This is the final post in a series about the most common cognitive distortions – false beliefs – and how they relate to eating disorders.
Heaven’s reward fallacy
As Dr. John Grohol describes in an article for Psych Central, with this cognitive distortion “we expect our sacrifice and self-denial to pay off, as if someone is keeping score.” In terms of food, this might mean you feel intensely bitter if you abstain from overeating or purging but your weight and body image don’t improve immediately.
Regardless of your religious beliefs about what happens when we die, if your focus is on your future instead of the present, you will lose touch with the gifts and opportunities here right now.
You may also be looking for praise or acknowledgement from others for the hard work you’re doing. Unfortunately, the people in your life may not realize or appreciate everything it takes to recover from an eating disorder.
That’s a key reason why therapy, support groups, and 12-step fellowships can be such a strong component of successful recovery. The people you meet there have either the professional or personal experience to understand what you’re going through.
That being said, it’s still not likely that people will always say exactly what you think they should say, or that anyone will be as invested in your recovery as you are.
To overcome the heaven’s reward fallacy, you need to focus on doing the right things for your recovery, regardless of any particular result or response from someone else. Find ways to reward and acknowledge yourself just for being you and doing the best you can.