All that defines you

In the last few weeks I realized that I am very easily stressed out. While other students “take it easy” and don’t study till the last moment, I start studying the minute I hear about an upcoming test. Not only that, but no matter how much I study I feel like I’ve never studied enough. It doesn’t matter how many hours I’ve spent pouring over a certain amount of material – I still never feel confident in my knowledge and I always spend the last few hours before an exam a nervous wreck.

I recently found myself wondering – why do I care so much? Why can’t I just let go, do what I can and trust that it’ll be enough. Why can’t I enjoy life a little bit more, instead of always worrying about the next exam/test or quiz? Why do I make things so hard on myself?

The truth is very simple – aside from my fear or failure and perfectionist tendencies, I tend to let one aspect of my life define me. A long time ago it was my eating disorder. I was scared of letting go of it completely because somewhere deep down I felt like it was what defined me. It had become so much a part of my life that without it, I hardly knew who I was.

While letting go of my ED, I went through a stage looking for who I was. My obsession with food had taken over my life for so long that I had forgotten who I really was. So I began on a journey to rediscover and redefine myself.

I tried to be the typical “health food” blogger, but that didn’t work for me. Being obsessed with “healthy food” is still an obsession with food and it isn’t who I am right now. I tried finding a sport I was passionate about – but again this awakened old habits far too strongly for me feel comfortable with.

Then I started studying and found something I truly enjoyed. Granted, I don’t enjoy the stress that comes with it, but there are a lot of things I am genuinely interested in. More than that, I love knowing that I am accomplishing something worthwhile, that I’m on the way to realizing my dreams.

But what I fail to remember is that studying and being a student does not define me, just as recovering from an ED doesn’t define me. Neither does my interest in healthy living or exercise. All these parts of my life make up the sum total of who I am. I’m not just a student, or a (very sporadic) blogger, or a health enthusiast.  I am also an older sister,  a writer, a former dancer, a friend, a cook, a party planner.  I can’t expect myself to be perfect in every aspect of my life. I need to remember that when I face (what I consider failure) in any one of these aspects. I don’t consider myself to be useless waste of space when I burn dinner, or can’t write an essay the way I’d like. Yet these feelings come when I don’t fulfill my expectation concerning my grades. Why? Because forget all that I am, what makes me truly special. I forget that my accomplishments don’t define me as person . And the people in my life that love me don’t love because of what I do, they love me because of who I am.

Any thoughts on the matter?

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6 comments

  1. That’s so awesome you’ve come to discover more about yourself during your recovery process! I loved the last paragraph, everything is so true!

  2. So true!
    I can totally relate to your feelings,girl: I also started my blog thinking I’d become a typical health food blogger,but soon realized this was not really what I wanted because I was focussing too much on food in any way. But that’s okay,I like the way I am blogging,although it’s hard to categorize my blog. I am blogging about my thoughts,emotions,my feelings and realizations,which is helping me a lot more in terms of recovery than writing about food and stuff only!
    However,I am sort of a perfectionist,too,and want to get everything done as accurately and precisely as possible. Whenever I make a mistake,I feel like I am a failure myself and feel terribly depressed and frustrated.
    Despite that,I technically know my friends won’t care that much about a mistake I’ve made once or a test I’ve eventually failed – they love me because I am who I am. I just need to internalize this.

  3. Love this post, you are such an amazing person 🙂
    I really admire your strength and you are completely right – you are not defined by your ED or by your student life or anything!
    This post makes me think a lot about myself, I think that like you I tend to let big things in my life define me, like my condition, but I need to remember that one single aspect of your life does not define you!

  4. My dear,
    Thank you for your comments. Your words always leave me with a calmness and hopefulness for the long journey ahead.
    I am exactly like you. I never feel that I have studied enough no matter how many hours I spend in the library pouring over the textbooks and course notes. When everyone else is taking breaks, I feel that I should be studying more and more.
    I have never thought of it in terms of “letting one aspect of life define me”. But that is so simple and true. Even in recovery, we tend to focus completely on recovering, created that definition towards ourselves. But we are more than students, recoverers, healthy eaters, writters, friends, sisters, daughters. We are all of those combined as well as the personality inside our bodies 🙂
    Beautiful post ❤

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  6. Lovely lovely post! For someone so young, you are so wise. As we grow older, these things continue to haunt us, and it’s wonderful to read it from you and know that no matter how hard life can sometimes be, there is more to us than what other people or society tells us. Here’s wishing you a wonderful year!


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