I’m rather ashamed to admit (even to myself) that I think I associate being cared for to people having sympathy for me. I think it is one of the reasons I find recovery to be scary. I feel like I will lose the care of others if they do not have a reason to pity me.
Which sounds pitiful to me.
I think that as a child growing up with a chronic illness, I developed a self-concept that included an aura of illness. However, that illness was not one that came with any obvious outside visibility. When I developed anorexia, suddenly I felt a warped power in having others see that I was struggling with something, rather than it being a solitary and lonely battle. I longed for that feeling of protection and so I lapped up a sense of being cared for because I was sick. Although I don’t want to have others merely feel sorry for me, I also crave that feeling of safety.
As I begin to get well, I see how I need to, and want to, develop my confidence that the people who really matter value me for qualities beyond my illnesses. That they are not going to turn their backs on me or forget about me if (I mean, WHEN) I am well. In fact, those relationships will deepen because I will feel more like an equal participant rather than like I am merely taking from those I care about.
I have received feedback from my inner circle over and over again that they see me in shades of colour so much richer and vibrant than I see myself. They value me and honour me for who I am, not because they simply feel badly for me. Over the next while, as I continue to heal from my broken romance, I want to work to open to what they see. To value myself for my strengths rather than seeing myself as merely a broken bird in constant need of being nursed back to life. If I can do that, I believe I will lose some of my resistance to recovery. I will finally rest more securely in the awareness that I am enough. Just me, as I am. No need for band-aids or doctoring. No need to make a statement with a broken body.
How about you? What self image do you hold onto, knowing the view is skewed but afraid to look straight at yourself?