Its very easy not to practice what you preach. On the blog and in real life, I am never short of feel good whims that this whole “loving yourself” thing is far more important than being picture perfect and stick thin with a trophy boy on the arm. You know. To other people. When it comes to myself however, there is this underlying strain of thoughts and emotions that tell me that to achieve anything, I must achieve everything and I get caught in a cycle of perfectionism.
To try and break this cycle, I usually go the logical route of reminding myself that the only person who expects me to be perfect is me. Even looking back on past experience, actually achieving the level of “perfection” I wanted to achieve – my entry to medicine, my extreme weight loss – didn’t bring me any closer to being happy. Looking at the lives of others, I also know that it isn’t only very smart, very thin girls that are in relationships so this need for perfection has very little basis in reality. And this train of thought has gotten me quite far in staying social, reducing panic attacks and coming along in recovery. Then, stuff happens.
Pictures aren’t necessarily the best thing. I’ve never loved pictures anyway and unfortunately, a bad angle here and there is enough to throw all my logic out the window and start longing for the days when I could buy a size 6 again. I worry am I deluding myself, I wonder if what I see in the mirror is real at all, I freak out that everyone is judging me for evident elephantism.
People aren’t always the best thing either. Usually, it is just my own paranoia of thinking people are looking at me in a bad way but yesterday, I was proven right and I was not happy. I was standing outside Centra in Dublin, eating a Freddo, and not freaking out about eating said Freddo, because its a small bar, I wasn’t binging and I have been really balanced in my eating lately. Then an old man came out of the shop, looked at me, told me that eating chocolate makes you fat and walked away. I wasn’t sure what had shocked me more: the fact that a stranger had said this to me in the street or that I had been caught out, an overweight girl eating chocolate.
All ten people I was with had to hear about this. Because when in doubt, look for the approval of others to reassure you. But that in itself… I wonder why I can’t give that approval to myself, that reassurance that some people might just be a bit rude, that these seem people don’t know who you are and what your background is, so their judgement is not necessarily a reflection on you.
Self love is not a process of delusion. Think about a person you love – someone who you really and truly love unashamedly and without condition. You know they are not perfect, you know they have flaws. But you also see that they have these amazing qualities and that is why you love them. Not for the weak points they succeeded in diminishing but for just being themselves. So why on earth is it so difficult to see this reflection in ourselves. Because people love us and people see us in the same non-deluded-but-still-loving way. The pinch of salt is hard to take sometimes but it is so necessary – why let the words of strangers, or of yourself, destroy you? You are worth so much more than that.