Wow. This is a big topic.
Such a huge topic in fact, that I don’t really know where to begin…
Maybe the best place to start, like any story, is at the beginning…
My own relationship with how I view myself and self love has been a rocky one. It has been a long journey full of ups and downs, but I feel as though I am at a good place right now and that is maybe why I feel the need to share this. I know so many of us go through the same thing. This road can seem endless, it can be scary when you are in the midsts of it and cannot find a way out. But I am here to tell you all that there is hope – you can find the light and the many many reasons to love yourself. It is possible.
Back to my story..
I don’t know why as a child I developed such a negative body image – I was always active and outside and fit and healthy – yet still I began to hate my body more and more as the years went by.
I am a competitive person by nature, so comparison is detrimental to me. The moment I start to compare myself to others I am no longer contented with who I am and I feel the need to change everything. This is one of the reasons so many people in our society hate who they are: because they are constantly comparing themselves to others and not thinking that they are good enough.
Let me tell you the truth though: you ARE ENOUGH.
When I did my yoga teacher training we all had to delve deep into ourselves and decide what our ‘lie’ was. This is anything that we tell ourselves on a regular basis that isn’t actually true. It might be our biggest fear in life, or the one thing we let influence all our decisions. After some soul searching I realised that my lie was that I am not good enough. I realised that most of my life had been spent trying to fit in and feel accepted, that is why I wasted so much energy trying to look ‘nice’ because I thought that was going to make people like me (oh how wrong I was).. Anyways, I thought that it was just me on this yoga teacher training that would have the lie of I am not good enough, but in fact more or less everyone there had the same lie! Other people told themselves that they were not lovable or that no-one cared, but essentially I realised that we were all telling ourselves the same thing..
Isn’t it strange that in a culture full of success, and wealth, and money,, that non of us believe that we are good enough. We are born good enough, we are born ENOUGH, and yet we don’t believe it. Why is that? Why do we feel the need to change who we are in order to be something?
I don’t know. I want to blame our society and social media (Instagram in particular) and yet I know that blaming never helps. Blaming our culture is not going to solve this problem, I guess all we can do is try to understand it, and by doing that I must dig deeper into my own experiences, share what I know with the hope that you resonate with what I am saying and maybe can take something away from it..
Back to body image.
I had a very negative body image at school as a teenager. I was very unhappy. I didn’t feel at home in my own skin. But somehow I turned all this around.. I discovered self love.
Self love changed my life. Honestly I couldn’t be more grateful to it because it has all the power to take us further in life then we know and believe to be possible. With self love we can achieve anything and most of all we can feel truly happy being completely ourselves.
I had picked up Mel Well’s book The Goddess Revolution, in fact I think I actually read it on my kindle now I come to think about it, but either way I found her book somehow.. She talked a LOT about self love; I had never heard this concept before. It sounded foreign to me and I liked the idea, but I seriously thought that I could never get to that state in my own life; I thought it was impossible..
Even though this book didn’t immediately convince me to love myself, it did plant the seed. A month later I became obsessed with yoga and started going to the studio everyday, I believe that this was the nourishment that the seed needed in order to grow.
Yoga showed me something that I had never seen before: it showed me how powerful and strong my body was. Practicing yoga helped me to see my body in a different light; it gave my body a purpose.. wait it did more than that, it gave me purpose!
I was talking to a friend about this the other day and we both agreed that exercise is actually super important when you are overcoming an eating disorder, or body dysmorphia. Exercise releases endorphins so obviously you feel great, yet it does more than that- I really believe that it gives you a reason to eat.
This might sound crazy but when you are in that state of hating your body and your appearance and yourself, you are not going to be eating fuelling, nourishing foods to make you feel your best. So you will feel worse… and blame this on how you look… and feel more unsatisfied with what you see in the mirror… and so eat rubbish food.. and the cycle continues. It is a vicious spiral to be in, and one of the ways to break out of it is with exercise.
Now this is not exercising to lose weight. Or exercising out of fear that you are not good enough and all you want to do is change who you are. This is the movement of pure joy – moving your body because it feels amazing and make you feel amazing and most of all feel alive. When you can find some form of exercise that makes you feel this way then you are a lucky person. You can move and find joy. You will realise that you need food in order to be able to move, so you will start to eat healthy again. You will look at your body and feel grateful for everything that it can do.. grateful that it can run; or swim; or do handstands; or dance. It is your body doing all of these things, no one else’s body, but yours.
The seed was planted and with yoga it blossomed for me.
One day I had a dream where I was caring for this tiny, anorexic girl, and I loved her with all my heart. I said no to my boyfriend because I wanted to care for this girl. I lifted her and carried her wherever she needed to go. I can’t remember what we did, but I can still remember the intense love I felt in my heart, in fact I can feel it right now as I am writing this…
I woke up touched by the dream. Later I realised that the anorexic girl was me, and this was the first time that I had felt love for myself. After that day I started to recover.
It has been a long journey finding and developing a positive body image and self love. But it is all worth it. It is worth it to feel happy. It is worth it to feel vibrant and beautiful and loving and my best.
If you have a negative body image and want to change that, here is what you can do:
- Tell yourself: I love you.
- Read Mel Well’s book The Goddess Revolution.
- Change your thoughts – remove the negative ones and replace with only positive ones about yourself.
- Move your body.
- Eat to empower.
- Believe that you are good enough RIGHT NOW.
- Write down your thoughts and ask if they are true?
- Look in the mirror and smile.
- Read Women Food and God by Geneen Roth.
- Write down 10 things that you love about yourself.
- Do this every night.
- Give up comparing yourself to others.
- Read You are A Badass by Jen Sincero
- Focus on the good in everyone.
- Listen to my podcast episode on Self love
- Be grateful.
- Be happy.
To all of you out there who do not love yourself, I want you to know that you are perfect. However you look. Whatever you do. You are perfect in this moment right now. You do not need to change. Remember that. Remember how awesome you are. Remember that you are on this planet and alive, surely that is something to marvel at. It doesn’t matter what weight you are, you are here, that is all that is important.
You are a goddess right now as you are.
Much much love
If you would like to support me you can sign up for a free (!) trial of Audible (below), or click any of the other links.. again much love x
- body image
- body insecurities
- conscious eating
- eating disorder
- eating disorders
- healthy eating
- highest self
- self care
- self development
- self growth
- self help
- self love
- self worth
- spiritual growth
- spiritual journey