Values in Eating Disorder Recovery

Values are at your core, they are your deepest wishes and desires for who you want to be and what you want to be known for. Values are not necessarily TRUE of you right now- you may or may not be living in line with them. More likely, you are living relatively in line with some of them, and totally missing the mark on others. Why is that likely? Because you, and I, are human. We let temptations, laziness, or other behaviors override our values. We are constantly working towards them.

If you have an eating disorder, your ED behaviors are likely in direct contrast to your true values. For example, you value connection and deeply care about your friends and family. But, when your ED is strong, you lie, disconnect, and isolate from those very same friends and family. This is NOT because you’re weak, but because the ED is really strong, and deceptive. You may not even recognize that you are lying, disconnecting, and isolating until it’s pointed out by a therapist or trusted friend. The fact is, you can’t have your ED and have your values at the same time. Every choice you make is a choice to move towards your values or towards the ED.

My clients tend to struggle with this. Maybe you do too.

Maybe you want to have your ED, or even just the “good” parts of your ED… but you also want to be living in line with your values. I hear you. I get it. And it would be great if it were possible to separate the “good” parts of the ED (more on that in another post), get rid of the bad, and maintain your values. But if you’re really honest with yourself, has that ever worked? It’s just not possible, as much as you want it to be. So what is more important? Every choice is an opportunity to choose the ED or choose recovery. It’s not easy and it's an ongoing process, but it’s so, so worth it. 

Kristen CairnsComment