Portia de Rossi writes in her memoir on food addiction, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, “True nobility isn’t about you being better than someone else; it is about being better than you used to be.”
Being in recovery means exactly this. Taking a tiny step each day toward healing, focusing on yourself. And part of that means developing gratitude. Why is this so essential? What does it do for us?
Many of us grew up without someone telling us we were appreciated or loved. We didn’t witness gratitude or appreciation in our homes. Even more confusing was that sometimes we were neglected or abused and then told, “You should be grateful I had you!” Or when sitting at a dinner table we would be teased about our weight and if we cried we were told to be grateful for our food. This actually sends us a message that we should be grateful for abuse! Grateful for insults, hitting and an atmosphere of fear.
A pattern is established where we internalize that we are worth nothing and that therefore, anything we do, or accomplish or acquire is second rate. We look to outside things (food, men, status) to undo the damage but those things cannot give us what we are looking for. Or, conversely, we get a big head and become self-important, thinking we are better than others. That our worth is contingent upon our weight or the guy we date. The media then boxes us in with airbrushed, unrealistic images. And we suffer.
For some, this could mean locking themselves in a bathroom with a box full of chocolates. For Portia de Rossi, it meant an absolutely torturous diet and exercise regimen, wasting away to 82 pounds, finally collapsing on the set of a movie where she was playing her first leading role.
When we first practice being grateful for small things such as nature, a hot cup of tea or a recovery blog that understands us, we are opening a door to being grateful for ourselves, just the way we are. And the judgments and abuse we were using as a measuring stick start to fall outside of our new boundaries. We chase peace of mind, not big accomplishments or quick fixes. We no longer have to earn love or approval. This is scary; it feels like we are being lazy or settling. But it is the opposite. We are coming into who we truly are, who we always wanted to be. Opportunities will seem to appear out of nowhere if we stay on the path.
We can begin to ADD in things we are grateful for and TAKE OUT those things that make us feel negative, downtrodden and not good enough. We can ADD in a smoothie to our day or a vitamin or a yoga pose and TAKE OUT speaking unkindly to ourselves and self-sabotage. We can help someone else.
One useful tool is to just touch 2 fingers to the side of your head and say, “Nope, I reject that thought.” Many of us did not learn to reassure ourselves, where we could accept weight loss or gain with an easy come easy go attitude.
You don’t need to be fixed. You are absolutely perfect just the way you are. And you have everything you need to succeed inside of you right now. God loves us all unconditionally. Ask Him to help you. He knows what you should be, what you should weigh and how you should look.
Things are changing in the world. Women are changing the definition of power. We want to be wise, benevolent queens. Women are graduating from college in record numbers. We start small businesses. We are taking top jobs like Marissa Mayer at Yahoo. And we are turning to blogs to find women we admire, not airbrushed images. We have goals besides being the best. Our compassion will be honored and not seen as weakness.
The Dalai Lama said that the world will be saved by the Western Woman. And every one of us, with our pain and our struggles and our unique talents, is needed for this to happen. You are perfect as you are. Noble and indispensable.
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Mal Duane is a Best Selling Author and Personal Life and Recovery Coach who has overcome life challenges using the steps in the Alpha Chick Process. Her personal mission is to help women excel in all areas of their lives from business to personal relationships. Mal has been featured with Fox 25 Boston Morning Show, Aspire Magazine, Healthy Living and Metrowest Daily News. She has also been a featured guest on over thirty Blogtalk Radio shows discussing recovery and personal transformation.
Mal’s book, Alpha Chick, Five Steps for Moving from Pain to Power, is a best selling book and is available on Amazon.com.