In the past several years, I’ve made intense goals for New Years and other times throughout the year: weight loss, exercising,writing, reading, and more. I always work really hard to meet these goals and often I have the dedication to make them happen. But the intense effort can take a toll when I’m pursuing goals at the expense of everything else. What I’ve neglected is self-care.
I’ve noticed this especially on my journey with intuitive eating. I’ve done a pretty good job of not restricting foods and allowing myself to eat what I want, however the positive body image has really been a struggle. I’ve gained some weight since starting Intuitive Eating, and it’s recently been making me feel bad about myself.
Tonight, it made me argue with my mom when she told me my “food theory” was right and it wasn’t. Upon reflection after we hung up, I realized that I argued with her, because I felt like she was criticizing my weight gain, even though she had said nothing of the sort. Eventually I realized that I was projecting my negative body feelings onto her. I called back, apologized, and had an emotional conversation with her where she shared her struggles with eating as well. It was eye-opening to realize that I was feeling criticized during the conversation, but she was just feeling vulnerable herself. If I had stayed obsessed with my own negativity, I would have never realized what she was feeling and would have never had that second conversation with her.
Self-acceptance makes you a better person.
The most important reason for this, is because you stop obsessing over yourself and you’re able to hear others. Instead of thinking they’re criticizing you, you can realize that they are struggling too.
It also means you have the time and energy to care for others and make the world a better place. If you are only worried about yourself- how to lose a few pounds, how to look better, what others think of you- you have no more thought space left! Imagine all the time you’d have to think if all those worries were taken away.
This year, I want to be that person. I want to learn to love myself so that I can reduce my worry and free up my thoughts for more productive things. I want to accept myself so that I can help others.
It won’t be an easy journey. Society projects messages of self-criticism, of dieting, of not being good enough. Even if you want with all of your being to overcome those messages, it takes a lot of time and energy to do so. I’m not even sure it’s possible to be a fully self-accepting person.
But I know that it is a worthwhile goal and that I want to try.