Have you ever wondered “Who am I?” Chances are that, as a human being, the answer is yes! Most of us question our identities at some point in our lives, especially as we are growing up and continuing to form our personalities and values.
Studies show that body dissatisfaction is positively correlated with identity confusion. When we don’t like what we look like, we may begin to conflate “who we are” with “what we look like.” When this happens, it’s not uncommon for an individual to develop an eating disorder (ED).
Eventually, EDs can take over our identity, until we forget who we are without the disorder. For this reason, defining “who we are” without “what we look like” is an essential step in ED recovery. In the EDIT™ Method, we call this process letting go of our “ED Self” and rediscovering our “True Self.”
As you progress in your recovery, you’ll find that there are many more aspects of identity that define who you are… way more than your body shape and size does! Keeping that in mind, here are 5 aspects of the True Self that have nothing to do with what you look like.
A “community” refers to a group of people who share a social location or other characteristics. We all belong to a number of different local communities – whether it’s a school, a workplace, a particular town, or even a club or team. Additionally, we might feel a sense of “community,” or fellowship, with others like us. For example, you might identify with the LGBTQ+ or BIPOC communities, depending on who you are and where you come from. These identities can help us feel a sense of connection with others like us, while also defining parts of our past, present, and future selves.
2. Family Roles
Whether or not they are blood related, everybody has people they consider to be their chosen family. Many of us naturally take on different roles within that chosen family. For example, you might see yourself as a sibling, spouse, or child. Depending on the relationships in our lives, we might identify more or less with these roles as part of our identity. Regardless, however, they form an important aspect of who we are and where we come from.
Who is someone you admire and why? This could be someone close to you – like a family member, teacher, or coach – or it could be a famous figure. When you’ve got someone in mind, ask yourself what qualities they have that you consider admirable. By looking at our role models and the characteristics we admire most about them, we can gain insight into our deepest held values. It’s those values, rather than a particular role model, that define us… way more than our physical body ever could!
When we’re getting to know someone new, we tend to ask them a lot of questions about their favorite things: favorite color, favorite TV show, favorite music… the list goes on and on. And there’s a reason why we want to know these things! Someone’s favorite things are a reflection of who they are and what they value. Among other things, our identities are a constellation of all the people, places, and things we love most.
One of the most dreaded questions on job interviews is “what are your strengths?” Even though we instinctively know the answers to this question, many of us feel uncomfortable admitting to things we are good at. Our culture values modesty to an extreme, to the point where many of us don’t even recognize our strengths. If you’re having trouble thinking of something you’re good at, try asking someone you’re close to, like a friend or family member. Sometimes, our loved ones can offer a new perspective on our identities that we didn’t think of ourselves!
Are you ready to let go of the grip your ED has on your identity? If you’re looking for support in embracing your True Self, reach out to me today at email@example.com. As an EDIT™-certified recovery coach, I can help you define your identity outside of your body shape and size, and rediscover your true purpose in life.