I was giving a presentation on eating disorder recovery in my class Tuesday evening, when my teacher asked me a simple question: What really worked for you?
It was kind of funny that she asked that question, because I had been thinking about it quite a bit earlier in the day. I’ve begun to realize that I need to talk about the answer to this question more, even if it’s not something people talk about every day.
The number one key to my new life has been my transformed relationship with God. When I was younger, I read every book I could get my hands on about the lives of saints. At night I would wish on stars that I could become a saint someday. I began to become very critical of myself and every little mistake I made. I started to treat myself harshly, instead of with the love that God intended. Without understanding God’s love for me, I lacked the trust in Him that I needed; rather than trusting that He had a plan for my life, I thought that I should be in control. I got into a bad relationship with someone who was horribly wrong for me, simply because I thought it was “time” for me to be in a relationship. It wasn’t until I learned to trust in God’s plan–and the timing of that plan–that I was able to not only heal from my eating disorder, but discover a genuine sense of happiness and eventually meet the love of my life–my husband.
I am so thankful for all of the blessings I’ve received in my life, and that only came once I started truly trusting God, trying to hear what He is speaking to me in my heart every day, and accepting His plan for my life. You can bet that I will be talking more about God from now on; it would be ridiculous and wrong for me not to.
The second key to my happiness is in my relationships with the people I love. I know that more than anything else, my husband cares about my health, happiness, and our future together. He actually asks me quite often, “Are you happy?” to which I always answer, “Yes!” He loves the “me” that not everyone gets to see. He does his best to listen to me, even if he doesn’t always understand how I’m feeling right away–the thing is, he always tries. He respects me, and above all, I know that his love for me is unconditional. There is a sense of peace and strength that comes with knowing that, that enables me to get through any difficult moments I face.
Over the years, my family has done a wonderful job of trying to understand everything I’ve gone through as well. They’ve been there for me in my darkest times, offering love, words, and even a home when I needed somewhere to go after the end of that bad relationship I mentioned earlier. I know that my family will continue to be there for me.
The third key has been my passion for fitness. I love to lift weights. In order to continue to lift weights, I have to eat. I also have to give my muscles enough time to rest in between my workouts. My love for fitness has allowed me to begin feeling proud of what I can do with my healthy body, rather than focusing so much on any superficial things I’d like to change about it. I love being able to do pull-ups, and someday, I want to be able to squat my own weight (and more!). I’m almost to that one. A healthy dose of exercise also does wonders for me emotionally: If I feel anxious, stressed, depressed, or whatever, I know that a quick workout will do just the trick.
There are many other things that have contributed to the sense of peace and happiness I feel every day now, but these are the first three that come to my mind. I’m a different person now, and it’s these things that keep me going.
So now it’s your turn: What fuels you? What gives you a sense of peace within yourself? What are your keys to a healthy, happy life?
Love, Hope, & Prayers,