I came across this quote by Pema Chodron and filed it away as a keeper: “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” This quote can be applied to a variety of situations, the most prominent of which seems to be therapy. At the start of any therapeutic relationship, the goal is for the client to understand what therapy may entail and to form a therapeutic foundation. Both the greatest difficulty and greatest strength of therapy is gaining a greater understanding of oneself; embarking on true self-exploration.
The issues that trouble and follow each person are those that are also worth therapeutically exploring, learning, and understanding so that change can be implemented from within, rather than simply forced upon. When it comes to eating disorders, “forced upon” can certainly be what the beginning of recovery may feel like: the final goal of change, of weight restoration, and of a healthier relationship with food seems foreign and at times, elusive. Surely, guidance is necessary throughout this process and so is teaching tangible therapeutic skills and techniques when appropriate, but those haunting issues are those that hopefully teach the most and nurture self-understanding. In the case of eating disorders, self-understanding and self-acceptance comes with a healthy dose of also addressing distorted body image perceptions. Does everyone take missteps and possibly carve out a jagged life journey? Perhaps. It is what we learn along the way that brings meaning.