There is a saying that states, “That which you resist persists.” In fact, it was Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist, who said this long ago.
I think he was right.
For decades, before I went into treatment, I resisted my eating disorder. I hated it. And then, once I’d entered treatment, the focus was still on resisting it, trying to make it go away.
The result? I struggled through treatment and the next couple of years in recovery.
That is, until I stopped fighting, stopped resisting, and started walking towards the very thing I couldn’t stand. I started to move towards the eating disorder, not away from it.
What I found is, that thing I couldn’t stand, it was actually a part of me.
In Huna, an ancient Hawaain life philosophy, they teach that everyone has three selves. They are called the ku, the lono, and the aumakua.
As I embarked on learning Huna, of particular interest to me was the Ku, which can also be likened to your subconscious mind.
There are three characteristics of the ku that I find particularly fascinating.
- The ku’s main function is memory. Every single piece of information you have ever received, and will receive, is stored in the ku, whether you are aware of it or not. Given that our brains receive 11 million bits of information per second, and we only are conscious of 50 bits per second, that’s a hell of a lot of information being stored in your memory without your conscious awareness.
- The ku reasons like a computer and is never illogical.This means that it does everything according to strict logic, even though you might not be conscious of the specific reasoning it uses. And, it does everything for a very good reason.
- The ku craves love, guidance, direction and support, seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. And, when it doesn’t get what it wants, it will make decisions and draw conclusions from what is stored in memory. It will do this in order to get the love and guidance it needs to move away from pain.
Now, consider these things in the context of your eating disorder.
Can you imagine an urge to engage in eating-disordered behavior? I’m sure you know all too well how strong that urge is.
What is your typical response to the urge? More than likely, you resist it and try to fight it. And, the moment you do, the urge begins to feel like a Goliath that is impossible to take down.
Well, let’s flip that idea on its head! What if that urge was really just your ku, a part of you, asking for some love and guidance? It’s not an enemy, it’s a guide. Could you listen to it?
Well, that’s what Huna asks you to do, listen to the messages you receive from yourself. Why? Because they’re not evil. You are not evil. That urge, the one that you think you should be resisting, is actually an inner voice asking for something very specific.
Your job now is to get to know the language of that inner voice and give it what it needs.
And, when you do, when you become fluent in this language, and you’re able to provide yourself with what you need, the seemingly uncontrollable urges will gently fall away.
Your eating disorder is not the enemy. It’s time to make friends with ED. Befriend your ED!
If you’re interested in learning more about Huna and how its philosophies and practices can help with eating disorder recovery, and how you can start to befriend your ED instead of resisting it, please subscribe to my blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you would like to get to know a bit more about me, I have written an e-book in which I discuss some of the questions I asked through my own eating disorder recovery and the answers I found. It is available here as a free download.