A dear friend shares her journey and her heart.
To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die.
If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now. – Alan Cohen
Often times, when we discuss love, it is in relation to our connections with others. We give love anthropomorphic tendencies, describing its ability to create harmony, whether through our own personal connections or a universal exchange (that links all persons in a global community). Discussions regarding self-love are relegated to conversations relating its pertinence in the face of limited self-worth. The implicit necessity of loving one’s self is paramount in establishing worthwhile connections with others.
Since this blog is about health & fitness, I will tailor this entry, relating self-love to my weight loss journey.
Last summer I began a journey towards health & fitness, though my immediate goal revolved around losing a tremendous amount of excess weight, my exigent goal was to learn to love myself. My excess weight was a reflection of my inner turmoil, my struggle to find acceptance (a struggle I presumed to be externally founded…. thereby, extrinsically resolved). I assumed that loving myself would be a natural effect of changing the way I looked physically. By changing my appearance, I would become more acceptable to others, allowing me to become more acceptable to myself. This change would provide an avenue for me to establish connections with others (at that point I was socially isolated, spending tremendous amounts of time alone with limited social interactions) and increase my self-efficacy (believing I could accomplish the many goals I had set for myself). To a degree these presumptions were accurate. I have changed the way I look, I am more appealing to others and have a greater sense of comfort in my physique, but that has not translated itself into increased self-worth.
There is still a sense of lacking and deficiency. As I strive towards attaining what I believe to be the “perfect body” (for myself), I constantly have to face the impact of my limited self-worth. I am faced with the unhealthy habits I’ve developed, as I strive to love myself . . .. having formerly “loved” myself with food. I developed a reliance on food to cope. In the absence of self-acceptance and social relationships, food became an ally. In losing weight, the foods I formerly relied on for comfort have become an enemy. They no longer provide me with the same semblance of peace or “happiness”. I have come to realize that my perception of myself is highly correlated to all of my struggles, I have to resolve my intrinsic feelings of worth, so that I may find the acceptance I long for. The lack of connectedness I feel with others is greatly attributed to the lack of connection I feel with myself. Changing my physiognomy has not changed the pertinence of answering these issues.
I have to learn to love myself, to be comfortable in my own skin, to appreciate who I am. I have to become whole. I have to learn to live, because I’m tired of feeling dead to myself . . .. not knowing or appreciating the characteristics that make me a worthwhile individual. It’s exciting, this concept of self-discovery. But this undertaking is by no means easy. This process has been laden with valleys and peaks. It requires changing my mind, literally. Reframing thoughts, addressing hurts, and examining fears. Exchanging unhealthy behaviors that were once associated with loving myself for behaviors that truly reflect love for myself. In doing so, I am hoping to experience the tranquility that comes with loving one’s self. Partaking in the ubiquity of love, as it connects me to those I care for.
I am grateful for those who are willing to love me along the way, as I learn to love myself.
What has your journey shown you that you did not expect?