Loyalty is a Vital Part of Eating Disorder Recovery

256px-Army-Good-Conduct-Medal-ObvBeing loyal to yourself means standing by yourself, being a friend to yourself, seeing yourself through a tough time.

Can you be loyal to yourself? Can you be steadfast and loyal to your body, heart and soul during good times and bad? 

If you commit to being loyal to yourself then you stay present and kind to your authentic self WHILE you are feeling fear, rage and despair - WHILE you are feeling wild cravings - WHILE you want to act out in destructive ways. 

You are no longer loyal to destructive behaviors your want to act out.  Nor are you loyal to being resigned to accepting negative feelings abut yourself.  

This quote came to me about a week ago, and it still reverberates.  Perhaps you know the feeling? It's when I feel a tiny pinprick of an opening that I feel certain leads to vast or profound new awareness.

When we practice meditation we are strengthening
our ability to be steadfast with ourselves. 
No matter what comes up - aching bones, boredom, falling asleep,
or the wildest thoughts and emotions -
we develop a loyalty to our experience.
- Pema Chodron

The first part is familiar and part of what I know, believe and share.  The last four words articulated more awareness for me.  If you are loyal  to yourself and loyal to your experience simultaneously you undermine periods of fear, guilt and unreasonable desire.

Loyalty to our experience.  The phrase gives us a place to stand while we experience what we experience.  That helps us learn and understand our experience while remaining true to our authentic self. Journalling and mindfulness practices do that. So does meaningful time with your psychotherapist. So does sitting quietly with yourself and watching your breath.  The power of the phrase rests in the word "loyalty."

 What do you know about loyalty? 

  1. Where do you have or see loyalty in your life? 
  2. Who or what is loyal to you. 
  3. How and where are you loyal?
  4. Can you spot misplaced loyalty in your life?
  5. Can you see where you might need more loyalty for your own experiences
  6. What stories come to your mind about loyalty?

Let you mind range over the concept of loyalty until it is real for you.  Then bring it to yourself so you can be loyal to your experience and remain steadfast to your authentic self during your emotional storms.

Please write in the comment section what loyalty means to you and how you can be loyal to your experience.


Picture: Army Good Conduct Medal (It's what we earn in recovery. :) )

The eagle, with wings spread, denotes vigilance and superiority.
The horizontal sword denotes loyalty,
The book represents knowledge acquired and ability gained.
On the reverse, the lone star denotes merit.
The wreath of laurel and oak leaves denotes reward and strength.


0 # A friend of mine always oozes gratitudeshh 2012-07-30 06:54
A friend of mine always oozes gratitude when she sees me, and I never really understood why, sure I sat an listened and offered support when she was going through a rough patch, but so did all of our friends, so what did I do that was so special, that helped her so much? Eventually she told me what it was, apparently I said to her about herself and her situation, "what would you say if that was your friend, what advice would you give to her?" And that was enough for her to be able to guide herself through her hardships and out of the other side to a better place...

...and so I guess, reflecting in that way the "what would you say if that was your friend?" way, might be a good way to be loyal to yourself and your experience?

I think I will remember that, and try it :-)
0 # Let us know how that affects your experipinkjoanna 2012-07-30 08:06
Let us know how that affects your experience, shh.

So many ways to manifest loyalty. Bottom line is being steadfast as you go through what you go through with respect for our experience no matter what it is.

A vital point is that we can give ourselves compassion, caring, respect and loyalty for our experience without acting out our feelings.

So if we are mad, glad, sad, frightened, outraged, lost and confused we acknowledge that these feelings did not come out of the blue. They mean something to us and give us clues about ourselves that are valuable for growth and development. We remain loyal to ourselves in that way.

We also are loyal to ourselves by restraining our actions. Mad - don't hit. Glad - don't go over the top in spending energy or resources. Sad - don't isolate. Frightened - don't ignore signals and don't do anything destructive. Outraged - don't let self righteousness destroy what you value. Lost and confused - don't surrender your power to others.

Be loyal to your experience so you can think it through and make healthy, sane and caring decisions for action.

Mmm - should I add this to the original post?
0 # JP - I do think this would add value toshh 2012-07-30 09:22
JP - I do think this would add value to the original post if you included it
0 # Thanks, Shh. I'll add it now. :) Dipinkjoanna 2012-07-30 10:44
Thanks, Shh. I'll add it now. :-)

Discussion brings out more ideas, more perspectives and more value. Thank you so much for your sharing.

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