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to love yourself

May 25, 2011

It would be easy to argue that our society has no problem with loving themselves.  All around us you can see people who clearly think very highly of themselves, at least on the surface.

Usually these are beautiful, glittering folks, wealthy and powerful, talented, all as held up to the standards we as a society maintain for what is desirable.

But, each of us has flaws, even the most beautiful woman in the world, even the most confident man.  Each of us look at ourselves and despise something about ourselves.

For many of us, we despise everything about ourselves.

I grew up understanding that fat wasn’t pretty, and that translated in my head as “not good enough” and that in turn translated as “unlovable”.  No one was ever going to love me as long as I was fat.

Of course, that did little to actually help me become anything other than fatter.  Looking back on it, those thoughts were a part of me before I was actually even what I would call fat today.

I see pictures today of me at 13 and I see a beautiful, healthy looking girl with budding curves in all the right places.  She isn’t fat.  She isn’t ugly.  But at the time, you could not have convinced me of that.  At all.

Okay, that hair was awful, but the rest of me?  I can not comprehend how I ever thought of that as obese.  Especially not looking at me today.

I’m half convinced that it was that thought process that in part served to make me fat.  It was as though it was inevitable.  I believed I was already.  I was already starting the life long yo-you of dieting at 14.

The negativity of the thought process doomed me and still today it haunts me and hampers my ability to live healthy.  There’s a haunting sense of “you’re ugly and fat, no one loves the fat girl, so why bother trying” to every step I make in life, every healthy habit I attempt to foster.

There are days it wins.  There are days I just stuff my face and sit on my ass and wallow in my own lack of self worth.  It’s my emotional coping mechanism.  Have no doubt, it is as self-destructive as others, like cutting or taking drugs.

The difference is that somewhere along the line I learned to love myself.  Sure, somedays it’s hard to do.  Sometimes, it’s nearly impossible to remember how.

I even love things about my body.  I have strong legs, for example.  And great breasts.  I have pretty eyes and mostly good hair.

But I love me.  I love my personality, with all its quirks.  I love my sense of humor, my ability to not take anything too seriously, my compassion and generosity.  I love that I try, despite the bad days, despite the difficulty, despite the people who tell me I can’t, shouldn’t, won’t…and that love keeps me trying, keeps me hauling myself to the gym where I’m probably the fattest girl in the building, keeps me working to eat better even when I can’t really afford it.

I couldn’t always say that.  There was a time when I hated a lot more about me than my fat.  I was an ugly person, hateful and spiteful.  I worked hard to change that.  I’m still changing that in some ways.

Take a look in the mirror today and find something to love.  After all, if you can’t love yourself, how will you ever let someone else love you?

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