Having a Support System is So Important
In my work with helping individuals with eating disorders I have learned that negative thoughts and poor boundary setting are two of the most dangerous enemies of full recovery.
Conversely, one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal to help you turn negative thoughts around is a rock-solid support group, or what I call your inner circle.
How to Look at Your Own Inner Circle
Here is an exercise I often complete with my clients to determine if their inner circle is truly supportive:
Step 1: Think for a moment about who you consider to be in that circle; friends, family, business contacts, teachers… these are the people you spend the most time with in your life. Now make a list of the FIVE people you spend the most time with within that circle.
Print out this post and list them here:
Step 2: Now, look at each person on the list and ask yourself: Is this person someone who truly encourages me, does not judge me or try to tear me down? Is this someone who makes time for me if I need them? Is this someone who can celebrate my successes without becoming jealous? Is it someone who can hear my pain without changing the subject or talking about themselves?
The Power of Negative Thoughts
Let me tell you a secret… if you have a lot of negative thoughts about yourself and your life, it's likely that you've also filled your inner circle with people who have negative thoughts, and have trouble encouraging you. As a result, they confirm your negative thoughts, which keeps them going around and around in your head. You may have put them in your inner circle for a number of reasons, including:
- Deep down you don't think you deserve encouragement or support, or feel selfish asking for it.
- You were "trained" in your early years to accept criticism and blame.
- You have trouble telling people "no", so you allow people into your circle, even though your intuition tells you not to.
When completed thoughtfully, this simple exercise can be an eye-opener. You may realize that people you have been allowing into your "inner circle" are actually impeding your recovery and keeping your self-esteem low. It can be difficult to make these realizations about the people with whom you've been surrounding yourself, and it can feel scary to make changes to remove them.
If you need coaching to learn how to set and keep boundaries with difficult people in your life, we can help and support you. Just click here to schedule a counseling appointment and we'll be in touch the very same day.
Bonus: Love Your Body Challenge
Also, summer is here and so are body image issues - fear of wearing bathing suits, shorts and other summer clothes. What a great time to take the 7-day Love Your Body Challenge. It's free, confidential, and will give you lots of support and tips to start loving your body during the summer months and EVERY month! Sign up here