Every minute of our lives we are making choices. If we have an eating disorder we make consistent choices throughout our day to live life as we know it. That means we make choices, small, large, conscious or unconscious to maintain our illness.
Even if we are committed to recovery, see our psychotherapist regularly, go to 12-step or support groups we can still engage in sabotaging choices.
For example, we might lose our temper and vent on a co-worker or classmate. When our temper cools and we are alone we may feel frightened that we have jeopardized our position with the person or the group. Our anxiety leads us to eating disorder behaviors.
On the other hand, we might be wise, take an online class, learn new information and tweak our job for the better. As a result we discover new opportunities and our work and lives improve.
- What’s the difference between venting feelings and containing them so constructive communication is possible?
- What’s the difference between postponing a class, preferring to isolate with Netflix or youtube movies, or stepping into a learning environment?
Even tiny wise choices, when they occur regularly, lead us to a healthier and more fulfilled life. How do we do that? How do we start make the choices that not only lead us out of an eating disorder but lead us into a worthwhile life?
Hawking's statement is an efficient and highly personal guide to help us make choices about how we live and how we can allow ourselves to recover from an eating disorder.
Hawking* is dependent on technology to move and speak. He has had to use his greatest value for action taken guide throughout his life. It empowered him to achieve his momentous professional as well as personal accomplishments. His choices have made him an inspiration, a great scientist and teacher.
So when we bring his guidance to our own lives, what do we see? Where do we get the greatest value for our actions? That’s the question we can ask ourselves every day and throughout the day. The answer will guide us through recovery and into the challenges of improving our lives throughout our lives.
1. What value do you get from your actions?
2. What actions bring you little or no value?
3. What actions bring you real value?
4. What new actions can you learn that will provide new value to your life?
*Professor Hawking has twelve honorary degrees. He was awarded the CBE in 1982, and was made a Companion of Honour in 1989. He is the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes, is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.
Stephen was diagnosed with ALS, a form of Motor Neurone Disease, shortly after his 21st birthday. In spite of being wheelchair bound and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication Stephen Hawking continues to combine family life (he has three children and three grandchildren), and his research into theoretical physics together with an extensive programm of travel and public lectures. He still hopes to make it into space one day.
Psychotherapy with Joanna
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Los Angeles eating disorder recovery psychotherapist
author of Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder
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