Star Wars, one of the most epic stories of all time, debuted 40 years ago today. A classic example of the hero’s journey, Star Wars has become a staple in our cinematic culture, but the lessons have always gone beyond the screen. Even if you have never seen the film, everyone knows about “the Force” and “the dark side.” Most of us have had to find the Force within us to fight off our own version of the dark side. For some, eating disorders are the dark side. We might not use light sabers or fight with drones by our side, but Star Wars does teach us how we can fight our battles and continue on journeys even when we feel as though we have had enough. To help you channel your inner Jedi and find your force in recovery, here are some reminders from our favorite Star Wars gurus.
1. “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.” —Yoda
Size, skin color, gender, age…our outside appearance is no indication of the power we hold. We are more than our eating disorders and our battles. In the films, Yoda might be the smallest, but his passion and power are larger than life. Yoda speaks the truth about mind over matter, and reminds us that it is our intelligence and persistence that will carry us through any journey. Don’t forget, he also lived for about 900 years, so he knows what he’s talking about.
2. “It’s a chance for you to make a fresh start.” —Mon Mothma
Every day is a new battle to be conquered and an opportunity to begin anew. Part of the battle is forgiving yourself, and a new day is a chance to learn from your past so that you can continue to fight. Focusing on the past inhibits you from looking forward to see what you can conquer.
3. “In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.” —Yoda
Battling an eating disorder can be a trying process. Recovery and progress are not easy and require an immense amount of hard work and dedication. During the battle, there will be ups and downs, victories and missteps. More often than not, it’s in those darkest moments where we are prepared to give into the dark side, that we discover more strength to continue the fight.
4. “Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is essential to a Jedi’s life. So you might say that we are encouraged to love.” —Anakin
Love is the most powerful force in any battle. Love gives us hope, strength, comfort, and determination. Whether you are battling an eating disorder or some other dark force, it’s easy to let love slip in many respects, but it is the ultimate healer. Find the love for yourself and for those who fighting with you (your own Yoda and Obi-Wan).
5. “The Force will always be with you.” —Obi-Wan
There is more Force in us than we know. In each film, we see our favorite heroes, from Luke Skywalker to Han Solo, fall and get back up again. We have the Force and the power to continue on the journey. We choose to fight these battles because we don’t want to lose, and that is why the Force is always with you.
Like each film in the series, our journeys are never smooth. To get through the toughest times, we have to channel our inner Force to battle the dark side. With patience, persistence, and a strong support system, those battles can be conquered. Light can wash over the dark side. Set forth, young padawan, and just keep going.
Grace Bradley is a senior at Connecticut College majoring in dance and sociology. Working with the Active Minds chapter at Conn College and NEDA, she is an advocate of mental health and eating disorder awareness after personally dealing with both. Grace is dedicated to raising awareness about both of these issues, specifically within the dance community.