During the worst of my binging, I had entered into a vicious cycle of binge, guilt, punishment by restriction, starve and binge again. Even before the binging began, I had picked up pretty brutal treatment of my body in putting too much stress on it during workouts and not allowing for rest. I claimed to use it as a stress relief, but in reality I felt poorly about myself and took out those frustrations by spending hours in the gym. Even now, those days where I feel like I’m not being a good enough mom/wife/friend/writer/supporter of my family, I start to unravel at the seams and turn to fat talk and putting myself down.
None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. Sometimes, we let those mistakes control us and hinder caring for ourselves. My senior year of college I got involved in some pretty bad behavior. I lost respect for myself. Even though I knew in my heart my actions weren’t fruitful, I continued down that path because I didn’t believe I could change and never forgave myself. At the very start of Peter & I dating, I almost sabotaged everything by believing he couldn’t love me for my past. My lack of forgiveness almost put up my old walls and boundaries to shut him out. When I shared my past, I took a defensive stance. I likely even said "now you know this about me, so go ahead and leave me”. His response took the tune of “God forgives you for all of that. I don’t care about any of it. It’s not you now and you should forgive yourself too.”
I don’t know why I had never thought of forgiving myself before then. Perhaps because I had spent so much energy trying to forgive and get past what others had done to me? Who knows. Yet, having the power to tell myself that “it’s okay…it’s in the past…you can move forward and change for the better now” changed everything. We have no reason to punish ourselves. Consequences for our actions and decisions will always exist, but we are not the ones to determine them and harm ourselves. If something screws up one day, don’t feel the need to drown yourself in negativity. Recognize what could change and work to do your best to improve the situation from that moment forward, without punishment. Dwelling on the past and our weaknesses does absolutely nothing for our lives.
Is there anything you have trouble letting go? Are there any ways you try to “punish” yourself? Restricting food, avoiding relationships, and constantly feeding myself a poor self image are the three I have used and still feel drawn to using when I don’t allow myself to move past disappointing moments.
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Tags: self-love reflections