Thursday, February 24, 2011

Showing myself some love

I've been focusing a lot on eating disorders this week. Having experienced one first hand I feel like it is important for me to try to help others. So when I heard about NEDAwareness week I had to jump in.

But, there is something else exciting going on right now. The month of February is self-love month and in case you are a little behind (like me) the month ends next week. There are hundreds of resources out there with ideas on how to show yourself some love. With such a wealth of ideas I have decided to spend the next few days focusing on what is working for me personally. This blog is all about getting personal anyway.

As my regular readers already know, I struggle with my self-esteem and body image. It has been an ongoing battle for me for 27 years. So when I decided to put an end to it I did what I always do when I'm trying to learn how to do something new; I started reading. A lot. Everything I could get my hands on. I'm still reading. Yesterday I checked out 3 more books from the library. 

The idea that has been present in nearly every source I've used has been to be kind to yourself. So I have been trying to implement this in my life. I started with stopping the bad talk about myself in my head. This has been very difficult. It takes conscious effort. I have had to distance myself from images, radio, and sometimes people that make me feel bad about myself. Anytime I feel despair about my size or appearance I try to replace the thought with how great I am. When that doesn't work I will start doing something (like reading) that I truly enjoy to take my mind to a happier place until I'm ready to stop the negativity. 

Next I moved on to judgements about how I eat. I almost always have feelings of guilt when I eat. When I eat a super healthy meal I usually feel proud. I decided that both of these feelings are unhealthy. The proud feelings were reinforcing the guilt and so on. This battle is on going, but essentially I repeatedly tell myself that it's okay to eat whatever I want. No guilt. Then I observe how I feel. I observe without judgement. I have noticed that after I eat bread or sugar I get light headed. I'd never put the two together before. With these observations I generally make the choice to eat healthier, but if I feel like a slice of pie or a piece of candy I can have one without feeling like a failure. It's working, but it's not automatic yet.

I have been doing more yoga and focusing on how amazing my body truly is. I am strong. I love how strong my body is. I don't give my body enough credit for how amazing it is. I've been trying to consciously focus on those things that are great about me.

Lastly I have stopped being so hard on myself. If all I get done in a day is to keep my son and myself fed and safe that is enough for that day. If I get more done that's great too. I have stopped feeling like I have to do everything all the time. So what if my husband comes home from work somedays and I still don't have a bra on? Some days are just like that. No judgement. I'm trying to live my life by this quote:

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
~Lao Tzu

Amen to that. Everything important will get done. There is no reason to stress about it. My family and I are much better served when I am calm and working on things in a more orderly fashion.

So the big question: Is it working? Well, a couple of days ago my husband told me I was, "looking really good." He has noticed that something has changed. But I know for a fact that my weight and measurements have not moved. So what is different? I'm starting to like myself and to have more confidence than ever before. Things are beginning to change and it's noticeable. To me and to others. 


Jenarcissist @ the closet narcissist said...

I think all the steps you've been taking are perfect. Hooray for cutting yourself some slack in the perfection department!! :)

And you are living proof that confidence can be the best makeover. :)

the narcissists' diary / the closet narcissist

Jenarcissist @ the closet narcissist said...

P.S. Your hubby probably prefers you sans bra anyway. ;)

Anna Guest-Jelley said...

Great post, Melanee! I love how you emphasize observing without judging. That has been so critical for me, too. Thanks for sharing this!

Katie @ Health for the Whole Self said...

Great post!!! I agree with the comment earlier: confidence really is the best makeover!