EvertRR
  9. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. — Jane Goodall9
  10. I choose to make the rest of my life the best of my life. — Louise Haybest
  11. If you don’t like being a doormat then get off the floor. — Al-Anon11
  12. Drama is very important in life: You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper. — Julia Childmisty
  13. Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. — Nora EphronRR2
  14. A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want. — Madonna14

Faithfully His

As I think back to how I managed the last long, hard stretch of recovery, I know that what did it for me was my faith. It doesn’t matter if you’re in recovery from an eating disorder like I was, or if your addiction is alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, gambling, or something else. What I learned is that, with my strong-hold, I had to submit myself to a higher power, and realize that I could not do it all myself – I needed to seek strength from God. In doing so, my recovery took a turn, and I had the strength to get through times that felt unbearable. No longer did I need to find my own strength to endure because I had His. Through recovery, I learned that I am Faithfully His.

God has given his Word to learn from and enjoy. To refresh us. To call out the desire for relationship with Him that He’s planted deep within our souls. To speak to our hearts. To show us who He is. To awaken us to our failings, but then to draw us toward the restorative, redemptive blessings.

His Word is not a chore. It’s life. It’s love. It’s the living truth. It’s not just to read. It’s to be absorbed. To bathe in. To breathe in. To live by. To inspire us, to reshape us. To define us. That’s because it’s alive. It’s not a book written with historical data for your information but animated by His Spirit for your edification – to speak intimately and personally to you regarding His purposes for your life.

The Word is there to help us keep our way, and without it we can lose our strength. In a world inundated with ideas to the contrary, it is our constant reminder of who we really are, why we are here, and who we really belong to.

You are His, and His Word helps to keep your sure of that. Just as she stated, here is a lengthy list of affirmation statements created by Priscila Shirer from her book The Resolution for Women, taken directly from the Word of the living God. They’re not direct quotes, but they recast the theme of the referenced verse so you can declare it in first person.

As you audibly speak these biblical statements over your life (or your loved ones) your mind will be renewed, your faith will be strengthened, and your attitude will be transformed. “Faith come from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.”

prayer_3

This lengthy list doesn’t have to be read or spoken all at once, but it’s there if you need something fast and short to speak aloud to get through difficult moments. (I actually wrote scriptures on note cards, put them on a key ring, and kept them in my purse for easy access).

Without further ado: 

  • I love the Lord my God with my whole heart, soul, and mind (Mark 12:30)
  • I walk by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)
  • The Lord is on my side; I will not fear what man can do to me (Psalm 118:6)
  • I am competent not in my own abilities but he has made me competent by His spirit that gives me life (2 Corinthians 3: 5-6)
  • I abide in Christ, He abides in me and I bear much fruit. Apart from Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5)
  • I have the mind of Christ; therefore I act in a way that is consistent with His actions (1 Corinthians 2:16)
  • You will never leave me nor for sake me (Hebrews 13:5)
  • I do not look with disdain upon my weaknesses. I see them as opportunities for God to display his powerful strength and grace through me (2 Corinthians 12:10)
  • No weapon formed against me can prosper, and every tongue that rises up against me in judgment will be condemned (Isaiah 54:17)
  • I will be hospitable without complaint (1 Peter 4:9)
  • I will not use my tongue to speak cursing, but rather I will speak life-giving blessings to everyone I meet any and every situation I face (James 3:8-10)
  • The Spirit in dwells me; therefore I am the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16)
  • I am faithful over a few things, and I will be made ruler over many (Matthew 25:23)
  • I humbly submit to God, and actively resist the work of the devil, knowing he must flee from me (James 4:7)
  • I will not give the enemy opportunity or foothold in my life (Ephesians 4:27)
  • The One who is in me is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)
  • I choose to obey the Lord and receive the prosperous abundance and blessing He will bestow on me (Deuteronomy 30:8-9)
  • My heart keeps the Commandments of God. They will add length of days and peace to my life (Proverbs 3:2)
  • I walk by the Spirit and do not fulfill the desires of my flesh (Galatians 5:16)
  • I am enabled to exhibit the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • The Lord guards my going out and my coming in, today and forever (Psalm 121:8)
  • I rejoice in the Lord wheter circumstances are good or bad (Phillipians 4:4)
  • I will not be afraid when I lie down and my sleep shall be sweet (Proverbs 3: 24)
  • I obtain the favor of the Lord (Proverbs 12:2)
  • The Lord is in my midst, and He sings over me with joy (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • I am the apple of my Father’s eye (Deuteronomy 32:10)
  • Goodness and mercy will follow me not only today but all the days of my life (Psalm 23:6)
  • I have been made in the image and likeness of God himself. This is my heritage (Genesis 1:27)
  • I have not been given the spirit of this world, rather, I have the Spirit of God that I might know the mind and will of God for me (1 Corinthians 1:12)
  • I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16)
  • My steps have been ordained and ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23)
  • I only allow my mind to entertain what is honorable, right, pure, lovely, noble, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8)
  • I long for the pure milk of the Word that I may grow to spiritual maturity (1Peter 2:2)
  • I seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:14)
  • I am a necessary and useful part of the body of Christ, and I will use my spiritual gifts to edify others (1 Corinthians 12:7)
  • Faith, hope, and love -especially love- abide in me (1 Corinthians 13:13)
  • I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • I have been given victory in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 15:57)
  • I am meek, and I will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5)
  • I extend mercy to others, and I will in turn receive mercy (Matthew 5:7)
  • I have a pure heart before God, and I expect to see His manifest presence in my life (Matthew 5:8)
  • I discipline myself for the purpose of godliness since it holds promise for the present life as well as the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8)
  • My ambition is to be pleasing to Him and him alone (2 Corinthians 5:9)
  • I do not judge fellow believers so that I will not bring judgment on myself (Romans 2:1)
  • My priority is to seek first the kingdom of God’s righteousness, and I expect all needed, secondary things to be added onto me (Matthew 6:33)
  • I am a true worshiper I worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23)
  • I do not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3)
  • Rivers of living water flow out of my inner being (John 7:38)
  • I have been chosen by God to bring forth fruit that shall remain (John 15:16)
  • I am a brand-new person my old sin nature has passed away, and everything has become new (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • No matter my past, I am forgiven of my sins because of His grace upon me (Ephesians 1:7)
  • I have been given every spiritual blessing in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3)
  • Because he was wounded, I am healed (Isaiah 53:5)
  • In Christ, I am whole and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:4)
  • Whatever I ask for in prayer according to the fathers will, I believe that I have received it (Mark 11:24)
  • I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. I am one of God’s own people (1 Peter 2:9)
  • I will not be afraid because I know the spirit of fear is not from Him. He has given me the spirit of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • I am not a stranger to God. I am a citizen of God’s kingdom and a member of his household (Ephesians 2:19)
  • I have been sealed by the Holy Spirit who indwells me. He is a pledge from the Father of my coming inheritance (Ephesians 1:13–14)
  • I am a masterpiece created in Christ Jesus in order to walk in the good works He has prepared for me to do (Ephesians 2:10)
  • For freedom I have been made free. I walk daily in this gift of freedom (Galatians 5:1)
  • I am dead to the power of sin (Romans 6:11)
  • I have been raised with Christ, and I sit with him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6)
  • I am the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13–14)
  • I will not fear because the Lord is my light, my salvation, and the strength of my life (Psalm 27:1)
  • The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
  • I trust completely in the Lord; therefore I will be like a fruit-bearing tree that continually finds nourishment despite dry, parched weather (Jeremiah 17:7–8)
  • No good thing will the Lord withhold from me as I walk uprightly before Him (Psalm 84:11)
  • Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, and I will do the worlds that He did (John 14:12)
  • In Christ I have become a child of God, and I receive the blessings God has for me(John 1:2; Romans 16:17)
  • In Christ, God has chosen me as His own and made me strong. He has placed His mark on me. He has placed His Spirit in my heart as a guarantee for all he has promised (2 Corinthians 1:21– 22)
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)

believe

Today God invites you to live a life marked by faithfulness. By his Spirit and with the guidance and encouragement of His Word, this is an absolutely attainable goal for you. No matter what your past has held, this resolution can mark a new beginning. Read the resolution prayerfully and hold it in your heart when you are ready. You are Faithfully His.

Body Respect

What if you’re not ready to love your body?

I tried to think back, and I don’t know when I stopped glancing at my body in the glass as I passed by windows, but I know it has happened somewhere between when I didn’t like my body, and now, when I accept and like it. As I thought back to how I am now able to not check out my size in the glass as I pass, I think that middle ground that I learned to find was a neutral relationship of respect with my body.

body     keep-calm-and-love-your-body      beautiful

While “Love Your Body” mantras and “Everyone Is Beautiful” Band-Aids are wielded by people with their hearts in the right places, it puts a lot of undue pressure on people when we provide a “what” without the “how.” Sometimes it seems like we expect them to miraculously jump from hatred to unconditional love in a single bound. While I’m all for a world where people of all shapes, sizes flaunt their stuff, while dripping with self-confidence, I also think it’s an unfair expectation to say, “just love your body,” because it isn’t that easy.

As I started the journey of turning away from hating my body, and leaning more toward respecting my body, I found that I constantly asked my psychologist, How am I supposed to love my body? What if I never love my body? ” It really felt like this journey of loving and accepting my body was supposed to happen in some large catapult. This is not the case! Accepting your body comes with intentional work over time, and you just have to take baby steps. I found that as I started respecting it for what it could do, I began to find neutral ground that we (my body and my thoughts) could stand on….. Essentially, I started to actually feel the respect my body, and not just say it. It’s definitely NOT a catapult from one place to the other!

catapult

Body respect might look like waking up in the morning and asking yourself, first thing, simply, “How do I feel in my body?” It’s figuring out what you need to feel good in that moment – whether it’s oatmeal for breakfast, a few more minutes of sleep, or an extra cup of coffee. When you respect your body you are assessing how you feel in it, and doing something to make it more positive. That can be jazzing up your outfit with a fun scarf, or deciding you feel so tired, it’s a flat shoe kind of day. It is also intentionally choosing clothing that fits appropriately as to not make you feel bad throughout the day – sometimes, for me, it just was not a dress kind of day because I didn’t want the distraction of my thighs touching, so I would reach for the pants in the closet, and find a way to spice that up and enjoy what I was wearing with cute shoes and a scarf. As time went on, I wore the dresses a little here and there and now I love them. I worked to not be defeated by wearing pants, it was just where I was at that day. I

Body respect is neither scrutinizing your body, nor necessarily admiring yourself, but finding a way to respect the body you have right now (especially for what it does for you). It’s self-talk that is positive because you know someday you will accept your body. It’s going to the gym because you want to feel healthier and more energized, not because you feel guilty and like you have to work out because you had cake at a work party. It’s eating all the necessary calories because you know your body is a complex system that wants to run efficiently. It’s not thinking twice about that craving you have for a grande Mocha Latte because it is neither a source of shame (“If I get it, I’ll get a non-fat, no-whip tall”) nor pride (“Let me post this on instagram so everyone knows how not worried about food I am!”). It’s simply satisfying a craving.

Body respect is putting it on a blank slate each day. It’s saying, “I respect my body enough for all the functions it does for me each day, and I will keep respecting it.” It’s no longer waging war, yet not necessarily having to say, “I love you and you are my best friend!” It’s also the ability to wait, and allow for that growth of acceptance to happen (and with work and patience, it will). It’s being fair enough to say, “I might not love you right now, but I respect all that you do for me and what you need.”

Body respect really is a form body acceptance. It’s a stop on the train to body love. You can get off there or stay on for the ride toward the final destination. The point is, once you’re there, you’ll never look back and long for the place that you left.

And maybe…. Just maybe…. if we teach people body respect, and how to inch toward body love, rather than implying that the only way there is a catapult — they’ll (more comfortably, daringly, courageously) feel empowered to leave their body hate behind.

Dumping Your Friends

Our friends and important people/relationships come into our lives for many reasons and at many stages in our lives. Sometimes we may have been in strollers beside one another, taken family vacations together, met in college, or met in our adult life. Friends come in various forms – acquaintances, casual relationships, close friends and intimate friends. I hold my trusted relationships near and dear to my heart, and take all friendships seriously. I am a firm believer that everyone comes into your life for a reason and that we have something we can learn from every relationship and interaction.

However, not every friend that you will make in your life is meant to stay – this is a harsh, true and sad reality. Sometimes our friends in our lives are cannot stay, and it hurts.

Sometimes enforcing your boundaries means telling the person to stop, and not letting them continue behavior that is not healthy for you. But sometimes enforcing boundaries means that you need to simply walk away from the relationship entirely.

People talk a lot about breaking up with our girlfriends or boyfriends, our husbands and wives… but frequently we don’t realize we can break up with our friends too. And, unfortunately, sometimes it’s necessary, and can be incredibly difficult.

Ending a relationship is hard, but in many ways, ending a friendship can be harder. You may feel as though this means you’ve “failed” somehow, and you may have a hard time of letting go of a relationship that’s lasted for months or even years. You may also worry that this is going to mean that you’re going to have to give up your entire social circle or end up having no friends at all. These are all valid and reasonable fears. Letting go of a long-term relationship, platonic or otherwise, is scary, but sometimes necessary. I have had to make these decisions, and can say it has been the best decision I have made for myself. Your self-esteem, your mental and emotional health is far more valuable than putting up with someone who tries to undermine you, or just isn’t healthy for you.

I’ve learned many lessons with friends (or when ending friendships) in my life and a few are listed below:

Lesson #1: Don’t let your loyalty become slavery – Never compromise your self-respect

I am far from perfect, but I do take pride in being honest and loyal to my friends. I’m the friend that is often mistaken as a family member who will pick you up from the bar at 2am and give you anything to help you feel better if you’re sick. My love for you is unconditional, and I will always be there for you when you need it. In relationships, sometimes there are “givers” and “takers.” What works the best is when you are both givers, and give equally. However, when someone fails to reciprocate the type of friendship you’ve given to them, it may be time to call it quits. Don’t let your loyalty become slavery. Don’t allow your commitment to being a good friend shackle and harm your spirit. Never compromise on self-respect, and know when enough is enough. If you are friends with a “taker” (meaning a person who never gives back), it can get exhausting, and you don’t have to continue to “give” if that is the case. If your friend always expects from you, but never gives or fulfills anything for you, it might not be the best relationship.

Lesson #2: Characterize people by their actions, not their words

By far one my biggest pet peeves is saying one thing and doing another. This can come in many forms. This can be in the form of making plans and breaking them, or saying you are one type of person but acting a different way. Learn to characterize people by their actions, not their words.

If you have that one friend who is constantly promising and never delivering, it’s time to accept that this pattern doesn’t change, but continues… unless you do something about it. Talking to them about it, or bringing it to their attention could be helpful, and if they are a true friend they will hear it.

If you have a friend who might have a different value system than you, there could be a clash of beliefs and ways of life. If your friend makes you feel bad about yourself or is always negative – it’s okay to distance yourself from them if it’s not a healthy place to be. Your friend’s actions will tell you who they are and how true they are to you. Their actions will also tell you if your value systems line up together, or if there is a disconnect.

Lesson #3: You can’t change someone who doesn’t see an issue with their actions

This one is more difficult to accept. Not everyone is able to apologize and admit when they’re wrong. You can’t change someone who doesn’t see an issue with their actions. A sincere person can wear the shoes of others, admit when they’re wrong, and will go out of their way to make things right again. Someone who refuses to do this out of pride (or anything else) is not someone you can learn and grow from. Being able to admit when you’re wrong, even in the toughest of circumstances, makes you a good person. If you are faced with (and upset by) people who can’t apologize for their actions, or don’t see issues in what they do, it’s probably not going to change until they make that change within their self. You will not change them, and holding on and getting hurt will do nothing but put you through more pain.

Lesson #4: You are allowed to terminate toxic relationships

Walking away from a friendship that no longer benefits you in a healthy way isn’t wrong; it means you’re a stronger person for doing so. Being able to accept that this person is not inherently bad, just not healthy for you and your life, is what makes you noble. You are allowed to terminate toxic relationships. You have to respect yourself enough to leave behind people and situations that no longer serve you in a positive way. As much as you care about the friendship, you can’t destroy yourself for the sake of someone else, especially when you know they wouldn’t do the same for you. I have learned that not everyone feels the same way about people and relationships that I do, and that is okay. I would rather have 2-3 close relationships than many toxic ones that I’m holding onto.

When I spend my time during the day, I want my time to be positive and I want it to be appreciated. If I give my time to others, I want to know that it would be reciprocated if I ever needed something back. I have been in situations where I realized that the “giving back” is not going to be reciprocated, and it’s not something fun to realize in a moment of need. But, this is how we learn in life.

Since I’ve recovered, I’ve learned the importance of finding health and maintaining a healthy balance everywhere in my life. One of those things to balance is relationships with others. So, whether it is a best friend, coworker, casual friend or acquaintance who is doing the “taking” and not necessarily “giving” back, it’s okay to reevaluate relationship boundaries and begin to place healthy ones for yourself.

So, if you choose to end or distance a friendship, know that you are making a choice for what is healthy for you and the relationships you want in life. Your friend may think you are selfish and unforgiving, but that is for them to feel/deal with, and you don’t owe you any explanation for finally taking care of yourself the way you deserve.

Dating in Recovery: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

Healthy relationships are very important as you recover. This is a really good article with a few questions to think about. As I journeyed through recovery, I found that these were some questions I pondered in therapy (even though I’m married) because I had to make sure I was fostering a healthy relationship with my husband. I didn’t want us to be enmeshed, and I wanted us to have a healthy relationship. A couple is a coming together of two healthy and independent people to form a pair, where one is not dependent on the other, but instead they are partners. This article is totally worthy of a read if you are in recovery and entering the dating world, or will at some point.

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Dating in Recovery: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

Dating-in-recoverySo you’ve begun to get the cravings under control and are starting to rebuild your life. You’re changing habits, changing your thinking and feeling hopeful about the future. As you begin to find more enjoyment throughout your days, you might also be thinking it would be nice to have someone to share all these beautiful things with. But before you jump head first into dating, or a relationship, you need to ask yourself if you’re really ready for dating in recovery. While finding that special someone to share your life with has many benefits, it’s also a big responsibility. Below are four questions to help you decide whether it’s time to write dating into this chapter of your life.

  1. Have you given yourself enough time to develop your ideal version of you?

Often during active addiction, we can lose our sense of self. We’re attached to drugs, alcohol and/or behaviors which take a lot of our time, attention and resources. It’s not uncommon to quit an addiction and find yourself wondering just who you are without it. Many people find early (and even later) recovery to be a time of self-reflection and renewal. You’re rekindling old interests and finding new ones. You’re re-prioritizing your values and core beliefs about yourself and the world. You’re taking up new activities, hobbies and friends. Your life is changing in many ways, and it’s important not only to enjoy this process of change, but allow time for it to truly develop and take hold. If you shift your focus to another person too soon, you risk the possibility of shortchanging yourself on a solid foundation and developing a relationship with the person who matters most: yourself.

  1. How well do you know and trust your instincts?

Addiction and its underlying causes have a way of anesthetizing our gut reactions to people, places and things. Learning to trust your instinct can be a lifelong process, but it is of particular concern in earlier recovery. Learning to pay attention to internal alarms, as well as how to deal with them and make good decisions which will protect our best interests is key to a healthy foundation. If our internal measuring system for which we determine what is good and healthy for us isn’t fully developed, we can get into trouble. Relationships are vulnerable to this, and without a sense of who is good for us and who isn’t, it’s easy to get into something with someone who will only bring us down.

  1. Is your personal strength independent of others?

Sometimes being in a relationship can make us feel strong. We feel as though we can conquer anything – as long as we have the other person. This thinking might be romantic, but it is impractical at best. Sure, we want to be with someone who has our back (so to speak), but we need to know that we have our own. It’s important to be able to stand on our own two feet whether we are in a relationship or not. What if the person you’re with begins to threaten your recovery? Maybe they have addiction issues of their own? Maybe they hurt you or don’t support your recovery. Are you strong enough to decide when the relationship is no longer worth the threat to your overall happiness and well-being? Are you strong enough to leave? Even if the relationship is absolutely wonderful, are you strong enough to endure a break up if things don’t work out? If you feel like any of this might jeopardize your recovery, you might want to hold off until you’re feeling a little more confident in your strength and independence.

  1. Are you using a relationship to escape?

It’s not uncommon to find someone who is using dating or a relationship to take them away from reality. Are you feeling bored? Tired of focusing on your recovery? Feeling lonely? If you answer yes to these questions or others like them, you might want to look a little more deeply at your motives for seeking out another person. Love can be a powerful distraction and infatuation perhaps an even stronger one. So many chemical changes take place when we are interested in someone, love and infatuation act very much like the substances we were once dependent upon. It is critical that you be honest with yourself as to why you are wanting to date or get involved with another person. If it’s for any reason other than to share this super amazing life you’ve been building for yourself, then it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate your motives.

The link to the page on the internet, from the site practicalrecovery.com, can be found here.

Catch-22

I’m an English nerd and I love the novel Catch-22… if you haven’t read it, you should…

In the event you are unaware, a “catch-22” is a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules.

For example: To apply for this job, you would have to be insane; but if you are insane, you are unacceptable for the job.

Crappy situation, right!?

The term is introduced by the character Doc Daneeka, an army psychiatrist who invokes “Catch-22” to explain why any pilot requesting mental evaluation for insanityhoping to be found not sane enough to fly, and thereby escape dangerous missionsdemonstrates his own sanity in making the request and thus cannot be declared insane.

It’s really an interesting read and makes a lot of social statements.

So, I’ve realized that women are in a Catch-22 situation!

Women are scrutinized if they are too fat or too thin! And then, finally, when they are normal… there is still something wrong with them! The interesting thing is – this does not happen to men nearly as much as women!! We hear all about the body shaming of women, but far less about it of men (not that it doesn’t happen, because it does). Why? We live in a culture where the sexualization of women is prominent and a person is made into a object for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making. Advertisement and entertainment media play a large role in the way women are portrayed, and the results have not been good (That’s a blog for another day).

If you’re too fat – you get scrutiny for being unhealthy.

If you’re too thin – you get scrutiny for being unhealthy.

If you’re normal, but athletic or strong, you get scrutiny for being too masculine.

It almost seems like there is no perfect place for a woman to be.

Tina Fey explains the female dilemma quite well in her book Bossypants:

“Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits.”

A recent example of this: Rhonda Rousey

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This woman is amazing! She just defended her championship UFC title knocking out her opponent in 34 seconds (she knocked out another one in 17 seconds). She is a healthy woman who said she actively chose to gain 15 pounds for a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Photo shoot because she feels the most beautiful at 150, not her fighting weight of 135.

That photo shoot:

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After winning her fight, she posted a picture of herself (below) enjoying time with her family at a soccer game in Rio de Janeiro and was blasted by the media for being “too masculine.” So… a woman who is 135lbs with an athletic build, who is obviously fit, is also not good enough. So now, any muscle tone means “too masculine.” What about the men who have no muscle tone out there? Are they “too feminine”? Her response was great – she basically said, “screw you, I don’t care what you think!”

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In an interview with Cosmopolitan Rousey stated, “I grew up thinking that because my body type was common [i.e., athletic], it was a bad thing,” she said in the interview. “Now that I’m older, I’ve really begun to realize that my body has developed for a purpose and not just to be looked at. It took a lot of time to develop a healthier relationship with food and with my weight. My mind was backward. I thought I wanted my body to look a certain way so I could be happy. But it got to the point where I didn’t feel I looked good at 135 pounds, the weight that qualifies me for the weight class that I fight in.”

Ronda Rousey is so correct! We have to get to a point where we realize that our bodies are not made to just be looked at. Sure, that can be part of it. I’m now at the point where I can put on an outfit and say, “damn, my butt looks awesome!” but that’s not what it’s here to do. My body is here for many more things. My body is here to move me from point A to point B, to hug my friends, to worship God, to teach a classroom full of students, to love my family, to run races, to sit on a beach, and to find infinite new things that are exciting. My body is just a vessel that holds the true person that I really am, but It’s the vessel that allows me to be the person that I want to be. And, because I am the person I want to be, I enjoy what I see in that vessel and feel good going what I do.

This is why we should put down the magazines, get off social media, stop looking at models and start appreciating our bodies for the strength they have. Taking off our clothes and flaunting our bodies (Miley Cyrus…ahem…) does not “take back our bodies and take back the power,” in fact, it probably makes it worse (That’s also another blog for another day).

So, to further my point…. Here is a short list of some pretty awesome people – who are pretty normal – who are apparently all “fat”…

… and they were told they would never make it in their field because of it.

  1. Jennifer Lawrence – Award winning actress – She was “too fat” to play Katniss in The Hunger Games, her “womanly” body just wasn’t the right size. They said she didn’t look like the starving character she was supposed to portray. It’s okay to roll your eyes.

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  1. Misty Copeland – First African-American Principal Dancer – She was “too fat” and “too athletic” for many dance companies. She was criticized for not having the right body, for having a bust, and how she is the most acclaimed dancer in history.

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  1. Ronda Rousey – Defending UFC Champion – She was told she was “too masculine” even though her weight wasn’t the issue. So, we can be “just right” and still have something wrong according to the standards of the media.

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  1. Kesha – Pop Star – She was told she was “too fat” and needed to drop weight to stay mainstream. This advice from her manager led her down the path of an eating disorder.

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  1. Lady Gaga – Singer – She was criticized for gaining weight after overcoming her battles with eating disorders. She started a movement of body acceptance and compassion.

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  1. Adele – Singer – She may not be the fittest, but she makes the list. The director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, gave Adele one hell of a backhanded compliment, saying that, while she had a beautiful face and voice, she was a “little too fat.” It wasn’t the first time Adele was criticized for her weight in public, but the good news is that you don’t have to be a size 00 to win Grammys — Adele has 10.

Adele

  1. Tyra Banks – Model – She used to walk the runway and was told to lose weight when she started her career. She refused and still made it. Long after her career was over, she was criticized for being “fat” when her body changed (as we all do). I’m sure the writer who commented on her weight was “totally fit” when he wrote that about her! And, I’m sure he won’t criticize her “fat” bank account.

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  1. Christina Aguilera – Pop Star – The fantastically sexist website AskMen wrote an entire article on how terrible it is that Aguilera has gotten curvier since her “Genie In A Bottle Days” — you know, back when she was a teenager, before she had children! Remind her to care when she’s not dominating pop music.

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  1. Kate Winslet – Actress – She was told she was “too fat” for roles and was passed over. She nailed it in Titanic and has been a sensation for positive body image for women. Too bad those people never gave her a chance, because maybe their shows/movies could have won some Oscars too.

Kate

  1. Rebel Wilson – Actress – The Pitch Perfect star may have been “Fat Amy” in the film, but she’s less thrilled with name calling in actual life. She called out her haters by saying that she’s actually not the concerned with how hot she is — just how entertaining. Amen. She probably has more of a personality than most people doing the name calling.

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  1. Demi Lovato – Singer – once she let go of the pressures of staying thin, she went into rehab for her mental illness and got healthy from her eating disorder. Her healthy body was criticized as “fat” and she has been a body image pioneer since she started her journey toward health.

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  1. Kate Upton – Model – First of all, she’s beautiful. She’s been criticized for becoming so mainstream and not being stick thin. People have been quoted saying, “How DARE she be a bikini model, when she doesn’t have a bikini body!” She was called a “fat cow” by models after she appeared in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show which prompted an outrage and discussion of what body image really is. And, let’s be honest… she’s hot!

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So, what’s the lesson here? Define your own beauty. Rousey says it so well – our bodies are for more than just looking at! The easiest way to begin defining your beauty is to get off the internet, close the magazines and close down social media because they are breeding grounds for comparison. In high school I wanted so badly to be a fast sprinter, but I didn’t realize that my body was built to run the difficult middle distance races. Pulling away from everything that breeds comparison allows you to drop expectations and define who you are. When you can finally appreciate your strengths, you can learn to accept your flaws and love who you are.