I’ve been traveling a lot these past few months, and on a recent trip I read the book, “The Pocket Therapist.” My husband did give me a “oh come on, you can’t be serious” look when I pulled it out to read on the plane, but I really do highly recommend it — it’s clever insightful, and actually funny.
Therese refers to the tips/tricks she picked up in therapy as “emotional CliffsNotes.” Ever since reading the book, I’ve thought about what I would put in my own emotional CliffsNotes. I have a friend who would probably say I’m just looking for an excuse to make yet another list — which may be partially true — but hey, if I can make a blog post out of it too….
Anyway, a couple of months ago I ran across an awesome article over at Stepcase Lifehack, called “Can You Transform Without Getting Uncomfortable?” Craig’s main point was this:
Hypothesis: There is a positive correlation between how uncomfortable an individual is prepared to get and their likelihood of success – irrespective of the field of endeavor.
This idea reminds me of something my therapist told me once: that anxiety is a good thing. I thought she was nuts (or just wrong) at the time, since I was devoting so much time to controlling/minimizing anxiety. She explained though, that when you’re feeling anxiety, that’s when you’re making progress. The mental anguish that comes with facing uncomfortable things (like eating more, weight gain, handling conflict, being assertive, etc) is a good thing. It means you’re making change… and that’s what you have to work through.
It was really weird for me to look at anxiety as some positive indicator of change rather than some big red “stop! uncomfortableness ahead!” sign. What I got out of the conversation at the time was that if I were waiting for recovery to be comfortable, it was never going to happen. Challenging the eating disorder was never going to feel good (at least not while still in the thick of it).
Reading Craig’s article put a different spin on it for me, though. I was still looking at anxiety as something inevitable that I had to push through to get to the other side. The blog post opened me up to the idea that uncomfortable does not equal bad. It’s just uncomfortable.
By the way, I’ve been meaning to write this post for a month (at least), but was re-inspired by something that I read on Carrie Arnold’s blog today:
The main factor for me was anxiety and fear about changing my behaviors. I was often tired of the eating disorder but unable to push through the anxiety that was keeping my ritualistic behaviors in place. Thus the status quo remained in place. My other issue was that this fear was coupled by my minimizing the issues that my AN behaviors created. They weren’t that bad, I could handle it, most people were on a diet- how was my life different? So how could I be motivated to work on a problem that I often wasn’t even sure I had?
I know that anxiety! It keeps me stuck, especially when it comes to the eating disorder.