Today, I want to share about a thought that has been growing in my mind since my third therapy session. During that session, my therapist talked about the idea that my constant shame-based thoughts about body and self-worth have blinded me to the reality that there is another choice. There is the path I have been taking of body bashing, dieting, and eating disorders. But, there is another path—the path of peace, the path of acceptance, the path of gratitude. And, the most stunning realization is that I can choose to take that path each and every time I start on a spiral of negative thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Each and every time that I try my habitual morning mirror bashing, there is a different path, a fork in the road. I can choose to take this path of peace. The way to force my body away from the habitual path and take a purposeful step to the path of peace is gratitude. So, let me paint this picture for you. The moment I begin the mirror bashing, I can take stop it in its tracks by imagining that fork in the road.
I can see it now—one path is very well-traveled and it beckons me because it has a familiar smell and feel. The path is down-hill and easy to navigate. Dozens of people, many of whom I know, are making their way along it. The destination of this path is something I know is dark and terrible, but it is so covered in mist that I manage to convince myself that it doesn’t matter where the path ends. It only matters that this path is easier, more comfortable, and familiar.
As I start the accustomed first step down this path, I stop, because for the first time, I realize that there is another path, a a road less-traveled—one that is uphill and covered with thorns and brambles. This path does not look inviting, in fact, it terrifies me, but what makes me want to go down that path is the destination. At the end of this path is only what can be described as paradise—my body and I are no longer at war. Food is not my enemy. I am whole again.
So, when I begin those body-bashing thoughts, when the food police come with a vengeance, or when a diet is beckoning seductively, I try to see a fork in the road, with a path that leads to peace.