The healing journey begins with conscious awareness. We must be aware of what we’re doing in order to change behaviours, thoughts and feelings that are not serving our goals for health and happiness. Conscious Competence is a key step in this process.
Initially, frequently our awareness will come after the fact – after the binge or after the purge or after the bad body thought.
That’s not a failure or a sign of your ability to recover, it’s simply the natural process of changing human thinking and behavioural processes. Like it or lump it – that’s how it goes.
We start out in a place of unconsciousness and we don’t really even know what isn’t working for us.
Then we come to a place of consciousness about what isn’t working – for example, our way of perceiving ourselves and our relationship with food – but we still don’t seem to be able to change anything about it just yet. This is a very uncomfortable stage of change called “conscious incompetence.”
Even the term “conscious incompetence” makes our Drill Sgt. want to cringe and deny that anything is wrong – he’s such a perfectionist! But, hang in there. If you can allow yourself to admit that you do not have a perfect grasp on yourself when it comes to self-esteem and your relationship with food, then you can actually be successful in changing those patterns and step into a wonderfully esteem-enhancing place called “conscious competence.”
And as long as you don’t let yourself buy into the story that there is something wrong with you because you’re thinking and feeling and behaving as you are you’ll find it much easier to open yourself to getting help and change will come more rapidly.
Once you get tools and support to understand why you do those harmful behaviours or feel so anxious or insecure or depressed in the first place you can begin to change the way you think and respond to life.
This is the stage of conscious competence. In this stage your conscious effort is required in order for you to use new ways of thinking and behaving instead of the old default ones, but it gets easier each time and soon becomes your natural approach to life (unconscious competence) and the old one just doesn’t fit or make sense any more.