When people think of self love they typically think it's sappy or cheesy or just not needed. But there are so many reasons why love for yourself is essential, especially during recovery.
Somewhere along the way, we have been taught to put ourselves down and focus only on others, so we end up hating ourselves and underestimate our power and abilities.
Everyone requires self love to prosper fully, but when you're going through an eating disorder, it seems that all aspects of love are lost and telling ourselves that we are never good enough puts a heavy burden on our insides, so it is even more important that we learn how to treat ourselves with respect.
Without self love during recovery, there's little chance of true healing, because healing is loving yourself and who you are, no matter what. And when you can do that, everything else will fall into place. The food, the body image, the emotions, they all start healing when self love has been achieved.
“If we really love ourselves, everything in our life works.” -Louise L. Hay
I've come to realize how much that statement is true. In my own recovery, nothing started really getting better until I came to a place of love within my self. For eight years I lived with so much hatred towards myself. I was disgusted with everything I did and couldn't stand being in my body. All I wanted to do was escape who I was and be someone else.
It wasn't easy and it took a long time and I kept getting frustrated with all of the people telling me to just love myself, just be kind, just do this or that, but I didn't actual know HOW to love myself. None of the suggestions they offered worked for me. I took bubble baths and did things I loved, like art, but deep inside, nothing was changing because I needed to start way back at the beginning. I had to go back to why I hated myself and work from there.
I hated myself because in sixth grade some boy said he didn't like me. I hated myself because my dad didn't pay attention to me. I hated myself because I was shy and couldn't make friends like everyone else. I hated myself because I was tall, had big eyes, weird thumbs, a square nose, gross veins. I hated myself because I knew who I was at the center of my being but I couldn't express that person. I had become trapped in another identity and it wasn't until I honestly tried finding that little girl, that I found self love.
When I dug down deep I found a girl who was amazing at art and could make drawings like no one else. I found a girl who was caring and loving. A girl who was so unique and beautiful I never wanted to take my eyes off of her. The girl I found was who I used to be before anorexia took over. I used to be free and I had to get back to that again.
Loving myself was difficult at first but it got easier every day. The key for me was finding something that made me special besides the Ed. Something that lit my heart up and gave me a passion. I found many things hiding under my fake layers. Art, jewelry, weigh training, hiking. I started putting more energy into those things and I was proud of myself for the first time in a long time. When I feel proud about who I am, what I could do, I love myself.
But there will be days when you can't find anything to be proud of and those are the days when you really have to dig deeper than ever before and remind yourself of the person you really are behind all of the facades. When you take off your mask, what do you find? A little girl who is so beautiful I bet. And that little girl needs the most love of all.
Every day it gets easier to look into my own eyes in the mirror and say, "I love you just the way you are." –Louise Hay
When you focus on loving who you are you start to believe in your self worth. And that is the key to becoming free.