My main resistance to beginning a self love journey was the fear that somehow I would be letting myself go, and I would lose my self-discipline. And it a way, I was right. Prior to this habit of acceptance, I almost never let myself go and had the self-discipline of a marine soldier.
Welcome to Day 18 of #31DaysofSelfCompassion
The theme today is “you don’t have to choose”
Self-discipline and determination. These were habits that I cultivated from hating my body, which means that I was willing to do adopt harmful practices to lose weight. I looked fit on the outside, but I was constantly nursing injuries for pushing too hard in the gym, often getting sick because I wasn’t feeding myself well, and my bulimia was ruining my vocal cords, damaging the lining of my oesophagus, with irregular heart beats.
Yes I was disciplined and put myself under ruthless scrutiny, but I was doing so much harm to my body. All because I thought love and worth had to be earned via a specific number on the scale and a dress size.
When you make that decision that self-Love is the place from which you live your life and not the thing that must be earned, it changes your relationship with your body. I thought, “if I actually start being nice to myself, I’m going to gain weight and hate myself even more”. That’s half true. I did gain weight, which naturally happens when you overcome an eating disorder; but I also embarked on a journey to push my body in a way I never have before, all while sustaining healthy(ish) habits of food and exercise. Self-love changes you.
Your workout habits will change because you will do more things that feel good, not those that torture you. You will listen to your body so you can prevent injuries, and stop to heal if they occur. You will eat healthy foods to nurture your body, not take pills or laxatives because weight loss at your health ‘ expense is not an option. What’s more, I learned to stop torturing my body to become something I think will be worthy of love. I learned to marvel and the magnificence that my body already is, as it is. Weight will come. Or maybe it won’t. But my personal challenge is to love and nurture my body wherever it is, exactly as it is
So yes it’s true, loving yourself will result in letting yourself go. Letting go of harmful beliefs and habits, to reacquaint yourself with a relationship in which abuse is not the status quo.
Are you ready to let go?
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.