Who was the last person you said “I love you” to?
Was it your parents? Perhaps your siblings? What about to your friends? Was it to your significant other? Or how about your adorable pet?
What about to yourself? That’s right, yourself.
I can tell you that I never did until maybe three months ago, when one of the worst days happened. I'll give you the short version: I have been struggling financially for over two years now, have been kind of job hopping, and trying to find out who I am as an individual, as well as trying to make healthy and more positive lifestyle changes. I thought I had finally found a stable place of work, and then just as soon as I had found it I had lost it. Now, it wasn’t the best fit for me, and I now see it as a blessing in disguise, but at the time I had lost my sense of purpose, my sense of identity, my stability, my confidence, and much more. It’s funny how one event in one's life can trigger such things. Not being able to support myself was a catalyst into the spiral of a negative thoughts and it spurred so many other thoughts about myself (failure, fatty, disgusting, unworthy) that I guess were just on the back-burner of my brain.
I spent a couple of days moping about, but then I licked my wounds and picked myself back up again. I am lucky enough that I have such a strong support system of family and friends who all gave advice and tried to help. I talked with a good friend of mine who is both a mental health nurse and a lifestyle coach. I don’t know how she did it, but she pinpointed the main point in our conversation and asked me “when was the last time you looked yourself in the mirror and told yourself you loved you?” I went silent. I could not actually give her an answer. She then told me to go home and do it, so off I went.
I never realized how tough and awkward it was to actually stare at myself in the mirror and say those words. I have spent years upon years nit-picking my flaws, and then completely avoiding my reflection and bullying myself on what I thought about myself. And now, when I was near a low, I had to tell myself that I love myself?
I stared at myself. Stared, stared and stared. I felt weird, awkward and stupid.
I looked right into my own eyes and I wanted to cry. My eyes were glossy with those unshed tears, as every negative thought of being a failure, of being unworthy, and being fat circled my forethoughts. I had to look away, then I paced around my room trying to calm myself. “What the fuck are you doing?!” I said to myself. This year was supposed to be one of positivity, of a different lifestyle and change. I had already made so great changes to myself, like being more mindful, more active, and giving more nutrients and hydration to my body. Why couldn’t I just do this one simple thing!? I went back to the mirror and stared at myself again. I took a deep breath.
“I love you.”
There, I did it. Why was there so much anxiety and nervousness to that sentence? Then I thought about it, and as cheesy as it sounds, I felt like I was professing love to someone and worrying about rejection.
I had put my emotional self on the back-burner and had been pouring from an empty cup for too long. For too long I had rejected and bullied my body, and have had the worst relationship with it. It was time to take care of myself and to heal my relationship with my body.
So, did it erase the years of self loathing? No, but it was a great start to removing the layers there. Tried it once, tried it twice and now it has become a part of my routine. It has become so much easier to say to myself and it brings me so much joy to finally have the chance to begin to love myself.
Written by: Holly Lagrou