Out of Love for Self

Last month I engaged in an exercise where I spoke positive affirmations about myself pertaining to my beauty. Additionally, I wrote a letter to my younger self.

I did these things because I realized that even though I have made great strides in loving my physical appearance as far as my visage that I didn’t really recognize my physical beauty when it came to my body.

I stopped seeing my face as unattractive but when it came to my body I was very ashamed of my size.

As a young teenager I accepted the lie that I was ugly, undesirable, unlovable and worthless.

For years I lived my life on the foundation of this lie.

Thankfully, when I made the decision to end my marriage I also decided to do whatever it took to love myself.

I recognized it was going to be a life long process but I had decided I was worth it!.

What started last month as a journey to accept my physical beauty became a recognition that a chapter in my life was closing and that a new one was beginning.

I realized that the woman looking back at me in the mirror had something in common with the young girl who I used to be.

That while I no longer thought I was ugly that I still held insecurities about my physical appearance due to being overweight.

But those insecurities ran counter to what I was speaking to myself. I was calling myself beauty, grace, desire, attraction, and love and yet there was a part of me that believed that I was unattractive to the opposite sex because of my size.

But the deeper truth was,  I was uncomfortable with my weight.

It wasn’t that men found me unattractive – I found me unattractive.

(And yes there are some men who don’t find me attractive,  that is allowed and will always be the case. However, what isn’t allowed in my life is for me to finmyself unattractive.)

While I feel better about my looks now than I did in the pas, I decided the shame I was carrying because of my weight simply had to go.

I am not saying that I intend to stay overweight I am saying I am not going to hate myself because of it.

I was not always overweight. I put on the weight due to deep depression. While my weight may have served a purpose in my life in the past, I have decided it isn’t necessary for me to remain overweight.

I want to live a healthy life and this is the only body that I have. Therefore, I must take care of it.

I am not releasing the weight because I hate it. I am releasing the weight because it no longer serves me.

I began the practice of eating my pain six years into my marriage.

I now have healthier tools to deal with my pain.

For me it doesn’t matter whether society views being overweight as unattractive. What matters is my knees ache, I suffer chronic pain, diabetes runs in my family, along with high blood pressure and other illnesses.

The weight loss isn’t to attract a mate. I have men (physically fit and highly attractive men at that) approach me so I am certain that I could attract a good partner when I am done taking a hiatus from dating.

However, the way I see it is that if I truly love myself as much as I say I do, then it is time for me to love myself enough to take care of the vessel God gave me.

I have spoken about how I am working to create healthier eating habits and no longer identify myself as an emotional eater.

I am doing better in that area but it is indeed a process.

In an attempt to curb my emotional eating instead of focusing on not eating unhealthy, I focus on purposely eating healthier foods and I have added some amazing new foods into my diet in the process.

I also detach myself from any gains or losses that I see on the scale. While there are times that I weigh myself  I don’t do it as a measure of my beauty. I do it more so to remind myself that my physical health is important.

As a matter of fact there is a reason why I shared my weight publicly on my previous post. It was to work towards releasing myself from the shame I associated with it.

I remember my mother telling me “that was a brave move”. She was shocked that I did that. The truth is I was most definitely nervous about it, but ultimately it was a freeing experience that I do not regret.

Would I love to lose some weight “of course”.

But this isn’t about weight loss.

This is about becoming my best self and my best self wants to live a healthy  life.

I didn’t realize I had the issues with my appearance that I did. I thought that for the most part I found myself beautiful.

Up until I got really honest with myself.

When I was dating I would always feel a bit insecure about my stomach. I would try to mentally tell myself not to be, but deep down I was.

I also found it strange that most of the men who approached me appear to be in better physical health than me.

I think perhaps this stems from the fact that my ex husband used to refer to my weight as disgusting.

(I would like to express that while my husband said hurtful things to me that I do not hate him. Sadly I said hurtful things to him as well. I share this part of my story so you can better understand my thought process and not to bash my ex husband. I have forgiven him and I thank him for being apart of my story. The the things that he said or did that affected me were things that I ultimately believed about myself. He may not have been perfect but neither was I.)

He is in excellent shape and I think I made the false assumption that since he was in shape and wasn’t attracted to overweight women that all men who were in shape would feel the same.

I had to learn that all men are different.

I spoke with a girlfriend about my observation that most of the men who pursue me are highly attractive and that I was surprised and she asserted that I don’t give myself enough credit.

I believe she was right.

I am very thankful that I took the advice that I gave my childhood friend and started speaking positive affirmations about my appearance to myself.

Because in doing so it simply wasn’t possible for me to speak words of love to myself and walk away from that mirror the same woman I was before I began my self love exercise!

At some point, some where along the way I let go of the me who was ashamed of my weight and started stepping into the woman who realized I am not my weight.

I have become conscious of the fact that I am beginning a new phase in my life.

I am thankful for the experiences that I encountered and the lessons I learned but most importantly I have reached an awareness that I am not who I was.

Each version of myself has led me to the woman I am today and so I give thanks and appreciation to who I was in the past, every step along the way.

The new phase of my life is one where I am falling in love with my body.

Since childhood I always had a thirst to expand myself mentally and spiritually, but my desire to improve myself physically has been hit or miss.

And even when it was hit,  it was always out of hatred.

As I have shared before when I worked to improve my looks it was because I believed the lie that I was ugly.

If I decided to exercise it was because I didn’t like my frame.

Whenever I ate healthier it was because I detested my weight.

But while looking in the mirror a funny thing happened where I fell in love with my physical body enough to recognize that I needed to take better care of it because I love it rather than trying to change it because I hate it.

To further expand on what I mean by this, in the past my beauty techniques were to change my looks, they are now done out of an act of love. Instead of exercising and eating properly out of hatred for my size I now exercise and eat properly out of love for myself.

While the action may be the same my purpose is on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Recently I started  drinking 2 liters of water daily, taking vitamins, eating healthier and regularly exercising.

Those actions resulted in me gaining mental clarity.

That mental clarity ultimately led to me making peace with who I am at a degree I never had before.

So as I work out and make a conscious effort to make healthier eating choices it is an act of love.

It is my invitation to you that when you make a decision to improve yourself in any way that it isn’t out of hatred for who you are but out of love for who you are.

While there is a subtle difference between the purpose, I can assure you that doing it out of love will yield far better results.

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman, Renata Smith, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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