Do you feel like a failure when you’re not always making forward progress?

How often do you feel guilty or sad or mad at yourself for taking a step backwards or making a mistake? Do you feel like a failure when you’re not always making forward progress?

It can be really easy to start beating yourself up if you feel like you’ve been making progress and then you start to slip back into old habits. Making progress and healing usually feels really good, and it can be discouraging when you feel like you’re not making progress anymore or you’re going backward. But, I want to remind you, and encourage you that it’s normal to feel that way. It’s normal and okay to feel down or blah when you’re taking steps backwards. AND, it’s completely normal to take steps backwards. So often, when we’re on healing journeys, we think that it’s just forward progress. I would love if that’s how healing worked, but unfortunately it’s not. Healing is NOT linear. It is not a straight line moving forward.

Healing is full of ups and downs, steps forward and steps backwards, making progress and slipping back. So, first of all, just know that you’re not alone. It’s not just you. This is the journey of healing for everyone.

I know that this can be especially hard when it comes to disordered eating and eating disorders. It can be so hard to have grace for yourself when you just want to make progress forward and you feel like it’s failure after failure. I remember feeling that way when I was healing from bulimia. I would have so many good days and moments where I wouldn’t eat a ton, or at least I wouldn’t throw up. And then the first bad day after a stretch of good days would feel so defeating. I would feel defeated, like healing wasn’t possible, and like I was never going to make real progress. The cycle of guilt and shame would kick in strong, and I would feel really worthless, sad, and overwhelmed. It also always felt very lonely. Because not many people knew that I was struggling, and the people around me didn’t know I was struggling, it felt lonely. I would feel isolated and like I didn’t have anyone to talk to. And I also felt like I had to put on a happy face and pretend like everything was okay. Have you ever felt that way? Sad. Overwhelmed. Alone. Defeated.

If so, you’re not alone. And I’m living proof that it CAN get better. You CAN make progress in your healing journey. Even if it’s a lot of backwards steps mixed in. The main thing that I want you to know and remember after reading this article, is that you are NOT alone. You are never alone. Our struggles can feel so isolating, but I promise that you are not the only one who struggles. You are brave and powerful for working on your healing. You are not defeated. You are allowed to have good days AND bad days. And I want you to have a whole lot of grace for yourself. Love yourself – through the good and the bad. Speak kindly to yourself. Treat yourself like you would treat the person you love most in this world. And know that I am here for you. And healing is your friend – backwards steps and all.

Abby Horst

A podcaster, wife, health/wellness coach, beach lover, and musician. She specialises in nutrition education, meal planning, and developing sustainable habits. She passionately works with her patients to help them build healthier and happier relationships with food, exercise, and themselves.

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