Self-love is a concept that I have struggled with for over half my life. Since choosing “real” recovery, it is something that I am constantly striving towards. I have come a long way in how I view myself and my body, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Pictures of myself are one of the things that triggers my eating disorder voice, or “inner critic”, to start in on the hate. It’s awful the way I can talk to myself sometimes, and when I write is out, it is truly horrifying.
I would never speak to anyone else the way I speak to myself, and I know that I have a distorted perception of my body.
So I decided to do a little exercise. The only way to stop the hate, is to counteract it with love.
At first this exercise will make you roll your eyes, but hear me out: Counter the hateful comments with a comment made out of love.
Selfies: An Exercise in Self-Love
Inner Critic: “I don’t look fit at all.”
Voice of Love: “Girl, you look strong and healthy!”
*It is ridiculous for me to think I could be fat or big. I have gained 14 much needed pounds since August. Logically I know I am not fat or “big” based on my height and weight, but my ED/Inner Critic can be ruthless.
Inner Critic: “My cheeks are getting chubby, my eyes are too squinty.”
Voice of Love: “I like my hair, and I am so lucky to have such a handsome, amazing boyfriend who loves me.”
*This was taken on Valentine’s Day, a day meant for love. Remembering how much I have to be grateful for also helps to silence my inner critic.
Inner Critic: “Ugh I have huge bags under my eyes. What made me think I should take a selfie- I look like crap.”
Voice of Love: “I am aloud to love myself and take pictures when I feel like it.”
*I took this while I was writing this post. Tired after a long day, but wanted to make a point that selfies can be a part of the healing process.
It is powerful to write out these hateful comments, it makes you see how degrading they are. Not only that, but they serve no purpose other than making you feel awful about yourself.
After you write down the comment from your inner critic, find something positive or loving to say to yourself.
The Take Home
It may be difficult at first. But look at the selfie or picture and tell yourself something that you would tell a friend. Compliment the person looking back at you in the picture. Tell her she is beautiful, that her eyes are full of sparkle, or that she is owning that little black dress.
The more you practice looking at a picture and shutting down any negative comments by replacing them with positive messages, the easier it will become. The goal is that one day, that inner critic will no longer even make a peep. You will automatically look at yourself with loving eyes, full of compassion and self-love.
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud this week.