What I’ve Learned

18 Jul

I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.  ~Arthur Rubinstein

I’m in the mood for a positive post today.

Over the past couple years, I have reflected so much that I think I reflect in my sleep. I over-analyze EVERYTHING and I feel like I’m a hypersensitive person and overly aware of other people’s emotions and intentions. It drives me crazy sometimes (and my friends…) but I have to say that some of the reflection has really given me a new perspective on life.

I don’t necessarily believe that “everything happens for a reason” but I do believe that everything that happens can teach you something. My eating disorder is a pain in the ass… I’m not going to deny that. It has taken away a lot from me and changed me. But there are plenty of good things that came from it too. This post is about why i’m thankful for my eating disorder and what I’ve learned/how I’ve changed for the better from it. I don’t think this is something that people talk about often…. because let’s be honest, they are horrible. The thing is, I recognize that I have taken away good things from it and i’d love to share those with you.

1. I feel more compassionate for others. I used to make a lot of assumptions about people. I didn’t realize how judgmental I was about so many things, but I didn’t have the perspective to act otherwise. For example, I do think I judged people who are obese. I didn’t realize that obesity can be an actual disease and not necessarily a choice someone makes. After my eating disorder, I know how it feels to be judged and misunderstood, and I honestly think that I am a lot more understanding, sympathetic, and caring because of it. Sometimes I may be too compassionate to be honest – but I am really thankful I have gained this perspective.

2. I truly appreciate health. I didn’t have any real health issues before my eating disorder. When I was underweight, my hair thinned, my energy decreased, I had no emotions, my bloodwork was off, I was constantly cold, and I looked kind of sickly. Even though i’m not thrilled with how I look now, I know that I am healthy and I feel so lucky to be healthy. I am starting to realize that food is a wonderful thing– it makes you glow, it keeps you warm, it helps you grow, and it just does wonders for your body when you eat nutritiously.

3. I am knowledgeable about food and exercise. Sometimes all the knowledge I have gained about food and exercise drives me crazy, but I have to say that I am glad I am educated on these things because they are really important long-term. I have learned that nutrition and exercise are important, but aren’t meant to be abused. Finding that balance is hard, but my knowledge is going to help me reach that point. When I’m eating regularly (not starving or bingeing) I now truly crave healthy foods and that feels amazing.

4. I know when to ask for help. I used to be really against asking for help, but now that I realize how helpful therapy can be, I feel a lot more willing to reach out when I know things aren’t going right. I think so many people are too stubborn to seek out help, but it can make such a difference.

5. I have learned to take care of myself. Although this has taken a while and I am not 100% there yet, I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to put yourself first. I have always been so worried about what others think but living my life like that just isn’t fun. I realize that i’m my own person so I may have different needs from my friends… and that’s okay. I have started to try to listen to my self and my body and do things that I want to do. That may mean going out with my friends to drink and staying up til 4 am or it may mean staying in even when everyone else is going out.

So there ya have it 🙂 The things i’ve gained from my eating disorder.. and i’m sure there are more that i’m forgetting!

Question- Have you dealt with something difficult but feel like you’ve learned a lot from it? Have any advice you want to share? 🙂

’til next time!


17 Responses to “What I’ve Learned”

  1. Mom July 18, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Great post! Love it! Great words of wisdom!

    • Caitlin Jane July 29, 2011 at 11:36 am #

      Agree with Mom 🙂 Beautiful wonderful amazing post…keep it up!

  2. Molly July 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Love this 🙂 You are wonderful!

  3. Mallory @ It's Only Life After All July 18, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    Well-said! I like the very first thing you listed- compassion. This is true; from my personal experiences (not just with eating, but with a lot of emotional things) I’ve become more compassionate towards others as well. You never know what inner battles someone is fighting, or if someone is acting out because of pain they have going on in them.

  4. Mallory @ It's Only Life After All July 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    **I should correct that and say OTHER emotional things– i realize eating issues often ARE about emotional issues

  5. Coco July 18, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    What a fantastic post. It is cliche but so true that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. SO happy to see you doing better!

  6. debbiecutieface July 18, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Shell, I honestly feel like I could’ve written this post myself. I relate 100% – I overanalyze EVERYTHING, psychoanalyze myself and others on a daily basis, etc. But through my ED and other struggles, I’ve also learned to feel compassion for others, appreciate health and DEFINITELY learned how to ask for help…and it’s honestly saved my life and made me so much happier.

    I do believe everything happens for a reason, though. Maybe the reason you suffered with an ED is so that you could truly learn all these things 🙂

  7. Katy July 18, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    What a wonderful post! I can relate to everything you listed because even though eating disorders are horrible illnesses and I would never wish one upon ANYONE, I am forever grateful for it. It’s made me a stronger person mentally and emotionally and I get told that I’m very wise for my age. I think that if we don’t learn anything from these hard times then they are just completely wasted.


  8. Julia (Taste of Living) July 19, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    Wow, “I don’t necessarily believe that “everything happens for a reason” but I do believe that everything that happens can teach you something.”.
    I say this exact same thing (but in a different language:P) so many times!!! And those points in this post: exactly my points!!


  9. allthingswholesome July 19, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    This was really lovely to read, and i hope that those who dont have or have suffered with an eating disorder gain a little bit of information from it as well. I definitely relate to you on all of these things, since having my eating disorder it has made me more aware of other peoples issues, and everyone is unique and deals with different things.

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Love Jess. xx

  10. zoe July 19, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    you rock lady! your list looks IDENTICAL to my list! hell yeah my ED took a lot away from me but it gave me so much too. it’s kind of like taking lessons from a bad relationship. i’m still learning, still evolving, and still shifting my focus but i’m definitely getting there. the best thing, hands down, that all of this BS has given me is a solid confidence in my person. i may not like my outsides still, but i love my insides. or, rather, my character. good AND bad.

    so happy you reflected back on something so awful! it’s definitely a great way to inject a little gratitude into one’s life 🙂

  11. Stephanie July 19, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    wow..I’ve never really looked into the positives of having my ED..because it just ruined my life. thanks for sharing!

  12. Brynne July 19, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    I agree with absolutely everything. ❤

  13. Sarah July 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Love this! I’ve tried to look at it this way too. My eating disorder helped me to develop into the person I am now because it was such a struggle. I have much more compassion now and don’t judge people based on appearance either. You’re right, everything happens for a reason 🙂

  14. cardiopizza July 26, 2011 at 6:06 am #

    Great post! It’s amazing how a time in your life that caused so much pain can also be a great learning experience. You have come so far!

  15. Nutrition For Diet August 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    I like the way you think. I appreciate your thought that health is very important.

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