I read a great blog the other day about learning to love yourself. It wasn’t one like you’d expect – full of positive affirmations about convincing yourself that you really do like yourself despite everything your brain has always told you. The most reasonable point was simply this: self-loathing takes way more energy than self-acceptance.
On top of all the self-hate I’ve inflicted on myself for most of my life, I also have an uncanny ability to fantasize about the worst possible outcome of an event or an action – to a point that I become angry, or completely disinterested in trying. Maybe it’s my evil superpower.
But through the wonderful process that is therapy, and that other magical thing that is simply known as growing up, I at least have the ability to reflect on past mistakes and realize how silly they were.
So today, when Ryan commented that it was obvious that my Wii workouts were having an effect — intended as compliment, as always — I went to a familiar place in my head. That place of self-consciousness, and worry. Thoughts that I need to lose weight to feel good and be loved – like some magical transformation will occur in my mind, and in the minds of others.
Luckily, I caught myself.
I took a second to reflect. I thought about all the other times in my life when I struggled with my weight. When I simply couldn’t stand the sight of myself and when I couldn’t understand how anyone could really love me. And then I thought about times after that, when I was heavier, and I couldn’t believe that I didn’t like myself then, before when I was so much “better.”
It sounds ridiculous. I get how absolutely ridiculous it is. It is just a long, hard process to really understand it and be able to move on.
I can blame all my messed-up emotions on a disgustingly distorted media presence, or a complicated relationship with food and dieting for most of my childhood. But while I have yet to rid myself of all those things that make me angry, I can at least realize that blaming other factors is just as consuming, and just as useless as hating myself.
So I am trying to make myself “better” physically. Because despite reasonable and convincing arguments to the contrary, I feel better when I am thinner. I like clothes better, I feel more confident, and all the exercising and food choices required for any weight loss do, indeed, make me healthier.
But on this long road of self-acceptance, I feel the need to applaud myself for stopping to pause, and to think. And for giving myself a break every once and a while.