Articles written by Ilissa Banhazl, MFT
1. Eating Disorders & People Pleasers
Most times people who have an eating disorder tend to be “people pleasers” and this is one of their greatest obstacles to recovery and healthy self-esteem.
For various reasons people learn to survive by pleasing others, not breaking the rules and being a good girl or boy. This behavior was most likely a necessary coping skill that worked for you in your past.
However, when you can learn to “please yourself” which means to listen to your inner voice and make decisions that best suit you; you will reduce your anxiety and create space to focus on your own self-care.
I am known for telling my patients, “Who gives a SH… what anyone else thinks!! Which usually brings on a laugh and an exclamation of imagined freedom!!! I live it and I say it and I can teach it.
2. Activity: Facing Your Eating Disorder
Who’s Life is It Anyway?
Here’s an exercise you can try…
Find some time alone when no one will disturb you. Gather some crayons (many colors) and drawing paper. Sit for a few moments with your eyes closed and try to imagine what your eating disorder might look like. Draw a picture of your eating disorder. It doesn’t have to be human, it can be symbolic or random. Whatever comes to your mind. When you finish your picture, make up a name for your eating disorder and write it on your paper.
Each day take out the picture of your eating disorder and talk to it by name. Tell your eating disorder that its power over you is weakening and that you are creating a new identity that makes you happier. You may feel shaky at first in the face of this adversary, but each day you will feel more confident. Whose life is it anyway?
Tips: Don’t worry if an image does not come to you quickly or at all. Try again another time. If nothing truly comes to you, perhaps this is not an activity that you would benefit from. Don’t worry, there are plenty of others coming!
3. Eating Disorders and Self-esteem, 6 Ways To Improve Your Self-Esteem,
Want help with your binge and purge cycle? Bulimia? Anorexia? Over-eating?
This is what healthy self-esteem looks like!
Positive self-esteem is something that hopefully began building from the time you were born. Unfortunately, not all children grow up in an environment that makes them feel good about themselves. This is why we have children and grown ups walking around misguided not recognizing their value or potential.
If you were told you were not good enough, felt like you couldn’t please your parents, if you were bullied, if your parents had a difficult divorce; there can be a tape that plays in your head from early on that keeps reinforcing how worthless you are. It takes hard work and commitment to change the tape however, it is definitely possible to change the way you feel and think about yourself.
1. An easy technique to increase self-esteem is to make a list of your strengths and weaknesses; get a realistic picture of yourself. Look for areas to improve but NOTICE the things you are good at.
2. Have an awareness of when the “negative statements” enter your mind. Catch them and challenge them. Create new beliefs about yourself.
3. Surround yourself with people who appreciate and reflect how good you feel about yourself.
4. Worry less about what others think and decide for yourself your worth.
5. Develop new interests and discover your passion and talents.
6. Work at a career that challenges you and makes you feels self-satisfied or contributing.