Keep an Open, Not a Closed Mind
What one quality makes for a topnotch crime-solver? As an avid reader of mysteries, my take is that successful detection is born of curiosity and open mindedness. You don’t solve a crime by deciding right off the bat who had done it because then you’d be fitting evidence into a forgone conclusion. Instead, you are open to everything pertinent you find and build a case from the ground up. This is what scientists do as well, employing the scientific method. They begin with a hunch or hypothesis, then accumulate data until it points in a true-or-false-direction. Open-mindedness and curiosity keep scientists from cherry picking data which would sway their opinion one way or another. They let the truth emerge, even if it proves their initial assumption wrong.
Quite honestly, I’ve found that many clients and Food and Feelings message board members are unwilling to stay curious and open-minded enough to disprove what they already believe about themselves. The main reason is that they’re afraid to let go of assumptions that they’ve had since childhood which were adaptive back then, but are maladaptive now. For example, if “don’t make waves” kept them out of harm’s way, they’re likely to still subscribe to that adage although it’s counterproductive in adulthood.
Maybe you still believe you’re worthless, unattractive, stupid, lazy, inadequate, or however you adapted in your family to survive its dysfunction. Clinging to outdated self descriptors, you fail to take in comments and give credence to your own experience that attest to your being worthy, attractive, bright, energetic, or competent. If you’re not open to learning who you are as an adult, you’re bound to remain the same as you were as a child. Say you’re invited to every party in your group of friends and still feel unpopular, how will you ever feel lovable? If you believe you’re not skilled enough to get a better job, how will you find one? If you don’t register the times you eat mindfully and enjoy a great relationship with food, how will you become a “normal” eater?
Stop thinking of yourself in a particular negative way and insisting you know why things happen. Rejection doesn’t mean you’re unlovable. It happens for other reasons. Think about what they could be. People staring at you doesn’t mean they’re disgusted with your body. Think about what other possibilities might be. People shaming you doesn’t mean you did something wrong. Consider why else people might shame you. Don’t fit everything that happens into your forgone conclusions or you will never grow healthier. Be open to new clues to how you fit into the world. Build some new assumptions about yourself from real evidence in the here and now. Open your mind.