"Nothing's impossible I have found, for when my chin is on the ground, I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again" (Lyrics by: Dorothy Fields / Music by: Jerome Kern).
On the path to recovery, to a greater understanding of oneself, or even just an improved outlook – it can be tempting to beat oneself up whenever life throws a curveball and a moment or a day or a week occurs that makes you feel like you have messed it all up. It can sometimes feel like you have to press the reset button on all of your progress, and that nothing you accomplished before that difficult moment counts anymore. I know I have struggled with this concept. I felt that if my recovery or my plans for self-improvement weren’t just perfect, that I either wasn’t doing it right or I was just a failure. I was living in this black and white world where there wasn’t room for progress, only “perfection”. Then one day I was introduced to two concepts that actually made me pause and reflect on how I was approaching my life. I was told that I couldn’t push the river, it was simply going to flow as it needed to. I was also told that if I did find my “chin on the ground”, to be a gentle cop; meaning to acknowledge that perhaps I had experienced something difficult, and perhaps didn’t make the best decision in the moment, but that I didn’t have to beat myself up so badly that I couldn’t even get up again. I could love myself, understand that I’m human, and just get back up again and continue down my path. As I adopted these thought patterns and practiced them, I found that I did indeed become more gentle with myself, and over time I actually stopped perceiving myself to be on the ground so much. It just felt like life, and I was walking down my path with a greater feeling of Self-love and Self-acceptance. If you find yourself in a moment with your chin on the ground, perhaps you can practice pausing, remembering you can’t push that river of Life, and gently remind yourself that it’s OK, you’ve still accomplished so much, and you are experiencing your journey and your recovery exactly the right way for you. You don’t even have to start all over again – you simply pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep moving onward.
By Erin Stitzel
Erin Stitzel is an interning therapist at The Awakening Center. She is a Masters student at Northeastern Illinois University and will graduate and gain licensure in August of 2012. She specializes in eating disorders, depression, anxiety, trauma, and grief. She runs the Saturday Eating Disorder Recovery Drop In Support Group at TAC on Saturday mornings from 10-11:30am. For more information please call 773.929.6262 (ext.12).