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This month we are focusing on growing up, in all senses of the word. I want to focus on growing up in an emotional sense.
A big part of growing up for me has been gaining perspective on what is truly important. When we are younger, we believe certain things are important, such as how many friends in school we have, or if we are able to go to the summer camp of our choice.
Of course, as we grow up, we realize these things we find important change greatly, and a lot of times society has a huge impact upon what we find value in.
As I grew up, I was surrounded by society’s focus on beauty, image, and popularity, as most of us are. As I have grown older, I have realized these things, such as my athletic performance, my body, etc., are of very little importance in the scheme of things. I have learned that my faith, my family, my education, my career, and countless other things are of far more important than the way I look or how fast I am able to ride my bike.
I think this is an important part of recovery for everyone.
For the longest time during my recovery, even after I made a lot of progress physically (weight restoration) and mentally, I still believed deep down that my weight, how I looked, and how I performed on the bike were very important.
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I was going through the motions, so to speak, doing what I was supposed to do in my recovery. Even though I was making progress, I believed I could have both. I believed I could focus on being the fastest cyclist I could be, have the body I wanted, and at the same time be perfectly happy.
Until I could realize what was truly important and what I valued in life, the eating disorder continued to have power over me.
I needed to realize these things I put so much value in at the time had no value in the long term.
I know it is easy to say and even know that things such as body shape or size, athletic performance, etc., are unimportant in the scheme of things – but how do we truly come to believe this?
For me, it took a lot of soul searching and thinking about what I truly wanted in life. Once I know what I want in life in the long term, I can take a look at what I am valuing now and objectively look at if it will take me where I want to go. For example, I had to take a look at being an amazing cyclist and if it would truly advance me towards my goal of a successful family and career. The answer to this question was no. Through this process I realized that a lot of what I had valued was truly not important in the long run.
So I invite you to take a look at your life, and what you truly want out of it.
Do the things you are currently striving towards have any bearing on your lifelong goals?
Does the size or shape of your body make any difference in your success as a man or woman in whatever it is you want to do?
And remember, this isn’t a one-time evaluation. I encourage you to take a look at what you are focusing on very frequently and ask yourself if it truly brings you towards your bigger goals in life.
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