I set an intention this year to finally love myself. Not in a light, Oh my hair looks good and I’m funny type of way, but seriously loving and accepting myself so much that being alone is no longer a scary thought. My whole life my biggest fear was being alone. My mom always tells me that when I was a little girl and had a friend over to play, the second he or she left my house I would beg for another friend to be allowed over. My depression stems from this thought about being left alone. Things that triggered depressive episodes were things like failing in skating; I will never be a good skater, therefore, I will never succeed at anything. Without success, no one will ever love me. When no one loves me, I will be alone forever… But why is being alone so bad? It is bad because I have spent my whole life being so incredibly mean to myself.
When I was thirteen I used to lie in bed all day telling myself I was fat and lazy and too needy, and then I would never get up because I was too depressed to do anything. Being alone with my inner mean girl has always been the worst thing I’ve had to do. So I turned to anything that would ensure I was not alone: bad relationships, meaningless hookups, toxic friendships, amazing friendships, my phone, cutting, restricting my food – in attempt to silence this mean girl. Sure, those things have worked… Only for a little while though. And usually they ended up hurting me more in the end.
But I’ve been engaging in the completely wrong coping mechanisms. Coping itself was never what I needed. I needed to make being alone something that isn’t scary or horrible or my biggest fear. In fact, I am making being alone the biggest, most beautiful gift in my world. So this year, 2019, I am dedicating to loving myself, and here is how I plan to do it…
FINALLY heal my relationship with food and my body
Ahh, yes. Here we are again. I have left behind my days of anorexia and I have swung back and forth in recovery for a long time. But to say I have a healthy and free relationship with food would be a major stretch. I have a good relationship with food FOR A FEMALE ICE DANCER; but oh God, that means nothing. Girls in my sport are highly encouraged to live orthorexic lifestyles, so I have done this. I eat more than I did when I was anorexic, but I still have extremely strict rules around eating and extremely strict expectations for my body. But I am done. I will never ever love myself if I am depriving myself of one of the very few things people need to simply survive. When I restrict my food I am sending myself a subconscious message saying, “I do not love you enough to even keep you healthy and alive”. I think this is one of my biggest blocks. So on New Year’s day, I called my nutritionist and said, “I’ve gone backwards. I am not treating my body right, and I am ready to fix it for good”. And since then I have already taken huge strides to improve my intuitive eating journey.
Ways to Start Healing your Relationship with Food:
- Read the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
- Write a list of all the foods you do not let yourself eat, but want to. Eat at least one of these foods every week and notice what happens (likely nothing you’ve feared) and how you feel.
- Get a nutritionist who specializes in intuitive eating, eating disorders, non-diet approach to food, etc.
- Realize you are the only one who has to live in this body so you get to decide how you want to look and feel.
STOP relying on external validation to feel good about myself
“Does Hannah like me?” “Are you sure he likes me?” “What did he say about me?” “Does my hair look okay? Are you sure?”… Yeah, I’ve said versions of all of these things…maybe 1 million times. I would spend nights on my couch not able to breathe until my friend texted me that I did not annoy anyone at the party yesterday, and in fact everyone actually thought I was funny and enjoyed my presence. Then I could breathe. I would like myself only if I received validation that everyone else liked me too. Even then it was not fulfilling enough because I never liked myself. Now, that is a whole lot of stress on my part, not being able to be comfortable in my own skin unless someone else gave me permission. That is honestly torture. But guess what! I am truly the ONLY one who gets to decide how I feel, what I do, who I spend time with and who gets to spend time with me. Since I am in charge of me, I am deciding that I LOVE me, regardless of who else feels or does not feel the same because I get to decide this one.
Ways to Feel Good without External Validation
- If you’re sitting on the couch overthinking wondering, Oh no. Does he think I’m annoying? Ask yourself a few things:
- 1) Is this a thought you have just made up by overthinking? If your brain works like mine, the answer is likely yes. He probably is asleep dreaming about basketball and burritos and has literally no clue at all you are worrying about something so crazy.
- 2) Am I annoying? I mean you know you better than anyone else… so are you annoying?
- 3) If he thinks I am annoying, whose problem is that? If you think you are not annoying but he does, then that is something he can spend time thinking about, but you do not have to.
Self-care truly is different for every individual. My friend told me today her self-care practice this morning was curling her hair. For me, there is nothing more infuriating than recurling the same piece of hair six times only to have it either fall pathetically back onto my shoulder or turn into a Shirley Temple ringlet. But it makes her feel good, so for her it is a beautiful way of practicing self-care.
Ways I like to Practice Self-Care:
- Getting off my phone
- Taking walks
- Listening to Podcasts
I was listening to manifestation queen, Lacy Phillips, on a podcast recently and she said something that has really stuck with me: “What isn’t a hell yes is a no”. If you are considering doing something but you aren’t totally sold, then just do not do it. If something does not feel great for you, then you do not have to do it. This really stuck with me. Lacy also said to think about the things you do everyday that don’t make you say “hell yes!” and just stop doing them for a month and see how you feel.
For me This Looked like:
- Muting certain people’s accounts on instagram that don’t make me feel great.
- Yes, even if they don’t make you feel all that bad, sometimes there are some people we follow that just get us down a little or just don’t benefit us in any way. Social media should be a positive outlet for us!
- Stop eating foods I don’t enjoy just because they’re “healthy.”
- I swear if I eat one more tomato I might just throw up. I overdid the tomatoes for #health and now looking at them makes my stomach churn.
- Dedicate 2 times per day to scroll through instagram.
- Be fully present when I am scrolling in these times, but stop mindlessly scrolling whenever I have a free second.
Avoid Toxic Relationships that are NOT better than being alone
That fear of being alone I mentioned earlier has also led me to be in relationships/friendships that I knew were not good for me. Even while I was in some of these relationships I consciously knew they were hurting my soul, but I could not admit that to myself or anyone else because not being in a these relationships meant being alone. I’ve been in relationships that left me crying most nights, but I somehow thought if I was alone I would be sad all of the time. However, now that I am not in a relationship (I am not alone because I have amazing friends and family), I actually feel happier than I have in a while. I feel free, inspired, peaceful, joyful and honestly more confident. I feel like I have space to breathe and grow and feel my feelings and do more of what sets my soul on fire. Ever since I was 13, I looked for happiness in a relationship or a best friend – that one person who would always be there for me, but I am finally realizing I have to have that in myself. Of course, one day I would love to have someone ADD to that, but right now I need the space and time to learn how to be that person for myself first.
How I will be Working on this:
- Be my Dream Partner.
- Maybe that sounds super lame, but to me it sounds so fulfilling and fun. I am tired of relying on other people to make me happy and I am ready to have all the things that lift me up already inside me.
- Love Myself Unconditionally.
- This is basically what this whole post is about, but I do believe not loving myself is what has led me to nonbeneficial relationships. Once I fully love myself, I will attract that love and respect from others.
- Don’t settle for someone who does not add to my happiness
- Of course I will meet people and have options to be in relationships, but if they are not a 110% hell yes, then it’s a hard no from me.
Be Careful with What I say About Myself
In order to fully love and respect myself, there are some things I have to stop saying. The Universe has ears and if I am constantly degrading myself, the Universe will think I want to attract people who think it is okay to degrade me and others as well.
Things I will Stop Saying:
- I am sorry for being emotional.
- I no longer am allowing myself to feel sorry for this. I am a cancer sun and an extremely caring soul, and this is how I am and that is perfectly okay.
- I’m sorry for having a bad day.
- We all have bad days, there is no need to feel bad for that.
- I look so bad.
- Maybe I don’t look my best, but I do not have to say it because that makes others think they can say the same thing about themselves or others. And what we say we believe, and I do not want to feel this way about myself!
- Oh my god, I am so stupid.
- This one is a really bad one for me. I’ve always been the bubbly, quirky little blonde friend who talks before she thinks and sometimes lets out some less than intelligent remarks, but that does not mean I am stupid. I’ve actually really struggled with insecurity around school and grades and this idea that “I am not smart enough”. This phrase above is one I say at least twice a day, and I truly believe because of this, I programmed my brain to believe I am stupid. However, in reality, I am not. Sure, I could never get into Harvard but I do get all A’s and I’m spending my Saturday morning writing, for God’s sake, so no I am not stupid and I am done saying that.
NO MORE PEOPLE PLEASING
I am not ever going to please everyone, it simply is impossible. In actuality, the only person worth pleasing is me because I am the one who actually hears my own thoughts and opinions about myself. Sure, people can tell me they don’t like me but as long as I like myself, I really don’t care. People pleasing has blocked me from doing so many things that bring me joy; “Don’t post that, people might think you are weird”, “Don’t eat that, your coach will tell you you’re fat”, “Don’t show your emotions, people will think you’re weak”, “Don’t tell him he’s hurting you, you’ll make him mad” and by doing all this, I’m forcing myself to suffer in order to (POSSIBLY) please other people. I am done with that.
Things I can do that Make me Happy, even if I May Not be Pleasing Everyone Else
- Eat what I want.
- Say how I feel.
- Of course, never saying anything to hurt someone or make anyone feel bad for no reason. Just giving myself the freedom to express myself.
- Post things I feel good about.
- Tell people when they are hurting me.
- Talk about my spirituality openly: angels, crystals, meditation, etc.
- Wear what makes me feel good.
- Say no.
Okay guys, those the top seven things I am going to really be practicing in this period of my life to be able to love myself finally. My lack of self-confidence/self-love has been a major impediment in my life for so long. I truly feel so free and positive and radiant already from outlining my plan, and I think this year is going to be one of the best years of my life simply by making it the year of loving myself. I really hope you all can take away some things from this; and if you’re on a similar journey I would be so happy to know this helped you out. I am so grateful for all of you. Sending you so much love, and I encourage you to send yourselves just as much love!
Thanks for reading!