“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
John Keating, Dead Poets Society
Fewer statements have been made that are truer than this for me. Words and ideas have constructed and reconstructed the paradigms on which I base my entire life. Words like “diet” and “thin” and ideas like “eating disorders” and “perfection” and “never good enough” were so powerful to me that they quite literally changed my world. Over the span of the 10 years I had a destructive relationship with food, I wasn’t the only one affected. My friends’ and family’s lives had changed, too. We were all in this crappy world together, drowning in self-loathing and despair. Relationships were broken. Tears were shed. Fights were had. All because I was convinced that with this body in this world, I would never be good enough to be loved.
But the good news is that wasn’t the end of the story. As backwards and scary as these ideas made the world for me, I made a conscious decision that I didn’t want it to stay that way. I was determined to create a whole new existence for myself — one that was governed by love instead of hate and joy instead of sorrow and hope instead of failure. Without much direction or know-how, I turned to the only tool I could fathom utilizing in a battle against self-hate — the weapon that changed my world in the first place: words.
At first, knowing full well that the only ideas in my head were dangerous and unhealthy, I sought out other people’s words — the bible, books on inner beauty, self-love blogs. Then, I took those words and actually wrote them down in my journal with my own hand as if they were pouring out of my own consciousness. I won’t lie to you — at first, it felt really awkward. It felt wrong. It felt stupid, pointless, and borderline pathetic. But I persisted, knowing that the alternative wasn’t an option anymore.
After several (I’m talking several, people) months of this, I started following a different pattern. Instead of reading these encouraging words about my body and feeling uncomfortable and doubtful, I started to believe them. I even found myself thinking them while I was looking in the mirror without even trying. Instead of looking at my body as “fat” and “unlovable” and “disgusting,” I found myself referring to it as “lovely” and “curvy” and “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
So. All that to say…
TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: SEEK OUT, SAY, THINK, AND WRITE DOWN ENCOURAGING WORDS.