By Dawn White, RD – Dietitian, Timberline Knolls
Welcome 2021! A year of hope because there is always hope. Hope has been said to be one of the most powerful spiritual forces on earth. Even when it seems all hope is gone, there is a glimmer.
Maybe it is the glimmer of hope that someone else is holding for you right now. The hope that you are being encouraged to choose moment by moment and minute by minute. In your darkest times even when you cannot feel it, choose hope.
This hope is in who you are. Sometimes we try to find hope in behaviors that harm us. We may hope that if we looked different, were a different size, had more friends, a better past or future, felt differently, had different circumstances, we would be happy. But this kind of hope does not leave us feeling strong and secure. Instead, it can often leave us feeling more inadequate and hopeless.
The hope that gives strength is in who you are. Your strengths, your dreams met and unmet, your values, your goals, and who you are made to be.
As I work with those struggling with eating disorders, I often see so much hope put in their eating disorder. This is false hope. Our eating disorder thoughts are so good at tricking us to think that if we just lose another pound or eat more or less or exercise more or purge it, then we will be happy and we will be enough and we will have control. This is false hope that leads to hopelessness. Because what you eat, your size, your sense of control cannot provide true contentment. It becomes a spiral that never achieves what it promised. And, when what we are hoping for in our eating disorder does not happen (because eating disorders cannot provide hope), we become more discouraged.
Hope is found in the specific meaningful goals we make that align with what is important to us. Talking with someone about your goals and committing to them can help lead to hope. Choose hope in your value, your ability to accomplish your goals, and your present moments. When something happens where we cannot meet a goal, we fall back on acceptance and grace – recognizing that our journey is one full of ups and downs and successes and failures. This acceptance and grace then helps us rebound to once again committing to our goals.
So as you begin 2021, set goals that will lead to real hope. Commit to your goals. Fall on grace. And always choose hope because there is always hope!
*The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders and not intended as endorsement by iaedp™ Foundation, Inc. or its Board of Directors.*