An Anorexic Mindset Is All About Earning My Worth

February 29, 2024 Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

When I revert back to an anorexic mindset, it becomes all about earning my worth. Even if I resist the urge to act out eating disorder behaviors, I can still be susceptible to the anorexic mindset, which tells me I need to strive past my own limitations and prove that I am strong, capable, resilient, and valuable. I have a difficult time believing that my self-worth is inherent, so I force myself to achieve it—even if that means I hustle to the edge of burnout with no room to pause, breathe, and rest. An anorexic mindset is all about earning my worth, but l will be honest: This performance-based mentality creates a miserable existence at times.

The Anorexic Mindset Tells Me to Earn My Worth

Lately, I have been working almost nonstop. I am exhausted, but I will not give myself permission to slow down the intensity. I operate under the control of an anorexic mindset, which shouts at me to keep moving at all costs and to deprive myself of affirmation until I have done enough to earn a sense of accomplishment or validation. I know this pattern is both unhealthy and unsustainable, but I cannot seem to break the relentless cycle. I perceive rest as a luxury that I have no business asking for. I view stillness as an indication that I have left something undone on my task list. I am constantly looking for ways to strive harder or push farther because anything less feels unacceptable—the anorexic mindset is all about earning my worth.  

The irony is that I would never impose this anorexic mindset on anyone else. If I saw a loved one (or even just an acquaintance) conflating self-worth and performance metrics, I would want them to know that human value is intrinsic. I would want to offer reassurance that no action or lack thereof can diminish an ounce of their worth. I would want to encourage them to honor the need for stillness and rest. I would extol the virtues of balance over restriction or deprivation. I would tell them how much they matter—not because they have earned it, but rather because it's the truth. Evidently, I use a different measuring stick when it comes to my self-worth.

Earning My Worth Because of the Anorexic Mindset Feels Exhausting and Defeating

So, where do I take it from here? Do I continue allowing this mentality to influence how I view and treat myself? Do I surrender to an anorexic mindset that's all about earning my worth—no matter the physical, mental, and emotional burnout it so often causes? As I write this paragraph, I actually feel sick due to the rigorous, frenetic pace I have been forcing myself to sustain. That is not a life of vitality and freedom. It results in pure exhaustion and sheer defeat. I have come too far in eating disorder recovery to let this anorexic mindset pressure me to reach the breaking point. I still wrestle with the belief that I need to earn my self-worth in a tangible and measurable way, but I can choose to speak the truth over myself as I would for someone else. I am worthy; enough said. I no longer need to accept my anorexic mindset as the status quo.

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2024, February 29). An Anorexic Mindset Is All About Earning My Worth, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 15 from

Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

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