Many people who have suffered from disordered eating or exercise habits for a long period of time will find it easy to become so attached to these patterns that they become part of your identity. So, naturally, recovery can pose a threat to the carefully constructed version of yourself you’ve created. If you’ve become used to thinking of yourself as an active, “healthy”, fit individual, having your exercise and food patterns taken away from you or challenged can feel like a direct threat to your identity. It can feel like suddenly everything you do and think of yourself as has been suddenly stripped away, and you’re left looking at a blank canvas…
How can you deal with an identity crisis that may arise during your recovery process?
1. It is an opportunity.
When you are facing a crisis of identity, your mental state is crucial. While you might immediately feel panicked, lost, or overwhelmed by the loss of your sense of self and the routines and rituals you’ve come to define yourself by, shifting this mentality can make a world of difference.
Instead, think of this “blank canvas” as an opportunity rather than something to fear and avoid. Think about what you could do with this blank canvas. wantThe canvas that reflects you and your identity. What is important to your identity? How can you determine what is important to your? wantPeople should think of you and feel around. What areas in your life can you devote more time and attention now that you have more mental capacity and mental space?
Instead of worrying about the discomfort this identity crisis may cause, you can choose to view it as an opportunity to redefine yourself and rediscover who you are. It is reallyWant to be. You’re no longer defined or held back by the “old you”, or the behaviours and patterns associated with that version of yourself. This is your chance. Take advantage of this opportunity! Get excited!
2. Broaden your horizons.
If you are determined to use this identity crisis to help you define who you want to become, then embrace the opportunity to discover new passions that will make your heart smile.
While food and movement used up a lot of brain space, time, and energy in the past, you now have more to devote to other areas of life.
So get curious… Try new things. Discover new hobbies. Spend your time doing things that bring you joy, and leave you feeling fulfilled. Spend time with those who fill your cup.
This is a great time if you look at it this way. You can get out there and make new connections and friendships. Appreciate yourself and your life. Because you can.
You can make the most your brain capacity, energy, and openness. It’s a wonderful time to allow yourself to be open to new things and welcome in the things that really light you up.
3. Ask your loved ones to tell you why they love and value you.
This one might feel awkward initially, but there’s never anything to fear or be embarrassed about when it comes to asking your loved ones for support.
Ask your family, friends, and loved ones to tell you why they love and value you. We guarantee the answer won’t be, “Because you’re this size and shape,” or “Because you eat healthily,” or “Because you workout five times per week.”
Your loved ones will be grateful for the way you make them feel. Ask them to share what they bring to your lives. Listen to what their answers may be. If they say that you make them feel valued and heard, consider how you can continue to show empathy to others. If they say that you make them laugh, what can you do to continue to bring laughter to the lives of those you love?
Recognize that your identity is shaped by So much more than the way you look, or how you eat and move your body… Even if you’ve been unaware of it until now. Asking for outside help to define yourself, your values, and what you hold most important is a great starting point to figuring out what you want to dedicate your energy towards – such as being a good friend, family member, partner, parent, whatever it may be!
The depth of connection you can achieve when you work towards full recovery is so beautiful – so choose to invest your energy and identity in meaningful places like this!
4. Be patient with yourself.
Of course there is discomfort that arises in challenging your own identity, and this mould you’ve created of yourself after such a long period of time. Breaking that mould can make you vulnerable and expose yourself, which can be scary. But don’t let the fear or discomfort hold you back, or keep you trapped in the mould…
Be stronger than your discomfort and take a step beyond your comfort zone. With vulnerability comes strength and connection, rawness, openness, and connection. That is what makes it so beautiful. This is your chance to discover who you are. wantTo be and to leave the person you are Were behind. Recovery gives You the chance to look to the future and embrace the vibrance and brightness it can offer – instead of being constrained by the past and the old expectations you placed upon yourself.
Embrace this chance wholeheartedly, and enjoy every moment of your identity crisis – it’s the first step in welcoming the new, happy, balanced, fulfilled version of youThis is a great step, and it’s a worthwhile one!
Right now, you have the chance to redefine who you are and what you want your future to look like – and that is SO empowering!
Remember your WHY – what you’re fighting for and working towards – and let that guide you when it all feels a bit too hard. Trust the process and reach out for help. It won’t happen overnight. But when You achieve full freedom, and you feel the joy and relief of recovery, you’ll be so thankful for the youIn this moment, you are the one who has committed to the journey and pushed beyond the discomfort to become the person that you truly want to be.