“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” ~Maya Angelou
We’re bombarded by advertisements that tell us if we’re thin, we’ll love ourselves. If we suddenly look a certain way, all our worries will vanish.
I’ve always been thin without really having to work at it—well, in my younger days at least.
Yes, I was skinny, but that didn’t mean I was happy. I was suffering from depression, had terrible skin, and just felt awful in my body.
Being a “perfect” size is not what will make you happy, because happiness isn’t about how you look or how much you weigh; it’s about how you feel about yourself and how you feel in your own skin.
One day I went shopping for a wedding dress and I was so depressed afterward that I swallowed most of my prescribed medication.
All I wanted to do was sleep, and sleep I did.
When I woke up I was hooked up to tubes and lying in a hospital bed. This was a major wake-up call for me. I was ashamed, and also mortified of how this was going to look.
Again, I was focusing on other people’s opinion of me, and not enough on how I felt inside.
After the overdose I knew I could take one of two different roads. I could go back to the way I was without making any changes and hope for the best, or I could take responsibility for where my life was and where I wanted it to go.
I chose the one leading me to freedom and to feeling good about myself, both inside and out.
Once I took down the filters and mental shackles that were holding me down, I started to see how good I could feel. It had nothing to do with how I looked, but rather how much love I gave myself.
Body love has to do with how we feel about ourselves from the inside out.
How did I get to “better”? A lot of self-healing, dedication, being totally honest with myself about what I required to feel good, and getting real about what my body needed to thrive.
5 Steps to Feeling Better in Your Body
I felt so much shame and guilt because of the things I had done, and these feeling kept me stuck in an unhealthy pattern until I forgave myself.
I forgave myself for letting myself go, for not believing in myself, for being addicted to foods and habits that brought me down, for not having confidence or knowing my value, and for not using my strengths or working on my weaknesses.
Guilt and shame bring negative energy and will just keep you stuck. Period!
Forgiveness helps you let go of the past and enables you to focus on making healthy choices in the present.
Before, I didn’t love or respect myself. No matter how great I looked, I would always find fault. I was putting my value on outside appearances to feel validated. If I didn’t look a certain way, that meant I was unlovable.
Self-love doesn’t mean you can let yourself go. It means you have enough appreciation and value for yourself to create habits that nourish your soul and your growth.
We show self-love by what we feed ourselves, by what we choose to say or think about ourselves, and by forgiving ourselves when we slip.
Without having this sense of respect and appreciation for ourselves, no matter how we look, we will always feel a void.
We have so much information coming at us, lots of different views and perspectives. Question everything and become aware of what you need—what your body needs to thrive and what feels good.
Does it need more movement or more fresh air? If it’s not feeling the way you want it to feel, listen.
It has nothing to do with trying to look a certain way just because the media says so; it has to do with paying attention to how you’re feeling and being rooted within your body. Our bodies aren’t separate from us; they’re part of us, and we need to pay attention to them.
A funny thing that happens when you become aware—you care a lot less about other people’s opinions, stop taking on their beliefs as your own, and develop more confidence in yourself.
Back then I didn’t know food affected my moods, so my diet consisted mostly of fast food and junk food. I wasn’t taking care of my body by working out, nor was I paying attention to my emotional needs.
Our bodies give us signals to let us know what they need. We may feel tired or sluggish when we need more sleep or water. We may get headaches or light-headedness when we need a stress-relieving practice, like yoga or meditation. Until we pay attention and work with them, we’ll always feel an imbalance.
It’s not what we do once in a while that brings change, but what we do consistently—day in and day out, when we feel like it and especially when we don’t.
I grew up on junk food; this was a tough habit to break. It was the consistency of me eating healthy every day that made the cravings go away, so much that it turns me off to even smell junk food now. This wasn’t deprivation; this was pushing through my short-term resistance so I could feel better in the long term.
Instead of focusing on being a certain weight, let’s focus on real health, inside and out. Chances are when you’re living an intentional life, and feeling happier and better in your skin, owning a scale won’t even be on your radar!
Woman raising arms image via Shutterstock