karen header 3

Karen's Blogs

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life.Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

[No unsolicited guest blogs accepted, thank you]

No Need to Be Perfect to Be Lovable

I was Skyping with a client who mentioned feeling awful about herself because she was having difficulty in a college math class. Many people I treat have a similar reaction—not to math, but to letting not doing well in an activity sour their view of themselves. And, of course, feeling negatively about themselves often primes them for a binge.

Here’s how to think. You want to start from the premise that you are going to do some things well in life and some things poorly, that you have strengths and weaknesses just like everyone else, and that your success or failure in an activity has nothing to do with your value as a human being. Working off this assumption, you won’t misinterpret what doing poorly means. Of course, you might still wish to do well in, say, math, but doing well or poorly won’t remotely define you’re worth.

When I told my client that I’d struggled with math my whole life (except in college when, strangely, I did fine) and that in my late 20s I took remedial math at the local adult education center (to no avail, I might add), her face broke out in a broad smile. Did she think she was the only person on earth who had trouble with algebra and geometry? Then, when I told her that I still use a tip table when I go out to dinner, she looked positively ecstatic. Did she think I did everything well? Ha! No one does.

This streak of yearning desperately to be successful and perfect runs strongly and deeply through disregulated eaters who associate doing well with being lovable and doing poorly with being unlovable. However, one thing has nothing to do with the other. Activities are what we do, not our essence. That is untouchable by either success or failure. How you do is not who you are. I would love to have a stamp that could imprint that on your brains, particularly since those of you who struggle with accepting that you’re lovable ignore the positive traits you have and over-focus on the negative ones. C’mon, you know you do. Self-love and self-worth are not conditional. You love yourself for every square inch of who you are because all humans have pluses and minuses.

So, next time you start down the road of being hard on yourself and doubting your lovability because you haven’t done something well (then start thinking about eating when you’re not hungry), make a full stop and recognize that you’re heading for trouble. Allow yourself to experience the discomfort of loving yourself no matter what you did wrong or poorly. You may feel weird, uncomfortable, or downright agitated, but so what? You can’t feel any worse than you would in the aftermath of a binge.

More on Influences on Weight
Stability and Self-care

shelf new

EBProfessionalBadgeLarge

This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.  Privacy Policy