It Starts With You

The other night I was having a conversation with a very dear friend who is going through a really crappy time at the moment. We were talking about a lot of stuff, and then she said something that broke my heart into a bunch of pieces. "I just need to figure out how to go about loving myself again." It actually took me a bit off guard. Let me explain. This girl, is amazing. She is kind and funny and so intelligent. She is hard working and honest, and has this zest for life that is contagious. She is creative and artistic and honestly I am so lucky to have her in my life. If iron sharpens iron, she is the kind of soul that I want in my life. So even though her circumstances are far from ideal at the moment when those words popped up in my private message feed, my heart just sunk.

As the conversation continued we started to talk about my weight loss journey. Like me, she is looking to change her story, and get herself back to health. We talked about what I have been doing, about the results that I have seen, and how over the last 5 weeks my emotions and my spirit has hugely shifted. Then she said something that hit me so hard in the face I actually had to take a step back and take a breath. "I want to succeed in losing weight like you in order to feel confident in being me, to be successful would enforce to me that I am powerful and strong enough to get through this crap" In that moment I wanted to reach through my computer and give her the biggest hug in the world. I wanted to give her one moment of seeing herself the way that I saw her. [it also made me wonder how many people thought this about me] What got me the most was two little words... Like You. An instant comparison between our journeys. We are in such different places, and while we may share similarities we are definitely two different people with two different journeys ahead of us. We talked more, and then we realised how late it was and I signed off and got into bed. I woke up thinking about it, and I had this awful sinking feeling. I knew exactly what she was talking about. I am pretty sure I had said something similar to myself when I first attempted this whole weight loss thing many moons ago. I should mention that I didn't lose any weight that time I tried it... or the time after that... or the time after that.

You see, I realised something after that conversation. That hating our bodies is not the answer. I get it, I get not being happy with the way that you look. Get me alone in a room with a mirror, and I could tell you all the things that is wrong with my body. This bit is too wobbly, that bit doesn't fit nicely into clothes, this bit sags and that bit is just plain ugly. I have blamed my body for my unhappiness. I did that. But the actually reality of it, in the cold harsh light of day is that there is nothing physically wrong with my body, and hating my body is not going to change that or help me achieve the things that I want to. And neither is comparing my body to your body, or to the girl who has already lost 30kgs or to the one who has 50kgs to loose [Seriously, Comparison is such a killjoy.] This idea that because one person has done something that works, it will work for you, and then if you can't do it you are an inherent failure is so whack. Seriously whack. We are all different. We all have different bodies. We are all bloody beautiful. I don't want to get into the discussion about body image or the "healthy at every size" movement. [If you want to read a great opinion piece on this topic go and look here] but what I really want to talk about it love. We give it out pretty freely, we are kind to strangers, we are kind to people we love, but why the hell is it so damn hard for us to love ourselves. To accept who we are, and then if we want to make changes, make them. But out of love. Not because we loathe ourselves so much that we can no longer bare to look ourselves in the mirror.

I know, its complex, I really do understand that. But one of the biggest things that I have learnt lately, is that getting skinny is going to make me healthier, it is going to make shopping easier, and its probably going to make running around the block a whole lot easier, but it is not going to make me happy, and it is not going to make me love myself more than I already do. The thing is, when we pin all our potential happiness on getting slim, we are setting ourselves up to fail. Just like when we look to someone else's story to find the answer. The reality of it all is that if there isn't that happiness in your soul prior to the weightloss I am really not sure it will be there after. Being thin won't make me happy. It make me happier, but if that first instance of love isn't there, I'm almost certain that it won't magically appear when my ass fits into a size 12 pair of jeans.

I realised about half way through May that the reasons I hadn't reached my goals in the past could be boiled down to the fact that I felt like changing my diet, and having to exercise were punishment, punishment for letting myself get to the weight that I had, because I hated how heavy I was, and as a result, I hated that body so much.The thing is. Hate breeds hate. I don't care what anyone else says, I truly and deeply believe that. I carried shame for being overweight, and I hated the foods that did that 'to me'. So when I wasn't "successful" with loosing the weight, whatever that success looked like in my mind, I hated myself a little bit more. I told myself I was useless and that I couldn't do it so I should just accept it and be fat. And then the binge occurred, and I hated myself more because I failed even more. It was this nasty, hateful and destructive cycle, that makes me feel sad that I allowed myself to be like that.

This time around however it shifting. This time around I have a different vision of it all. I am being kind to myself, I am not setting myself up to fail, in fact I have removed the idea of failing all together. I just realise that different foods have different consequences, and that I have goals that I want to achieve. I ate a burger yesterday. It wasn't even that great. I ate it and I felt those feelings of guilt and hate creep in. Then I told them to piss right off because they weren't welcome. I woke up this morning and I have my eyes on the prize. Not your prize, not that other persons prize. My prize. But most of all I woke up and realised that it is ok to love myself just the way I am right this very minute. That I deserve that, because I am beautiful, and funny, and deserving. [I'm also humble too. Clearly] loving myself doesn't mean I don't strive for change. I do. It's just fuelled from a much healthier and kinder place than it was with all those unsuccessful attempts.

I suggested to my friend, the one up the top of this article, that she get herself a journal, and each day she writes one thing she loves about herself. I thought about this a little bit more, and I decided that I would do it too. So far I have written 3 things down. And every day, I am going to write down another. Because I deserve to love myself. And so do you.

Infographic care of Zen Pencils. You can check out the whole infographic here

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post Tillie. Comparison is so hard not to do, but it can really tear you apart. I read some good articles on knowing your strengths and values and living true to those. That helped me to stop comparing myself to others and beating myself up, although I still do sometimes - I think it's human nature unfortunantly! But I never let those feelings eat away at me.


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