As I’m writing this it’s International Women’s Day, so I thought I would take a break from my usual posts and talk about a key and often missing ingredient to living a happy life full of energy: love of self. You can eat as well as possible and work out religiously, but if you aren’t doing it from a place of love, it’s not going to get you very far. We know that people with low opinions of themselves don’t fare well in this life. They’re suspectable to depression, suppressed immune system, etc. As one very dry research paper out of UT Austin concluded, “People with negative self-views think and behave in ways that diminish their quality of life.” Ain’t that the truth!
I spent a good portion of my life loathing myself. I was too dumb, too fat, too whatever to be worth anything. In my early teens, that turned into an eating disorder; in my twenties, it was staying in the wrong relationship; and in my early thirties, it was crushing depressing and constant fear of being found out. And through it all, my body got the message. I was wrong; it was wrong. Even though I would cut calories drastically and workout like I was being chased by a bear, my weight stayed the same and my health got worse.
My quality of life was not great. But I turned it around. I sought help, and I learned how to catch my negative self-talk and replace it with positive self-talk. I had a little girl, and, through her, I realized that I was precious too and deserved to be talked to the way I spoke to her. And finally, I had this revelation that I’m going to die. Not that minute or anything, but that, at some point, this journey will come to an end. Did I really want to spend it hating myself and punishing myself for not living up to other peoples expectations? Hell no!
Getting here, to this place of healing and self-love, was not easy; but along the way I learned how to see my value and, just like any nutrient that finally makes its way into the body, loving myself began to do its magic.
Tip: Pay attention to your negative self-talk. Once you get good at catching yourself, replace those words/phrases with positive ones. It takes some time for this to feel natural, but I promise that speaking to yourself positively will eventually come just as naturally as speaking to yourself negatively does now.