What’s Normal Behavior
Disregulated eaters who’ve had dysfunctional childhoods often have a very skewed view of what’s healthy behavior in adulthood. I’m not talking about eating here, but the nature of expected behavior as a mature individual. The more you understand what’s healthy, the more you can work toward it and acquire effective life skills.
Members of my "Food and Feelings" message board sometimes express wishes to think and act in ways which are unrealistic and only makes them feel badly about who they are. I get the sense that they think others are always fearless, secure, and excellent deciders, that they perceive most people know exactly how to handle problems. They think, “They must be doing it right and I must be doing it wrong.” In fact, the people they admire often appear as if they’re smart and in the know when in fact they’re not. Remember each of us see only each other’s outsides, not what’s going on inside of us.
Take the issue of courage. Frequently we see the end product of a series of actions. We meet someone who’s taken a round-the-world trip on their own, who’s changed jobs after several decades, or has left an abusive marriage. We may (wrongly) think that they took these actions without much thought, including fears and doubts. We’d most likely be wrong. Fear and doubt are weighed in making decisions and that’s as it should be. What we see, is the overcoming of anxiety in order to move forward.
Another misperceived quality is confidence. You may think that there are people who are always confident about their views and behavior. Quite frankly, I’d be very wary of someone like that. Yes, there are generally confident people, but they also usually are able to tell you about areas where they’re not so sure of themselves. For instance, I feel pretty confident about my writing, but my math skills are shaky. If you ask me, I’d tell you that they are, but my guess is that there are people who assume that because I have been successful as a writer, I’m successful in every other area of my life.
One other common misperception is that it’s not normal or healthy to be confused. Au contraire. It’s eminently healthy to feel uncertain and conflicted. People who never express or feel confusion are too scared to do so and end up being very rigid. They appear certain but they’re really not or else they could entertain doubt. In many ways, what you may think is healthy behavior can turn out to be exactly it’s opposite. Make sure the ways you’re trying to grow are healthy and consider that you may be healthier than you think.