It comes with time and practice.
During my recovery, a little over a year ago, I didn't have an ounce of confidence. I thought I was worthless and a burden to those around me. I looked at others as if they were always better than me, skinnier than me, funnier, etc. I never won when I compared myself.
Today, my confidence is 100 times better. I don't compare myself to others as I know in my heart that 'this is me and this is who I am'. I don't have to be or look like someone else to be worthy.
To be honest, I'm not even sure how I got to this point. It just happened because I believed in myself and I had hope that one day things would get better.
I never gave up on myself and my dreams.
I do know that strength training helped tremendously though. I want to say it was what saved me from a dim future. I picked it up naturally because I loved feeling strong. I was sick of people seeing me as weak and fragile. I was tired of counting calories and trying to force myself to eat.
Strength training gave me confidence and provided me with love for my self. I ate because I wanted to fuel my body, not because I 'had' to. I exercised because I loved it, not because I wanted to burn calories.
I no longer saw my body as just something that I had to deal with, but rather it was who I was. My body took me to the places I wanted to go, it fueled my workouts, my laughter, my happiness. And for once, I wanted to be nice back. I wanted to do what was best for my body because it deserved better treatment.
For me it was strength training, for others it's something else entirely. Anything that helps you pull yourself out of that dark place you've been living in, is worth the fight.
A lot of people ask me what worked for me and what I ate during recovery and I can't answer them really because nothing works the same for everyone.
You just sort of find your way.
You learn and you change in the way that is best for you.
I tried drawing because someone else said it helped them. I tried yoga, writing, playing with my dogs, making friends, etc. but nothing worked the way it did for others because I wasn't them.
I am me and what worked for me worked because it was suited towards my own likes and dislikes. Strength training is not for everyone but because it helped me I do believe it could help others as well.
As with the food part of recovery, I think it has almost no part at all. It's just a cover-up for what's really going on deeper under the surface.
Under my food fears, years and years of stored issues were resting. I pushed them down and covered them up using food as my control method.
Food really had no control over me, but rather my deep-rooted lack of self-confidence and self-love did.
Insecurities I didn't want to deal with were cured (in my mind) by not eating peanut butter or bread. And by not eating these "bad" foods I would be thin and being thin meant being accepted, which came back to my insecurity of not being liked.
It's a circle that continues until the underlying issues are solved.
Once I was able to accept myself for who I was and build up my inner confidence, food wasn't so much of an issue anymore. Sure, ED still liked to trick me into thinking that carbs were bad and that if I ate ice cream I would blow up like a balloon, but because I believed that I was worthy and beautiful, ED didn't have the grip over me he once had.
I guess what I'm trying to get at is that there is no magic cure or strategy that allows you to "be healed" but rather it's just something you figure out.
You deal with the things you fear and are hiding underneath your layers and then things begin to look up.
Recovering from an eating disorder is HARD work. It's not easy. It's not for the weak and that is why the ones who are suffering are STRONG.
You were given this challenge because you are strong enough to get through it.
Now you just have to believe that for yourself.