Community is Key to Overcoming Disordered Eating
Disordered eating is a battle riddled with shame, guilt, and fear of judgment. If you struggle with food and your body, it’s likely that you have low self-esteem and lack self-love. You probably assume that people will judge you as harshly as you constantly judge yourself. This is why people who have eating disorders can be prone to social isolation.
How many times has your day gone something like this: you hustle for your worth all day long at work, before finally making it home at night, exhausted, stressed out, and wanting nothing more than to just collapse and numb out. So that’s exactly what you do. You shed the masks you’ve worn all day – the people pleasing mask, the perfectionist mask, the everything is great mask, and reach for a bag of chips, a tub of dip, and queue up your latest Netflix show. Before you know it, the chip bag is empty, and you feel ill and ashamed.
And, here’s the kicker – how likely are you to do the exact same thing the next night?
We Are Social Creatures
Something that I learned over the course of my own struggle and through the work that I do now is that community is key to overcoming disordered eating.
As humans, we are social creatures. In fact, way back in the tribal days, if we failed to connect with others and were left without a tribe, we would die. Connection and love are just as much a necessity to us as food and shelter. We want to connect with others, and do so as our most authentic selves.
This is one of the reasons why disordered eating can be so painful. It prevents us from securing a fundamental need that we are hardwired to crave and seek out.
No matter your struggle with food and your body, no matter the shame, guilt, and fear it may cause you – it is time to seek out others for support and connection. When you are brave enough to be vulnerable and honest about your issues, you are exposing the darkest parts of yourself to the light. And when you do this, those dark, painful triggers slowly start to lose their power over you.
I have seen first-hand the way a safe and supportive community can make all the difference when it comes to disordered eating recovery. When you find a space, or even just a relationship, where you can show up and be vulnerable, something beautiful happens. You slowly start to feel your pain, which leads to healing. And you also begin to discover who you truly are and the type of life that you are meant to live.
Community really can help you thrive and engage in a life that lights you up.
How to Find a Safe, Supportive Community
- Local support groups – Depending on your particular struggle, there are likely to be local support groups that you can check out. A quick internet search should help you with this.
- Trusted friends/family – Do you have a loved one you can turn to? If you can push through the initial fear of divulging your struggle to a loved one, you’ll see that oftentimes, our friends and family are so happy to support us when we’re hurting. In fact, it will probably add a layer of connection and love to your relationship.
- Online communities – There are many online outlets for this type of support. Facebook is a great place for this – just do a quick search and it’s likely you will come across hundreds of private groups that revolve around your struggle. You’re more than welcome to check out my online community, The Hungry for Happiness Global Community.
I know how scary it can be – the thought of seeking support for such a personal and painful struggle. I felt that way for years. But I promise you – you will feel a huge sense of relief once you bring your pain out into the open. Just giving voice to your secret will be like a huge burden has been lifted from your shoulders. From there, you will begin to see that you are not alone, and that is the beautiful, hopeful first step to your recovery.
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