Loving myself. This was a surprise side effect from starting this blog 3 years ago. It has grown quite a bit since, but then, so have I. It all started out from the need to start sharing my experiences… to share my story. To feel less alone. To find a way to express myself creatively but also to feel like I had a voice again. Years of struggling with PTSD and chronic pain made me feel like I had shuttered myself so completely within my own mind that I didn’t know if I could ever find an exit.
Finding my voice
And so it started. A small voice out on the sea of the internet, just needing to speak even if I wasn’t heard. But, much to my surprise, people listened, and I realized that I myself started actually listening to what was in my heart.
So I branched out, tried different things, experimented with photography, and food staging, and SFX makeup tutorials. Were they perfect? No. But they were fun, and my voice continued to grow stronger than my fear.
Even when things got a little out of wack (OK, a LOT out of wack) in the last year, I realized that I was starting to see myself as separate from the things I did, the things that happened to and around me. My voice, my confidence in who I am as a person was developing and I found that in roughest moments, it was still there. Even in the darkest times, I know that there are people around me that love me, support me, and encourage me, even if I cannot see them in a moment without the light.
Body positivity is starting to become a huge movement, and it is so interesting how this concept really is unique to every person. I will admit, I used to hate my body. It is a strong word, but it really did encapsulate everything about the emotions I had when looking at myself. Awful, right?
It wasn’t until the past few years that I really started to see myself differently. I’m at my heaviest weight I have ever seen, and yet, I am so proud of myself for everything else I have accomplished in the past few years that I feel that hating on myself for one area is just ridiculous. I used to feel like I had to lose weight a before my life could start. Only then could I get married, have kids, be successful in my career. Do the things I dreamed about. I know it wasn’t a healthy thought process, but I also don’t think it is that uncommon of an idea.. at least in the terms of feeling that there is some goal we have to accomplish before doing everything we want to do.
Learning through leadership
It was making connections with amazing people around me that helped me to start challenging this idea that I had to do things in a certain order. I see all of these incredible women around me. Writers, marketers, designers, CEOs, Directors, entrepreneurs, bloggers. Vibrant, successful women, following their passions. Do they have insecurities? Probably. But that isn’t what I see when I see them. I see people whose accomplishments I aspire towards. Whose behaviors and actions become guidance for who I want to be as a person. They are not perfect, and they are the most beautiful, inspiring, fabulous women in all of their flawed individuality. Through them, I started to see myself not by my weight, but by my actions. My goals. My accomplishments.
I came across this quote on Pintrest the other day, and I realized that of the four ways to love yourself, it is now the second two loves that I can do without thinking. I really do have better love for myself, in any form, weight, and regardless of any failures or successes. I had thought I had to lose weight before I could speak and act like I loved myself. I’ve started to see weight of a symptom rather than a shortcoming. To lose weight, I don’t need to change me, or judge myself. I need to find out what in my environment makes me unhappy, and make changes to get where I mentally need to be. The rest will follow.
Self love is an everlasting journey
Love yourself! Speak up about your fears, your ideas, your dreams. Surround yourself with people who will help build you up! Don’t regret those you need to remove or minimize in your life that bring you down. Work on letting things go that anchor you to the past, and hold onto those lessons that make you stronger for the future. I’m still learning, and likely always will be. But I’m finally taking confident steps forward.