Self-Forgiveness Is a Powerful Tool in ED Recovery

January 19, 2022 Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

As much as I would rather overlook this step in the healing process, I cannot deny that self-forgiveness is a powerful tool in eating disorder recovery. It pains me right down to my core when I remember just how much I hurt both myself and those I love most in that dark, miserable season of life when my eating disorder had all the control. I take no pleasure in those memories, but I need to forgive myself for them nonetheless.

How I Approach Self-Forgiveness in Eating Disorder Recovery

This does not mean I condone the harmful actions or reckless choices, but it does mean I free myself from the immobilizing shame over past decisions I cannot reverse or change. In my opinion, shame is not a constructive emotion—it leaves me feeling paralyzed, unable to learn from the error of my thoughts or behaviors, so I can grow and make amends.

When I am too immersed in self-criticism and flagellation, there is no room for actual healing to occur. So while I do not enjoy reflecting on the person I turned into under the influence of an eating disorder, I also make a conscious effort not to judge or berate this former version of myself. I extend her grace because, while she was deeply flawed, she was also consumed with sorrow and brokenness. I cannot justify the choices she made, but I can show her compassion and offer her assurance that she is ultimately forgiven.

I do not always feel deserving of this—my list of mistakes, failures, and regrets is massive. But I also know that I will not entirely heal until I give myself full permission to shake off those constraints from the past and focus on becoming the kind of person I want to be right here in the present. In the video below, I will elaborate more on why I believe self-forgiveness is a powerful tool in eating disorder recovery.

The Gift of Self-Forgiveness in Eating Disorder Recovery

Do you think the act of self-forgiveness is a powerful tool in eating disorder recovery? Does this practice feel natural to you—or, like me, do you often find it a challenge to extend yourself compassion and grace for harmful choices you made in the past? How does self-forgiveness manifest in your own personal healing journey? Please share in the comment section.   

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2022, January 19). Self-Forgiveness Is a Powerful Tool in ED Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

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