Q&A: How Do I Learn to Love Myself?

A precious friend and reader asked me, “How do I learn to love myself, even when I’m not happy with the number on the scale?”

In a world that says we shouldn’t be happy or feel good about ourselves unless we look a certain way, this question resonates, doesn’t it? For years, I thought that my weight determined my worth. In fact, I wasted a ton of time waiting on the perfect weight to live the life I wanted to live.

Here’s what I’ve learned: That’s a giant pile of shame-filled, social-media-generated CRAP.

Despite fluctuations on the scale in recent years, I finally grasped the fact that I am worthy of love and respect, both from myself and others. I can say with ABSOLUTE confidence that it’s possible to love the skin you’re in RIGHT now, regardless of the number on the scale.

Five Things that Helped Me Develop Genuine Love for Myself:

1. I accepted the fact that losing weight wouldn’t fix all my problems.

Let’s be honest. Losing weight does make certain things easier, but it’s not a cure-all. It might solve the problem of fitting into your favorite jeans, but it won’t magically mend your marriage, pay off your debts or land your dream job.

2. I became willing to see myself differently.

It’s critical that we commit to loving and respecting the body we have NOW. (That doesn’t mean we’ll never gain/lose weight, that we’ll always be perfect or that this whole process is gonna be sunshine and rainbows. It just means that as of today, I’m open to the idea of loving myself just as I am.)be open to interviews, and ask if you can share them on your blog as well

3. I shut out the voices that said, “You’re not enough.”

I unfollowed a whole bunch of people on social media that made me feel like junk every time I saw their posts. Some of them were weight-loss superstars who promoted obsessive dieting. Others were acquaintances who flooded my newsfeed with negativity or personal drama. I basically hit the “unfollow” button on groups, people, or pages that gave me an unsettled or “icky” feeling inside. My only regret? Not doing it sooner.

4. I started using affirmations to confront my negative thoughts.

I started writing in my journal things like:

  • I deserve a healthy body.
  • I love myself.
  • Recovery is possible.
  • I am more than a number on a scale.

The practice is simple: Every day, you write or say aloud new, supportive thoughts about yourself. You can refer back to these new thoughts when the old negative ones show up. Although it’s not a magic eraser for negative self-talk, it certainly helps.

For more examples, check out Alex Elle.

5. I stopped being at war with my own body.

I watched the documentary, Embrace, and it shook me to my core. In the film, former competitive weightlifter Taryn Brumfitt travels the globe urging people to stop body shaming and start promoting positive body image.

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s absolutely incredible.

In the closing moments, Taryn pens a letter to her daughter that gives me goosebumps every time I read it.

“In your lifetime, there will be people who will try to tell you that you need to change, but you don’t. The purpose of your life is not to be an ornament to be looked at, but rather to do and feel and accomplish and contribute. Darling girl, don’t make my mistakes. Don’t waste a single day of your life being at war with your body. Just embrace it.”

-Taryn Brumfitt, Embrace

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