We all have those people in our lives. The people that bring down your self-esteem to raise their own. The people that feel they have a sense of authority over you because of their age, or experience, or stature. They may be in your workplace, your family or your circle of friends. They may just be people you come across in your life daily just because of your environment such as a teacher or a bus driver.
You may want to impress these people for whatever reason. You may feel a desperate urge to gain their approval or prove that you’re worthy of their attention. You want to be accepted by them. For me, I craved the acceptance of a group of girls at highschool. I came to believe that because they were popular and received attention from boys in other year groups that I should aspire not only to be LIKE them but to be FRIENDS with them.
I now realise that their values and interests completely contrast my own. They were consumed by the superficial: what you looked like, how you dressed, how many likes you had on instagram and how many friends you had on facebook.
The best thing I did, which took me some time, was to realise that they were toxic to my recovery and they did not serve a purpose in my life. Their obsession with their looks, their diets, their hair, their social media added NO value to my existence and was in fact impeding my own development and recovery.
I made a deliberate decision to cleanse my social media of those negative influences in my life. I don’t see these people and I don’t associate with them anymore. That has provided me with an immense sense of freedom because my happiness and contentment is no longer linked to what someone THINKS of me. I chose to surround myself with people whom I deeply respect and whose values are akin to my own. I chose to surround myself with people who have healthy relationships with themselves and others and don’t indulge my eating disorder behaviours. I chose to surround myself with people who are NOT obsessed with the superficial.
The most important thing to remember is that everybody’s life journey is different. Your journey is yours and yours only and what other people do with their lives is not your problem or responsibility. I always wanted to FIX people, especially those who were ill with an eating disorder. I would get distressed when I saw other people struggling and angry when I heard people talking about diets and wanting to look a certain way.
You cannot control the way other people live their lives. People will say STUPID and hurtful things but that should not affect you and your journey towards the best self you can be.
I am still learning how to not be affected by the opinions and values of others but I am getting much better at it.