I know what I need to do. Since my relapse of anorexia last August, I have encountered a series of physical challenges and to get my brain and body back on track I need to eat well and consistently, get enough sleep, start exercising moderately (not at the frantic pace of my anorexic days) and manage my stress at work. That’s a long list.
I also know what I want. I want to fit into my size 6 jeans. Oh yeah, I also want more of those size 6 jeans I saw in the store. I want to be able to get up at 3 AM, write for 3 hours before I get in the shower to get ready for work and still be sharp at 7 PM at my job as a social worker. I want to be perfect at my job(s) and garner praise and respect from my boss.
It’s essential that I put my needs ahead of my wants. In my case I should forgo my wants altogether because they have the potential to be destructive and they are unrealistic.
How do I get to the place — emotionally and intellectually — where I’m able to do this? If I want to achieve my long-term goals of living a long and healthy life, being in an intimate relationship and just feeling good, then prioritizing needs over wants is a requirement.
I’m in the process of sorting out the origins of my wants; they seem to have their roots with my father who demanded so much of me as a child and I continue to want to please him. I’m intensely angry with him and I feel that if I forgive him it will minimize the effect his actions had on me. The concept of letting go of my anger seemed inconceivable to me a month ago, but after working on this idea for a while, I am beginning to believe it’s possible. Difficult, but possible.