How I Fell In Love...With Myself
First off, I will just kick this off saying that of course, I am still a work in progress. There are times I feel like a bomb a$$ babe and others where my insecurities get the best of me but over the last 6 months or so I have been on a self-acceptance journey. I spent specific time working through body image issues and taking some time off from working out and over thinking food and I wanted to share a little bit of what that process looked like with you.
So it wasn't like one day I decided "hmm I am going to start working on body image", this was something I felt I like I was always working on. Slowly over time I was reading more, researching more and came to a point where I realized that these struggles and demons weren't going to fix themselves. That I would have to do the hard work and start addressing these issues, where they stemmed from and how I was going to move forward beyond them.
To say this was fun...ehhhh haha in some ways it was fascinating because it is an issue I love learning about and helping clients with but to do the work myself forced me to confront things that I had tucked away for a day I thought would be further out than this. However, this experience has left me feeling free, it has changed my relationship with food and has given me the freedom to love the body I am in even as it changes!
One of the first things I did was work through a body image course by Neghar Fonooni. I honestly started this more for research and curiosity only to actually really benefit from working through it and taking it seriously. She really challenged why we think we need to look different, where that started, how society has shaped that and if that is what we actually want for ourselves, our bodies and our lives. This was eye opening because I don't think I had really asked myself WHY I thought I wanted to look different, I just always felt like I was trying to look different...skinner, prettier, more successful, happier, tanner, smaller, more toned...so on. But why?
One of the questions posed really stuck with me and that was this, "What if whatever body you have today was the body you had for the rest of your life, what would you do?" Well...ultimately I realized I would have to accept it. I would stop working out for the wrong reasons because they didn't matter, I would stop worrying about food so much because it didn't matter...I would probably come to love my body because what other option was there? And then I realized...why can't I do that now? Workout for the right reasons, enjoy food for the right reasons, love my body just the way that it is? I was wasting so much time worrying about changing and shrinking that I was missing out on my life right here, right now.
Our bodies are beautiful things no matter what shape or size they are! We are beautiful women no matter what shape or size we are! We just need to start realizing that! We need to stop waiting for society to affirm us because honestly...societies standard will continue to change, and then what? We change again to fit in? No, we finally realize that it doesn't matter what they think because those opinions are fickle...rooted and stemming from their own insecurities and self-imposed expectations. I choose to be my own definition of beautiful, of confidence, of success, not yours, not societies, not even my friends or families. My own.
For me another aspect that gave me a lot of freedom was realizing that I was truly uniquely and wonderfully made. The Lord created me in his image and loves me no matter what I look like. He sees deeper than that (he sees a beauty that is more than skin deep hehe). But that was honestly really helpful. If I believed I was uniquely made with my own purpose, my own journey and my own style and look why was I comparing myself to someone else who was living out their unique look and purpose? That only served to hold me back from ultimately who I was created to be. No matter what you believe in, most of us believe we have a purpose and are unique so when you really start to lean into that you are giving yourself the freedom to be who you truly are.
Here are 3 things I did during this process:
- Instagram: Instagram can be difficult for me at times. It is necessary for my business and has connected me to so many incredible, strong and inspirational women but has also, more than I would like to admit been a place where I have left the platform only feeling worse about myself. I know I am not alone here but struggle to determine why we continue in this cycle if so many of us feel this way. So I decided that I would only continue following people that made me feel happy and truly inspired. Even if they had a beautiful profile or funny things to say, if I saw them and immediately doubted by calling, body, lifestyle or dreams then I would unfollow them. When it comes to living out a life full of self-acceptance and purpose how can we do that when we are constantly seeing things that make us feel less than. We have the power to change that so...I decided to change that. Don't wish for things to be different and then do nothing about it, if you struggle with this like I did start making changes now!
- I stopped workout out and watching what I was eating: Now that didn't mean I went crazy and threw everything I knew out the window but it did mean I watched it less. Did I gain weight, maybe? I haven't weighed myself in over a year so I have no idea...but my clothes all still fit so I'm not too concerned. What this did was free me from the unhealthy mindset and habits I had gotten myself into. It helped me realize that if I could miss a couple months of workouts then missing one during the week would not ruin my day, it made me realize I could have that bagle or glass of wine and not immediately put on 5 pounds. It made me realize I missed working out when I was doing things that I loved for the right reasons! It made me realize I actually like eating healthy but there was no need to be annoying about it. This was temporary and I am back to working out regularly and eating mindfully but it feels so different now.
- Wrote lots of letters: I wrote a lonnggggg letter to the people who I felt shaped the way I looked at my body. To the boys, men, girls and women who had said hurtful things, to the media that made me feel like I needed diet pills at 16, to the people who manipulated what healthy actually was, to those who had ever made me feel less than...I honestly wrote a big middle finger letter to them. It was not very kind, it was raw, unedited and just honest. I didn't try to be formal or hold back, I just wrote and poured out all the hurt and pain I had felt over the years. And then...after pouring all of that out I wrote a letter to myself, one that told me I could do anything, that I was beautiful, that those hurtful words were not meant to be worn as a badge of pain but to be processed and set aside. I wrote to the young Kami who didn't know that all of these things were not true and that I should not waste my time worrying about them. I wrote to myself what I wished I had known and realized that they were still things I needed to hear today. It was sort of weird because I didn't really realize I still had held on to so much but it was honestly so cleansing to finally just say all the things I wish I could have said to the people in my past. No one will ever read those letters and I haven't read them since but I needed to let those feelings go because if I was to rebuild I needed to stop building atop so many lies and hurtful situations.
Everyone's journey to self-acceptance will be different. We are all working through different hurts, lies and pain but we are all meant to work through them because to truly be the people were created to be, we need to let those things go. Sure they can play a part in our past but they do not get to define our future self.
And slowly but surely I started to accept myself. I started to love my body. There are still hurdles and as I continue on my wellness journey I am sure there will be times I struggle more than others. But I am proud of the progress I have made, of the things I have let go and the mindset I have moved forward with.
Is this something that you struggle with too? Or have you already been on your own self-accpetance journey? I would love to hear about it so please comment or message me! Thanks for reading this if you got all the way through haha I know it was a lot but this is a topic close to my heart and I hope it encourages you to bravely work through some of these things as well!