Is increasing awareness such a good thing? This was a question I had many years ago during my yoga therapy and mindfulness training programs while learning to heighten awareness to the present moment as mindfulness training instructs. At first, I was astonished at how many things in the present moment I had been missing out on. This newfound awareness was enlivening. I then recall starting to feel not so alive and rather, quite agitated and at times overwhelmed. I noticed, along with the new things that brought delight, came the awareness of all the things I had so conveniently hid from my awareness. All the truths that I did not want to face were now right in my face! Now what? Now what happens once we start to become aware of all the stuff we were trying so hard to hide from? How do we begin to face them?
In chapter three of my book, Befriending Your Body, I discuss the sense of power and freedom that comes along with embracing and facing the truth. But, the real truth is, before that sense of power and independence develops, we have to go through a period of struggle and wrestling with denial and non-acceptance and often regret. After all, it is very hard to face feelings and thoughts and behaviors that we would rather not face, and/or that we wish we had never done. Things we would rather keep hidden. The more we awaken to the truth, the more all truths are seen, both the pleasant and really unpleasant ones.
This happens in eating disorder recovery, or any recovery of something hard. Many of my clients start to face the first level of truth, such as, something is wrong, and start to make some changes based on that. Then comes the next level. The level that says, “okay, I got this now and leave me alone!” I hear statements such as, “I don’t want to talk about this all the time,” “I want to focus on other things,” “how much longer do I have to do this?” Basically, this next layer of truth says, I know just enough to get by do I have to know more? I get it and yes, you do, as for you to embrace your internal power, independence, and true freedom, you must continue to face the tough stuff to the next level. The difference is in the how!
The only way to take it to the next level is to face it with kindness and compassion. Close your eyes and take a few release breaths. Place one hand on your heart, feel the warmth it radiates there. Hold the intention to be truthful and kind. Open your eyes. These are 2 out of 5 of the reflective questions I offer in chapter three to begin to face the truth with self-compassion. It is called: Facing Hurts and Regrets:
1) What am I most regretful about right now?
2) If I could change one thing, what would that be?
Start with facing your current truths with kindness.
To read more see the information below on my book, Befriending Your Body: A Self-Compassionate Approach to Freeing Yourself From Disordered Eating