by Chantal Despatie
Note: This post originally appeared on Youareloved_xo and has been cross-posted with permission.
I’m genuinely smiling in my picture. I’m not thinking about my weight or my appearance. Instead I’m thinking of how much love I have for my body that works so hard everyday to care, move, grow, inspire, and keep me alive. My eating disorder stopped me from loving others. I couldn’t even love the adorable bundle of joy pictured above because I hated myself so much.
My eating disorder made me believe that nothing I did in life mattered because I was not slim. It didn’t matter that I was kind, smart, successful…etc. The only thing I could focus on was the need to lose weight. I felt guilty whenever happy or loving thoughts would pop up, because I believed I was too ugly to feel positive thoughts.
It’s strange how we accept other people’s imperfections without much concern, yet we tend to be VERY hard on ourselves. Why could I look at other women who are not slim and find them just as beautiful as women with media and society’s ideal body type, yet when I saw myself in the mirror or in pictures, all I felt was deep hatred and sadness.
I finally have the answer to my question.
By bashing myself with negative thoughts 24/7, forcing myself to exercise when all I wanted + needed was rest, and putting all my focus into losing weight, I also lost myself. How can you love yourself when all you do is cause yourself an enormous amount of pain? If someone you know were to say mean things to you constantly and tell you not to eat or to punish yourself for feeling happy, you would not love them. So how can you love who you truly are if all you’re doing is destroying yourself piece by piece?
The truth is, you can’t.
You need to be kind to yourself and listen to what your body wants and needs, you need to tell those disordered thoughts to take a walk, and you need to treat yourself as you would those you love.
Your appearance does not define your worth as a person and your purpose in life is not to lose weight. You are perfect as you are because your body is YOURS. Health comes in all shapes and sizes and some people just don’t understand that – and that is most definitely their loss, not yours.
When you stop focusing all your attention on your appearance, you start to see how beautiful life truly is. There are SO many amazing things life has to offer…
Delicious foods, different cultures, nights out with loved ones, animals, finding your passions, connecting with people that make you feel safe and loved when you feel like the world is crashing down on you…
Life is hard as hell, but struggling does not last forever and once you get past the period of deep pain and suffering – which you will have to face eventually, you will find happiness, love, and most of all, you will find yourself.
Stay strong, be kind, love yourself as you are right now – flaws included, because you are amazing and incredibly beautiful. If you’re struggling with an eating disorder or simply struggling to find happiness, I promise you that life will get better.