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So, I appear to have internet ac...

Posted Sep 22 2008 10:59am

So, I appear to have internet access today, which is terrific, because I woke up thinking some more about Eleanor Roosevelt's quote, and about something Courtney said in her last comment.

While it's essentially true that (in the way we are speaking about the idea) no one can make us feel inferior, insecure, take away our power, unless "let" them, we ought to be clear about what that really means and how fundamentally challenging not giving away our power really is.

I woke up reflecting upon all the people I've seen work toward recovery over all the years I've been a clinician. I can't remember any case where learning to hold onto one's power (what we believe, we what feel, what we think... all of that and more) wasn't a central project in their journey to recover.

And while there are variations, of course, in people's paths toward health (so in this case I mean there is a range of how difficult it is to learn how to hold onto our power), claiming and preserving one's power has been an enormous challenge for everyone I've ever worked with.

A couple of days ago I wrote about the client who had been called chubby and who was able to remember what she knew to be true, and therefore not be crushed by what her friend had said. Courtney commented about several things relating to that post; at one point she mentioned my "perfect, fit" client's ability to talk herself out of being devastated by the comment. I'm not exactly sure what Courtney meant by what she wrote, so I may be going off on a different tangent here, but those words made me think about an important aspect of what I'm writing about today.

That my client was able to hold onto what she knew to be true (hold onto her own body image, hold onto her own convictions, to her own concept of herself) and not let her friend's words alter her view of herself and/or the world, had nothing to do with her having a "perfect body." It isn't that she somehow achieved some perfect physique and then was entitled to feel ok about herself and hold onto her power. That's not how life works or recovery works.

In reality, this woman has a way cool body. She's strong. She's healthy. She's beautiful in her own way. She also isn't tiny, she's not super thin (in fact, she's pretty average in terms of weight), she's not about to win a job as a "top model."

She gets to hold onto her power because that's her birthright. She doesn't get to hold onto her power because she's "perfect," "thin enough," "pretty enough." She just gets to. Period.

It took her several years to truly understand and believe that- and then a few more to get strong enough and practiced enough that she could go out into the world and stay true to herself almost all the time. Almost all the time- sometimes she still wavers for a moment. But almost all the time, given that she didn't even realize she could have power until a few years prior, is pretty darn good, I'd say (and so would she, which is most important!).

Why it's so hard to claim our power and hold onto it (and why it is so worth it) in the next post. And feel free to chime in with ideas about that if you want- you know me, I always have plenty to say, but there are lots of you guys out there who have worked really hard to get your power back- I'm sure other readers would benefit from hearing your stories.

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