In the past several weeks, I’ve been acutely aware of the growth I’m seeing all around me. Even in times of uncertainty, my dearest friends have practiced vulnerability. I’ve seen them take big risks in life. Some have left jobs that no longer serve them, others have moved across the country, and away from their native lands. I’ve seen my community of people embark on new lives, learn new languages, and experience new, and old, love.
My family members have prioritized and shared with me their passions in life. I’ve watched, and gladly supported, my clients move away from their eating disorders, into recovery, and off to college.
In these past several weeks, I have held, in my arms, the exhaustion of my friends’ lives. I, myself, have worked on allowing my exhaustion to be seen and supported by others as well. I’ve heard women talk about the difficulties of pregnancy and motherhood, I’ve seen my loved ones endure, and take on, new, and hard diagnoses.
From an outsider’s perspective, I can feel proud of my community, but I know that this doesn’t come without risk and worry. Growth isn’t always as warm and fuzzy as a garden harvest, or growing the tallest of sunflowers in the farm. I’ve seen my best friends go through some serious life shit. Despite, and against all odds, these people have found forgiveness and acceptance, in themselves, and in the hurt people, that hurt people. And that, my friends, is big growth.
In my initial stages of observing the growth around me, I was acutely aware of my stagnation. Not to worry though, I’m genuinely cool with it. While I do believe in self-development, I don’t think it’s healthy to always be “advancing yourself” or “climbing the ladder”, all the damn time. Rest, acceptance, and being, is just as important as growth.
More recently however, I reframed and started to recognize my own growth. No, I haven’t exactly scaled my business like I would have wanted to by now. Much to the impatience of my blood and extended family, I haven’t “found love”, nor have I bought property, or adopted a dog (like I really want to).
But I have grown greatly, it’s just not in the ways that are largely recognized by society. After all, the headline, “Woman stands confidently naked in a Women’s YMCA locker room” wouldn’t exactly make millions. Nor would embracing my feelings, crying in a hammock or taking pottery classes.
Maybe not to the masses, but to me, the small victories are the big ones. Not restricting, binge eating or purging for longer than you’ve ever gone before is growth. Eating lunch alone, transitioning treatment teams, and sitting in your feelings is big magic. Stating, following and believing in your dreams oughta make headlines. Opening your heart, speaking your truth, taking risks, feeling your feels and simply, just being you, is all worth praising.
So what the hell does this have to do with food, body, or Intuitive Eating? Nothing and everything. Nothing, because, before I’m a dietitian, I’m an ever-evolving human, reflecting on her experience in this world. But also, everything – because there’s no way I would have been able to start a private practice or blog on my own website without unpacking, healing and exploring my own food, body and emotional sh*t.
So, to whoever is reading this, this isn’t about me getting recognition (but I could also always use the reminder). It’s about using a platform so that you know, wherever and however you are growing, I see you. I really, truly feel you. Keep growing, in whatever small and/or big ways that’s happening for you. Know that taking care of your basic needs, listening to your body, and honoring your experience is only the beginning. From there, a whole world of growth is waiting for you.
Self-Care Prompts For You
- Looking back at your life, 6 months ago, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years ago – how have you grown?
- What small victories have you accomplished?
- What big, scary life things have you survived?
- Take a moment to thank your body, in all of its complexity, for getting you through, for giving you joy, for it’s ever-present resilience and for the continued support you will receive from it.
- Breathe into the growth you are always experiencing.