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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


thankyouCan simple little courtesies to yourself help keep you in eating disorder recovery and out of depression?  Yes. Even writing yourself a little thank you note and mailing it to yourself can remind you of your value.

A quote from Henry Clay, caught my eye tonight and delivered major reverberations as I gave it some thought.  

"Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart."

When you suffer from an eating disorder, even if you have substantial recovery of many years, you can hit an emotional low where you feel depression tugging at your toes and pulling you down.  Most people will feel low at times and need to use their personal resources to understand their experience and pull up to solid ground again.

If you've had an eating disorder, or if you are living with an eating disorder right now, you may feel urges to eat or binge or restrict to escape your dark feelings. If you do, you can recognize those urges and call on your support system to help you move through your challenge. You call your therapist. You journal. You call a hot-line. You move into a mindful spiritual practice. You know something needs your attention.

But a low feeling can take an insidious turn that is not as easily identified as actual eating or not eating behaviors.  You feel badly about something someone said or didn't say.  Perhaps you feel slighted or have actually been insulted or deeply disappointed.

If you are not aware, you first feel offended or hurt by what happened.  Then you ruminate about how terrible the other person is.  That phase can be brief.  It takes you to the edge of the real psychological danger, and that's where you stop criticizing the other person and start criticizing yourself.

That criticism can lead you to major negative self judgements.  And that leads you to fear, sorrow, a sense of worthlessness and futility.

When you reach that point you are nearing deeper depression that brings up powerful feelings of abandonment and despair.

An important aspect of recovery work is recognizing this trail of emotional events and catching yourself before you sink to terrible depths.  You don't have the clues that something is amiss because you not acting out your eating disorder with behavior that you recognize.

When you move into the negative self talk that puts you in emotional decline you may not recognize what you are doing.  You don't feel that you are criticizing yourself or judging yourself. You feel like you are stating the truth of who you are, and its pretty bad.

So I invite you to take Henry Clay's words to heart.

"Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart."

Make small and trivial courtesies to yourself be a normal part of your day. Let these many tiny kindnesses be your gifts to your own heart. A pattern little courtesies to yourself can build a solid base for your sense of self so you don't slide easily into an emotional decline.  If you notice you are slacking off on being couteous to yourself you can recognize a signal that alerts you to pay attention and be aware.

Small and trivial  courtesies include:

  • making your bed in the morning so it's nice for you at night;
  • eating off pretty plates and putting a napkin on your lap - even when you are eating alone;
  • smiling at your reflection in the mirror;
  • keeping what you need in order and easily accessible whether items are related to bathroom, kitchen, desk, car or garden.
  • smile in gratitude or think to yourself, "thank you" when you give yourself a gift, like a hot cup of tea while you are writing a blog post. :)  That's me.

Can you think of more small and trivial courtesies you can give yourself?


P.S. The concept of courtesy was described by the Sanskrit word, daksinya, which meant "kindness and consideration expressed in a sophisticated and elegant way

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