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Confidence Thievery

on November 7, 2013

Of all the things that I detest most about having an eating disorder, the theft of my self-confidence is the aspect I most loathe. It’s also one of the most puzzling. I bet if you asked most of the people who have known me for the majority of my life, “Is Mary a confident person?”, they would answer yes. They’d probably be surprised to know how much time I spent mired in self-doubt with lousy self-esteem and how often my accomplishments were diminished by the stress and worry that I would fail.

It’s the kind of emotional and mental garbage that eats at your strength. Even when there is lots of evidence around that one is a strong, capable, talented person, when something steals your self-confidence, cracks and instability appear in your foundation. A weakened foundations means you never feel 100% secure.

It was the worst in the years before I first started going to a therapist who specialized in eating disorders back around the beginning of 1992. I learned a lot from that point, both in therapy and the ten plus years that I regularly attended OA meetings. Most of all, I learned that my outside persona — the strong, capable, confident woman — was not fakery. I was not a sham. I really was, and am, that woman.

So, if I am that woman, why does the eating disorder have the power to convince me otherwise? I don’t know that I’ve ever explored the why of it before. Sometimes, I’m black and white in my approach to issues. What is, is. What isn’t, isn’t. Knowing why can be a booby prize in that it doesn’t change what is or what isn’t. Tonight, I think it’s important that I understand the why. I’m feeling my self-confidence get a little shaky and it makes sense that this erosion is connected to feeling like I’m not doing a good job of controlling what and how I eat. Disease behavior leads to diseased thinking. The disease is once more doing it’s best to steal away my confidence.

Anyway, I believe the disease gains its power from my poor choices. Every time I eat something that isn’t on my plan, I’m making a choice to be in disease instead of health. I equate that as not being a wise choice. So, if I’m not wise about my food and my health, if I’m actually choosing to be sick, then how smart and capable a woman can I be? That takes away a little more self-confidence, which then makes me feel worse, which leads to me wanting to eat to suppress the bad feelings and so on and so on.

See how that disease thinking works? It’s like I become my own self-fulfilling prophecy, or more to the point, it becomes a form of self-sabotage. This is only a rough thought-outline at this point. Like I said, I haven’t gone deep into this evaluation before and it needs some more thinking. I want to pin down this “why” because I think this time that it doesn’t have to be just a booby prize. I think if I get a handle on this, then I can stop sabotaging my effort and get more consistently back on track.

I also need to remind myself of what I learned long ago. I’m not a sham. Absolutely, unequivocally, I am a powerful, talented, successful woman. It is not bragging to say that I totally rock my job. I’m not just good at what I do. I’m awesome. The disease is not taking that away from me, but it’s taking shots at me on other matters — such as my volunteer involvement with another organization and, tonight, on something as little as cupcake baking. Yes, I had cupcake anxiety tonight, worrying that the 36 cupcakes I baked for an event are too domed. I’m fully aware that this sounds ridiculous. It is.

It’s just another sign that the confidence thievery needs to end.

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3 responses to “Confidence Thievery

  1. Hope says:

    You’re awesome, Mary. Never let you tell yourself otherwise. 😉

  2. Thea says:

    Yup, has to end. Domed cupcakes? That’s funny … if I didn’t have my own version.

  3. Skye says:

    Confidence thievery sucks. That your disease makes you think you are choosing to make unhealthy choices sucks. Sometimes the disease gains the upper hand for a bit, but you beat it back and for a while it is in abeyance. But when it is the stronger force, even for just a moment, does not mean you are choosing to be sick. Sometimes the disease catches up off guard.

    You are that amazing woman who rocks her job. When your self-confidense slips — as it does for all of us from time to time (or, if you are me, currently it is gone more than it is present) — that is just natural. Reminding yourself of that may help you regain your confidence more quickly.

    Remember: you are amazing; you do not choose to be sick; even if the disease occasionally comes out on top, you are still stronger than it is.

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