How to gain confidence in recovery.

Gaining confidence in myself is the first step to gaining confidence in recovery. Not only that but it also depends on my readiness and willingness to participate.

How do we gain and maintain confidence in recovery?

My confidence was practically non-existent both before and during my recovery. I had severe issues in reminding myself of how hard I work and based a lot of my self-worth on my size (and salary). It’s a sad but true reality that all too often we’re caught up with the digits on our payslips or waistbands. Without the smallest-sized clothing and the fat bank account, we’re left feeling ‘ugly.’ But it wasn’t until I began gaining confidence in myself, that I was able to gain confidence in recovery.

But confidence alone does not recovery make. In fact, it’s only the first step on a grander staircase! One that can leave so many of us feeling overwhelmed.

Let’s not jump ahead, though! This article is purely written to set you up for the confidence boost needed to get started in recovery!

“Recovery requires confidence in your ability to handle the physical, psychological and social stressors both during the initial stages and beyond.”

Image from Andre Furtado

Shaping Confidence in Recovery.

The first step to confidence in recovery is shaping it. There are thought to be four different ways to help shape our confidence in recovery.

Mastery Experiences.

This comes when you’re successful in adopting a behavior that you deem as difficult. For example, In regard to Anorexia recovery, this could be managing to eat three meals a day, or conquering a fear food. While these small steps may appear terrifying at first, fear not! Because the more you succeed in mastering certain behaviors (or letting go of bad habits) the more your confidence builds.

Think of it in regard to schoolwork. If you hand in an assignment you’re concerned about, and you manage a good grade, then your confidence will increase in that area. The same goes for recovery.

It’s natural that success builds confidence while failure undermines it. As someone who struggles with anorexia, I’m not overly familiar with the sense of success and mastery. My obsession with weight has always given me a sense of failure. I can’t control myself and be a certain weight, so I’m a failure. Even when I’m competent in other areas of my life the failure of anorexia overshadows it, leading me to believe I’m incompetent. As a result, I’ve been left with low self-esteem, one which needs to be built up again through success.

Once this success begins in recovery the rest can follow.

Vicarious Experiences.

This is built through experiences and observations of another person’s actions. If you see other people of a similar demographic, and social status and in a similar situation to yours achieve recovery, it allows you to see that it is possible. If they can do it then so can I!

This can also work against your confidence. Watching someone succeed and recover while you feel like every step is a struggle can be very disheartening. Remember, the chances are they were once in the same position as you! 

As someone who is in recovery and frequently blogs about my experiences, I try to be as real as possible without being triggering. I want you all to know I’m human, I fall down and I sometimes don’t feel like getting up. I aim to be a realistic and human exception, not a machine.

Remember the above if you also blog about your own recovery experience. You don’t have to be a recovery guru who has never relapsed, eats every meal, doesn’t cry every day, and has given up coffee and cigarettes. Perfect is not obtainable; human is.

Verbal Persuasion.

It’s not that hard to imagine. If someone tells you that you’re doing well and they’re proud of you, then chances are you’ll feel reassured.

But this is not as important as self-persuasion.

It’s up to us to replace negative mantras with positive ones. That’s where daily gratitude comes in. Every day remember to write down what you’re thankful for, and what you admire about yourself.

Psychological state.

This is all about positive mental states such as being relaxed, well-rested, warm, loved, excited, etc. These are all states that make us feel comfortable and, in a sense, better. Satisfied would usually come in there but I know that sometimes the feeling of being satisfied can make us feel negative. We need to challenge that!

Feeling satisfied in regards to our hunger levels needs to be switched to a positive mental state rather than a negative (along with tired, cold, and tense).

This is something that will naturally come along with recovery.


How can I achieve confidence? 

Be your own No.1 fan! 

From being tangled in the grasp of anorexia, I’ve lost touch with my own self-identity. Although letting go of the eating disorder often feels like I’m letting go of a part of myself, the truth is that it was never part of me.

Anorexia was, and is, a parasite feeding off me; It doesn’t belong anywhere in my mind, on my body, or within my soul. And by holding onto negative thoughts and emotions it increases the chances of relapse in the future.

Cheering ourselves on is no small feat. I’m still finding out who I am as a person, and how to root for myself. With practice, time, and determination I know it’s only a matter of time before I get there.

Be sure to check out this post for more ways to boost confidence in general!

Don’t be ashamed to talk about it! 

If people ask about your recovery or your illness don’t be afraid to tell them. You don’t need to be embarrassed or hide from anyone.

Learn to say NO!

I’m still learning to say this word when I mean it. For years I’ve been a chronic people-pleaser. This meant that when asked to do something, even if it compromised me, I felt like I had to say yes. I didn’t want to be on the other end of their disappointment so badly that I would take on more and more until it was counterproductive.

Saying yes all the time can lead to added pressure to take on more and more tasks until we’re overflowing. Look after yourself and your own needs first.

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Image from Vie Studio

Stand up for yourself.

When people hurt you or break your trust it’s not your fault despite what you think. If someone is challenging you and your opinion; hold fast and don’t back down. You’ve as much right to your opinion, your emotions, and your trust as anyone else does. Don’t let anyone away with anything or you’ll soon begin to feel like a doormat.

I still struggle with this to a great extent. Confidence and being assertive (not aggressive) have always been very difficult for me, but I’m learning and trying to change that as best I can.

Spend time with the people who matter. 

The people who are supportive of you and matter are key. They’re the ones who’ll be there for you in your darkest hours (and if they aren’t then they aren’t your people, sorry). Spending time with them means no apologies, being honest, and nothing but support all around.

Do something you enjoy and that makes your soul breathe.

Relax, read a book, paint, watch a good show on Netflix, go to the movies, etc. Whatever makes you happy and content go for it. Life is too short not to have fun.

Check out 11 Self-Care Tips for bad days.


Are there any other ways to boost confidence in recovery?

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74 comments

  1. This post is really going to help so many people. There will be so many people who can relate. Although I havenโ€™t had experience with this type of recovery, I have had to learn and try and recover from a work injury causing Fibromyalgia. So some of these I can transfer to my situation. Thank you for sharing.

    Lauren

  2. Thankfully ive never had to go through anything like this but i really admire those who have and that come out the other side stronger.

  3. That’s so true. We can learn and know everything in the world, but without confidence and assurance in ourselves we’re nothing. The power of positive thinking is so much more than gratitude and affirmations, it’s learning to accept ourselves for who we are and f**k the rest.

  4. Treating yourself with kindness can go a long way in helping with recovery. It’s a journey, not a destination.

  5. I’m doing a course right now and one of the first things that she talked about is “If we don’t work on our confidence and courage it doesn’t matter how much we learn and know”. I struggle with self-confidence as well (especially in being vulnerable about blogging), so I try to do something every day that makes me feel more confident. Exercising for me is that activity, so I decided to turn my blog into something centered around that!

  6. Like you, my self-confidence is non-existent. It is something that I am constantly working on, so I really appreciate posts like these, that let me know I’m not alone!

  7. Thank you so much for reading. I can’t wait to read what you have to say and about your take on things. Being real and relatable is the way to go because people don’t want to hear some fabricated BS. The best thing you can do is be real and true to you.

    Congratulations on recovery! You’re living proof that it exists!

  8. Thank you so, so much for this beautiful comment. It’s so damn hard trying to learn how to be confident after spending your life denying yourself anything. But it’s a journey, and not a destination. Certainly not one I need to get to all at once.

  9. Thank you so much for stopping in and reading Krysten. It’s not just in recovery from illness that we need confidence in ourselves, but in every walk of life. If we love ourselves, how can we expect to love anyone else?

  10. I’ve never had confidence in myself: Ever. So learning it now of all times is very, very difficult. Especially because the level of support is non-exisitant outside therapy. But I’m getting there and trying to maintain momentum despite it all.

  11. No one, that’s who! I’m all about faking it til I make it/taking myself seriously. But it can be hard when you have no confidence and you have people in your life constantly belittling you.

  12. Confidence really helps our mindset. I’ve never had confidence, not now nor when I was a child, so trying to find it is very difficult. But I know once I’ve got it I’ll feel so much better about myself.

  13. Gaining confidence during recovery is not easy. I think it takes a lot of courage internally and externally. Your points are all valid.

  14. This is a great article and a reminder also. Confidence in self is one of the most important attitude for me. Because it really boost how your personality works.

  15. Being your number one fan and making sure to stand up for yourself is super important. It’ll encourage you and help you to truly believe in yourself.

  16. Thank you so much for your honesty and vulnerability! Your story will help others find strength too. It’s easy to feel bogged down by social media and the “comparison game” we often find ourselves playing. Finding a supportive network of friends who will build you up is really important!

  17. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to gain confidence in recovery. It is something important to do but easier said than done. I love how you are sharing your journey with others to help inspire them.

  18. Wow. What an informative post. I never realized all these steps and behaviors during recovery. Thank you for sharing.

  19. It must be very difficult to open up about your struggles. good for you that you have. I am so sorry that you have dealt with this and still do. We all have our issues and you have empowered yourself by sharing and letting others know it’s ok to talk about it, doens’t make you less of a person.

  20. Learning to say no in life in general, let alone delicate circumstances, is tough but essential! I completely agree with what you wrote!

  21. Despite not knowing people with eating disorders and I do not suffer it is still interesting to read about it.

  22. Itโ€™s awesome that youโ€™re working toward recovery. Thatโ€™s extremely valiant. The article is well written and you just have to keep working toward making yourself better.

  23. I love this and I agree: you should never be ashamed to talk about it. Talking about it can help so many others!

  24. Amazing trips, talking about it sometimes what people have difficulty with doing it. Thank you for sharing these tips.

  25. Hi Nyxie, this was a really interesting and helpful read! I’ve recovered from an ED and I’m planning on writing about it in the future, so I’m going to be bearing in mind what you said about not having to be “a recovery guru who has never relapsed, eats every meal, doesnโ€™t cry every day and has given up coffee and cigarettes”. Being real and relatable is so much more powerful than being “perfect”. Thank you for sharing with honesty <3

  26. Thank you for sharing. These are all really important points for many different kinds of hardships in life. I pray that you continue well on the road to recovery and that you are able to reach many others with your message of healing.

  27. Thankyou for sharing your story with us, you are so inspiring your story and tips will help so many other people who are struggling through eating disorders. Great post x

  28. Great post full of really useless and inspiring tips! Thank you so much for sharing with us.
    Alyssa
    Thesacredspaceap.com

  29. I’m still very much in the gaining confidence part of recovery. Not just that I can beat this fully and completely (not ending up in quasi-recovery) but also gaining confidence in myself. Thank you for sharing your gifts and insight into wellness. I really do enjoy your blog and the layout is so beautiful. <3

  30. This is such a great post. A lot of articles talk about the “dangers” of eating disorders, and as someone with ED-NOS – walking away from that relationship I had with my eating disorder as well as trying to figure out that next step was a year long struggle for me. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Thank you for sharing your gifts and writing about this almost unspoken subject.

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