Finally Loving Myself
I'm just finishing up Yoga with Adriene's most recent at-home yoga practice, Yoga for Self Discipline and I'm feeling motivated, inspired, and overall creative. So I'm going to see if I can use that energy to talk about a topic that you've probably heard a lot about recently: self love. However, this is not a "How to Love Yourself" post. This is a post about the current journey I'm on to loving myself.
Let's start from the very beginning.
When I was in third grade, I started noticing that I looked different than my peers. I was much bigger than my best friend and it's then that I started to hate my body. I hated that I couldn't shop in the "normal" kids' clothing stores or sections. I couldn't wear the cute outfits that I saw other girls wearing because my belly or my thighs were too big.
It continued on through middle school and high school where I had to shop in the women's section, where my mom shopped. I hid my body under big shirts, big pants, sweatshirts. I thought, if I hid it away, no one would see it and I wouldn't have to face it. Of course, I tried to lose weight and look "like the other girls," but I never did.
At night, I would grab my belly, my thighs, my arms and wish them away. I wished that I could rip off the fat, erase the stretch marks, remove the hanging skin and just be beautiful.
After living my life like this for 22 years, I finally decided to change. I just knew that after I lost weight, I would love myself and be happy. I worked my tail off to lose the weight. Read more about how I lost 100 pounds here.
Little did I know that after losing 100 pounds, I did not find the love in myself that I thought would be there. What I actually found was a whole new slew of self-hatred, negative self-talk, and restriction. While I loved the way I felt, 100 pounds lighter is a big deal, I still stood in dressing rooms and despised what I saw in the mirror. Stretch marks still painting my skin, even looser skin, and more weight to lose. Always more weight to lose. I restricted my eating, loved the feeling of being "empty," and was a literal slave to the scale, weighing myself at least three times a day.
Whole30 came and went and taught me amazing things about my body. What made me feel good, what made me feel bad, and most importantly, it taught me that the weight portrayed on the plastic scale sitting in my bathroom did not define me.
However, it was not until January 1, 2018 that I committed to loving my damn self. I'm not sure what changed in me, why now? Why not before? But, after 26 years, I can say without a doubt in my mind that I LOVE myself. I love my thick thighs, big arms, belly, freckly, red face, curly hair. But more than my body, I love my spirit, my compassion, my humor, my lighthearted-ness. My tendency to cry when I feel big emotions. My argumentative-ness, my passion. I LOVE MYSELF BECAUSE THIS IS MY ONE AND ONLY SELF (that I know of.) I don't get to redo my life and I'm done with the hating the one that I have.
So, this journey to loving my whole self is new but I can tell you that it's working. When feelings of self-hate come up, I quickly shut them down and tell myself how amazing I am. I tell myself that I am ENOUGH in this exact moment. That there is no need to restrict, no need to change. I hold tightly to who I am and I allow myself to love myself.
I'm choosing to do things in life that make me happy, bring me joy, bring me solace. Bring light into my life.
If you're struggling with loving yourself, I get it. If you want to change your body, I get it. If you want to be a better version of yourself, I get it. Just always remember to love yourself along the way. Take care of yourself. Practice positive self-talk. Tell yourself how damn proud of yourself you are just for getting out of bed everyday. Thank yourself for being strong, courageous, outspoken, loving, caring, compassionate. Thank your legs for carrying you and your arms for allowing you to carry things. Thank your eyes for showing you the world. Thank your mouth for speaking truth.
This is the current journey that I'm on. If you're wishing to love yourself, I would love for you to join me. There is already too much hate in this world to add the hatred of ourselves to it. Love yourself, for you and for us.
With so much love for you and ME,