There is nothing that you need to fix or change about yourself to become worthy or loveable.
I remember the pain of looking in the mirror and hating my reflection as if it was yesterday. My body was not perfect, not flawless, and not like it “should” be.
I had an unhealthy relationship with my body which started when I was a preteen and lasted well into my thirties. I spent years feeling disgusted by my weight, stretch marks, and other supposed flaws. I knew I could never measure up to society's ideals of perfection. Constantly striving to be perfect certainly made me more vulnerable to having an eating disorder. And since I was also dealing silently with the agony from being molested and raped so many times, I felt sick and ashamed of my own femineity.
Whether it was a conscious or unconscious choice, I believe I used my weight as a means of protection - a way to stop being desirable or attractive to others. I could not see myself clearly nor embrace myself for who I was. All I could see was a body that had let me down, scarred, wrinkled, bloated and overweight. I never understood that my needs mattered or that I was worthy of being loved and respected. From that vantage point, I would always be flawed and unhappy.
I disowned aspects of myself that made me unworthy and unlovable. Instead, my efforts were focused on fixing or altering things I could control to mimic what we feel will garner acceptance from others. I spent so much time and energy obsessing about the way my body looked, what I was going to eat, and being ashamed of myself to the point of staying home instead of going out with friends or to social events.
It took me several years of learning to love every part of myself that I had deemed ugly and unworthy of my affection and compassion to understand that true beauty from what is carried in my own heart – worthiness from the inside out. I had to learn to honour my needs and care for the places that never received the love they deserved – from my breasts to hips to my eyes and my skin. I had to slowly rebuild trust with my body that I had discarded because of my internalized pain and unintegrated trauma.
I also had to be a voice of compassion towards myself. Showing up for myself in the messiness of pain, and confusion by expressing more compassion to myself because of what I had endured, helped me to let go of the bad things that happened and brought about a deeper sense of peace and joy.
There is a lot of talk about accepting your body and loving yourself but what does that really mean?
To me it means....
- being able to look at yourself in the mirror and feeling a deep sense of unconditional love, compassion, and respect for the person looking back at you - affirm that you are worthy of being loved unconditionally
- not engaging with self-limiting and negative beliefs; change your thought patterns - what is the kindest and most loving thing you could say to yourself in this moment?
- getting curious about your cravings. When we are sad, unfulfilled, anxious, etc., we will often seek comfort in food - what are you really hungry for? Praise? Compassion? Rest?
We can accept and love ourselves regardless of how we look, how much we weigh, what we do for a living, or what happened in the past. Besides, you tend to shine brightest when you give yourself fully permission to embody all that you are…. beautifully flawed, imperfect, authentic – there is true ecstasy when you are free to be who you truly are.