Change is often a result of pain. It's the pain that prompts and motivates us to change. If everything is fine, why bother changing? Typically, the greater the pain, the more urgent the desire to change, but this isn't always the case, especially with eating disorders. Often those struggling with an ED are held hostage in an illness that causes them a great deal of suffering.
According to a pioneer in social psychology, Kurt Lewin, pain isn't the only thing required for change. We must also have hope. Hope that change is possible. Hope that things will get better as a result of the change.
Marketers use this as a tactic all the time. Consider the diet industry and the before/after photos they often use. In the before photo the person always appears miserable (pain), and in the after photo they look happy (hope). They convince us that we must be (should be) unhappy at our current weight, and sell us on the hope that their product will fix this. The problem is that diets don't work, it's false advertising. But they don't take responsibility for the failure. They let you suffer from self-blame, further perpetuating your pain and increasing the likelihood that you'll buy into their diet again in the future.
Kurt Lewin also created a model of change that consists of 3 phases of successful change:
- Unfreeze – contemplating and preparing for change
- Change – not a specific event, but rather a process of changing over time
- Freeze – reinforcement and maintenance of the change, still an ongoing process
I'm wondering what is causing you pain in your life? Do you believe that change would be possible and beneficial? What do you need to change?
Give yourself compassion if fear arises when you think about change. Our brains often resist change because it requires more conscious thought and effort to change current patterns. Thus, we often resist change and run away from it. Cling on to your hope. This will help pull you through the difficult process. It takes courage to change, you are so brave!