In Dialectal Behavioral Therapy, commonly referred to as DBT, there is a skill called opposite-to-emotion action. The premise is that you choose to act in contrast to how your emotions are telling you to. If you are anxious and want to isolate, the opposite action could be to make plans. I had been treated with DBT in the past but did not connect to this skill, and rarely applied it.
Years later (and just a few weeks ago) I was reflecting with my therapist about how I’ve progressed, and with what I haven’t. I described my difficulties with food, explaining that although I’ve been able to keep my behaviors at bay, I was still overwhelmingly consumed with my thoughts. I’ve always known this on an intellectual level, but suddenly it hit me. I must manifest recovery. I cannot expect my thoughts to fade when I engage in them, even the “less harmful ones.” I had to act like I had a healthy relationship with food in order to establish a healthy relationship with food. I had to act opposite to my emotions.
All the things I had learned in therapy came flooding back: limit body checking, wear clothes I’m comfortable in, stop reading the calories on the label. How would these thoughts ever leave if I didn’t allow them to? I realized the hypocrisy in my own recovery. To my friends, I’ve always preached this type of approach. Like to my friend going through a breakup, “If you want to get over him, stop checking his social media.” Your mind can’t heal from something without space.
In the past few weeks, I’ve tried to do recovery differently. I noticed how passively I was doing it and decided it was time for me to take an active role in my recovery. I started logging how I felt about food and body image throughout the day and used it to pinpoint specific issues. My decision was to manifest recovery, attract recovery, and act opposite to my emotions. Whether I call it a DBT skill or the law of attraction, it holds true. I need to stop focusing my energy on how to survive my eating disorder and start focusing on healing it.
I’ve stopped timing my workouts and tried to act intuitively. I’ve denied the urge to Google calories to each menu item to make a decision. These little behaviors attract my eating disorder. By stopping them, I attract recovery. I don’t want to oversimplify, my ED brain hasn’t disappeared in these few weeks. My healthy brain has gotten stronger and louder though.
What are your actions manifesting for you? What do your behaviors attract?
Image Credit: https://thriveglobal.com/stories/4-steps-to-manifest-anything-you-want/