A little over a year ago, our family experienced something unexpected and really, really hard. We found ourselves operating in crisis mode, getting very little sleep, and eating when we could, all while still trying to navigate the normal daily stuff. Though now that I think about it… there was nothing normal about what we were facing. Loving ourselves in a time of crisis is not a top priority.
Over the course of the past year, I gained seventy pounds. 7-0. We deal with hard things every single day. Not only are we adjusting to parenting a child with special needs, but both my husband and I work in fields that are very taxing and emotionally draining. We weren’t prepared to get hit head on by trauma.
In the months following our son’s health crisis, I tried my best to be strong- to be perfect- as a wife and mom. And when I failed, because we all fail at being perfect, I would try to cover up the gaping hole by filling it with anything and everything. That’s where the seventy pounds came from.
I’ve never struggled with my weight. Sure, I gained weight with both my boys and it became harder to lose, but this weight feels impossible. It feels like I am broken and there’s no putting me back together. It feels too overwhelming and after standing in front of the mirror trying to dress in the morning, it feels impossible to change. So I did what many of you have done: I joined a gym.
But the weight is still there.
I was sharing my frustration and anger about my weight in a recent counseling session. My therapist looked me in the eye and said, “You need to be better to yourself. You deserve this. You can’t get hit by a MAC truck and expect to get up without any scratches or broken bones. You can’t expect yourself to get up and act like nothing happened.”
Then she told me to be kinder to myself, to my body that carried me through the hardest time in my life. She’s sheltered me, protected me, and stuck with me. I have to acknowledge that she did something amazing. But, in the same way, I have stop to listen to what she’s telling me. Our bodies send us messages: when to eat, when to drink, when to sleep. Our bodies are always telling us something. By ignoring those messages, we withhold self-love and it effects us physically, mentally, and emotionally. We can choose to ignore them or start accepting them and loving ourselves more.
So instead of stressing about losing the seventy pounds, it would be more beneficial to focus on giving my body what she deserves. Rest, love, good and healthy food, exercise. By choosing to accept where I am right now, I choose love and affirmation. I choose healing.
I think this message resonates with many of us. Whether it’s how much we’ve aged since becoming parents, how much we weigh, or that we are doing the opposite of what we dreamed for ourselves. We all deserve to love ourselves and treat ourselves better. If loving ourselves more brings health and healing, then we will take it and challenge the negative self-talk with positive affirmation.
If you are struggling with loving yourself right now, know that you are not alone. But also know that there is a way to work through the pain. Find a friend, a family member, a therapist and share your truth. Listen to what you need and combat the negative self-talk with truth…