Through my own journey and experiences, I have had to experience the extreme suffering self hatred and body dissatisfaction causes, and out of the depths of my pain, I was motivated to change. In my process of recovery, I have begun to notice when others engage in this self deprecating dialogue through criticizing their appearance or engaging in diet talk. It's hard not to be triggered by these comments or conversations, and my resulting urge to reengage in all my behaviors to seemingly alter and control my appearance is great. I always thought that instead of resorting back to my own personal dialogue of self hatred that I could change the way others think about their bodies and encourage them to act in the same ways that I am. However, I'm learning that it is not in my power to change other people's minds, especially if they are not ready to hear what I have to say, or if they're not receptive to it.
I've learned that everyone is on their own individual journey. Their experiences are their own, and whatever they choose to think or act on is their own personal business. It's easy to be triggered by what other people say and want to reengage in destructive thoughts, but I'm learning how to always come back to myself. If others want to engage in a dialogue of body dissatisfaction and insecurity, they have the agency to do so. Instead of changing these dialogues and wanting to change the people around me, I realized that I only have the agency to respond in certain ways. I can't change other people's minds. I can't change other people's behaviors. However, I can choose to participate in the destructive conversations, to surround myself with people who value superficial things, or I can choose to remove myself from any potentially triggering situation and remind myself of my journey.
My journey is my own. No one could have put me where I am today except for myself. Not my therapist, my psychiatrist, my nutritionist, my friends, or my family. Only me. I have fought through all my suffering to be where I am today. Whenever I am tempted to reengage in destructive thoughts, it's important for me to remember my experiences. This is my life. I was motivated to recovery out of the sheer agony and torture I was in mentally and physically. No one can take that away from me. No one can take away my motivation to life my life to its fullest. I have the choice to not engage in those rabbit hole thoughts and behaviors again. It's a predictable cycle and sequence of events. I know that if I choose to engage, I will survive. I've done it before. I will come out on the other side, but why not avoid it if I have the agency to do so. Why not prevent my loved ones from feeling the repercussions of my pain and suffering if I can.
I am learning that I can't control outcomes. The uncertainty of outcomes and the result of things is up in the air and a part of life. It is unavoidable and uncontrollable. Though I cannot control life and all its outcomes, I can choose how to think, act, and feel. I can choose which thoughts I choose to engage in and believe as my truth. I can choose how my thoughts influence my behaviors, and whether or not I want my thoughts to overwhelm me.
This is all life's work. It's going to take me a lifetime to fully learn and understand the workings of my mind and the way I choose to engage with the world, but today, my work is cut out for me. Today, I can choose to act in a way that will make my future self proud.