I lived with three other girls for two years in college that have become my lifelong friends. On the day we graduated from Indiana University in 2002, we made a pact to each other that no matter what, we would always stay involved in each other lives. We promised each other we would take an annual girls trip. It has been 14 years now and we have only missed two years due to reasons beyond our control. I cherish each of their friendships and look forward to this weekend every year. It doesn’t matter where we go, as long as we are together. All we basically do is sit around and catch up on each other’s lives and reminiscence a little about the “good old days.” I feel very lucky to have this strong connection with these three amazing women.
Last week I was preparing for this year’s trip and I noticed I was starting to experience some anxiety. I meditated on it and really tuned in to my body to listen to what was going on. I realized that being around my friends, even though they are very supportive women, can be a trigger for my disordered eating and thoughts. I am guilty of comparing myself and my life to each of them, which causes feelings of not being good enough. I compare my body to theirs, which is non-comparable. We are all different, one is tall, another petite. One is strong and athletic and another one naturally thin. You get the idea. I think many women are guilty of comparing themselves to other women. The difference for me today than in years past is that I don’t let those thoughts lead me down the wrong path back to disordered eating.
I realize these are all irrational and ridiculous thoughts. My friends love me no matter how much money I make, how many degrees I earn or how much I weigh. Just as I love them regardless of all these things too. The four of us are as different as night and day, but we respect our differences. I am happy for all that they have accomplished and think they are each beautiful inside and out. I am not jealous of any of them because I am really happy with the choices I have made in life and the life I live.
I put some coping mechanisms in place to ensure I stayed on the right path. I wore my mala beads so I could practice my daily affirmations. I used the affirmations “I am good enough. I love and accept me.” I stayed active by taking a walk and going to the gym. This in return just made me feel better about myself. I took several pauses and deep breaths when I would feel insecure thoughts creeping into my mind. Also, I stayed present as much as possible and listened to what was going on in their lives. These simple tools allowed me to decrease my anxiety and enjoy my friends. It ended up being a great weekend that left me feeling happy with life.
I share this experience with you because I don’t think I am the only one that has feelings of not being good enough at different times in my life. Also, I believe by changing our thoughts, we can change our perspective which can change our feelings. The first step is acknowledging we are having the thought so we can use tools, like affirmations, to change our perspective. It is amazing the difference it can make in the experiences we have in our daily lives.
This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness week. If you or someone you know struggle with disordered eating, please know there is help available. Check out www.nedawareness.org for more information.