By the time I was 11 years old, I had become my own biggest critic. My self-bashing developed from interactions with other girls at school and especially from seeing the women in my life, including my mother and other female family members, struggle with body image issues and self-hatred of their bodies.
At 11, and even at 21, I didn’t realize I was not alone with such feelings. I stopped nourishing myself, and thus cut myself out from life itself. Back then, I didn’t understand I was abusing food to cope with what I was really hungry for: love, acceptance, and the realization that I was whole and perfect the way I was.
Learning to love oneself can be challenging for those of us who have been taught the opposite. I thought self-care was selfish. My self-talk to describe myself was cynical, mean, and sarcastic. I thought that was normal. No one told me that I could be strong and how to fight my own demons. So I became excellent at blaming and ultimately became a victim of all I was taught was done wrong to me.
Know this, my sisters: self-love--the ultimate relationship you have with yourself--is pivotal. All other relationships and situations in your life can be pretty much measured by this love affair with your Divine Self. That’s pretty amazing, don’t you think?
I know it’s possible to embody self-love, and let me tell you, it’s fantastic! How do you begin such an intimate relationship with yourself? I find that the following tips can help bring you to that realization and a life of hope, self-love, and connection with your Divine Feminine.
Fully engage your senses. For example, eat mindfully, completely chew every morsel and savor the taste and texture. Practice deep breathing and take in the aromas. Tune into sound, especially when you are in nature. Touch with loving, gentle arms and hands—hugs are perfect! View your world with the eyes of a child; take in the wonder, contrasts, colors, and nuances. Fully activating your senses releases your Feminine power and deepens the love affair with yourself.
Talk yourself up. Do you use judgmental, nonloving words in your self-talk? The words you speak to and about yourself are a reflection and measure by which you love yourself. What you think about yourself is more important than your weight, shape, or dress size. When you think or say something negative about yourself, turn it into a positive. Say yes to yourself and your desires.
Replace old habits with new. Reflect on your activities and habits and note which ones serve you and which ones don’t. In this ultimate love affair with self, which habits do you admire and cherish? Reprogram yourself to live a new story by feeding and nourishing yourself with the energy of new habits.
Move with self-awareness. One of the most effective and joyful ways to embody the Divine Feminine is through dance. Close the door, turn up the music, put on your dancing shoes, and stomp your feet, sway, shimmy, shake, slither, and celebrate your love of self. Dance out your fears and anger and dance in self-love and compassion.
Identify what you are hungry for. Our dysfunctional relationship with food isn’t about food; it’s about an underlying hunger for something unfeedable: validation, respect, love, understanding, to be heard, seen, and acknowledged for our wisdom, ideas, creativity and not our dress size, cup size, or weight. You will not find these desires by eating or not eating potato chips and ice cream. Are you truly hungry for a thin body or do you want to feel joy? Freedom begins with breaking away from the body jail society has placed on women.
Are you ready for—hungry for--the ultimate love affair? Step up, your table is waiting.
In love and health,