30 days of self love – the deeper issues

Posted: September 28, 2010 at 9:00 am

Too often we deny ourselves of the love and respect we deserve. We do so by shying away when others give it or through keeping a cruel commentary of our worth running through our own minds. For me, a lack of self-love manifests itself in telling myself “I am not good enough” in a variety of ways.

  • “I’m not lean enough”.
  • “I’m not a good enough mom”.
  • “I’m not strong enough”.
  • “I’m not caring enough”.
  • yada yada yada….


Most of the time, those sayings and feelings arise when I face other difficult emotions and don’t know how to handle them. I used to cruelly nitpick at my appearance and call myself chubby, plain, unattractive, someone nobody would want, and so much more. I battled a lot more than just a diminished confidence in my appearance, though – feelings of hatred, hurt, fear, troubling relationships with many around me, stress from school. Even today, I have to watch myself when things get stressful. My “fat days” often coincide with the days I have trouble accomplishing everything I hoped.


So many times, I discover that I do not in fact feel “fat”. Instead I feel overwhelmed and realize I need to give myself a break. Or I have something I need to share with someone who may have hurt my feelings a bit. Before I used food to shove down and hide the emotions I truly felt. Then, I began to use negative words to bury myself.

Over the years, I have gotten pretty good at pinpointing where a negative thought really comes from. Most of the time a source exists. Figuring out what instigates my frustrations helps me stop the negative thoughts before they consume me. That isn’t to say I have an “a-ha moment” and then everything turns fine and dandy afterwards. It simply helps me more appropriately face the issue at hand, without causing unnecessary damage to myself in the process.


Do you think you use negative talk or harmful physical actions (such as binging, over-exercising, restricting, not sleeping, etc) as a way to cover up deeper feelings? Why do you think we do this? Any tips for recognizing the true source of our frustrations? I liked to simply ask “Why?” about everything. Whenever I feel myself getting emotional or negative I ask “why?”. I don’t deny my feelings, but when I realize the source often I realize its insignificance and move on naturally.


41 Comments to “30 days of self love – the deeper issues”
  1. ABSOLUTLEY! Deeper feelings are uncomfortable and people have such a hard time with discomfort. This builds up more and more to the point that we are SCARED to feel our feelings like something horrible is going to happen.

    Ironically, when we do actually feel what we avoid, we end up growing and accepting ourselves. The discomfort is worth it, and you will not die from feeling a feeling.


  2. Felicia says:

    I am so happy to have found your blog. You are pinpointing everything, and I can relate in so many ways. I am extremely hard on myself at times, probably 90% of the time I am negative and only 10% can I find something good, and thats forcing it. I recognize how negative I’ve become, and think about how I use to be kinder to myself and embrace everything about me. I’m still working on that now..
    I’ve become much better at figuring out what triggers binge eating and my attitude, and I’m slowly trying to improve. My biggest battle right now is trying to not freak out if I ate a bite of something that I normally wouldn’t, or my workout wasn’t hard enough. Ugh. Sorry for the ramble! But your posts really hit the spot sometimes!

    • Tina says:

      Ramble away. I love hearing others’ thoughts and if it helps to get some of them out, then go for it. 🙂 I’m glad you’re recognizing and focusing on progress you have made already. And there will only be more to come.

  3. I really try to catch myself before too much negative comes out. I also ask myself why and there is almost always a reason.

  4. I definitely engage in negative talk — it gets in the way of everything. Small comments at work turn into mountains of bad thoughts in my head. If I am getting dressed and something doesn’t fit, I immediately think to myself that I am lazy, fat, worthless, ugly and boring. I know that sounds harsh, but its true.

    Now when the negative talk starts, I counter it with truths: when I feel bad at work, I remind myself that I work hard and do my best. When I feel bad about my body, I remind myself that I *feel* good and I look at what I do like about my body: my waist, my strong arms, my long hair, etc. It definitely helps!

  5. Jess says:

    I think my problem is that I honestly have a hard time accepting that others see me as beautiful, strong, smart, etc. So when someone pays me a compliment, it’s so much easier to just brush it off than to TAKE the compliment and say “thank you.” I always fear I’ll come across as vain or overconfident if I take a compliment. But really – that’s a confidence thing, saying “thank you” versus brushing it off, right? Not vanity. So it’s totally ok to accept a compliment, right??

    • Tina says:

      Agreed. Taking a compliment isn’t vain. The person gives it to you openly, so in my mind its almost become more rude to deny it. I used to always brush off compliments too. At first, I would accept them but still not believe them. But the less I denied them, the more I believed and felt them too. 🙂

  6. I 100% agree this is why *most* people do this. I can speak from experience in my past as well. I used controlling what I ate as fear for other things.

    I’m really excited you offered to write a letter for my “Letters to Me” campaign, I think it fits in perfectly with your amazing “30 Days of Self Love”!

    Have a great day!!!! XOXOX

  7. “You are not good enough” is something that I tell myself nearly everyday. I never realized that I did this or how much I did this. The more I said that, the more I believed that and the more I responded to that belief. That false belief is what led to food restriction, bingeing, exercising solely for calorie burn and many nights convincing myself to stay home rather than be with friends. The list goes on.

    That belief would build up inside of me and out of anger I would restrict food, out of shame and upset I would binge, out of the decision to take control I would restrict again. What a cycle!

    I am still working on that voice. What helps me is actually talking to the voice. I have a little convo with it. I take deep breaths, I tell myself that the voice is not true, I tell myself that I am wonderful. I give myself self LOVE. Who knew!!! 🙂

    It does work. Over time it gets better.

  8. Lori Lynn says:

    Wow, I was actually just thinking about that today, and that is something that I struggle with a lot. It is hard not to let the “negative thoughts” control your mind and pull you deeper down. I have a hard time with balance, and seem to go with extremes. I’m usually all or nothing, restrict or go overboard. I think it’s when I start focusing too much on self, and not on God.

  9. Very interesting idea. I never thought about why I have negative thoughts or self-hatred moments. Siting and thinking about it without feeling angry about myself, I can’t seem to recall what triggers those moments. Hopefully I can remember this post in the future.

  10. Maren says:

    Your posts always point out something about myself that I need to look at or work on. Again today I’m sitting here contemplating myself.

  11. When I start to “feel” fat, I always know something is up. I mean, you can FEEL fat.

    Feeling means you are feeling some sort of emotion—sadness, happiness, boredom, anxiety, fear, etc

    When I start feeling fat, I stop myself and try to figure out what it is that Im really feeling.

  12. Lisa says:

    Binging is definitely my biggest struggle. When I am the most stressed I binge to distract myself from the anxiety that I feel. It calms me down. Its like, I think I cannot get school work done or I think I cannot handle a situation, when in reality I can. I just dont trust myself and my abilities. So to distract myself from the anxiety, I binge and overeat.

  13. i know in my case it was a way to cover up the feeling of not being good enough, of wanting perfection, and not seeing that “perfection” in my life. but now i’ve seen that perfection means living an imperfect life with a perfect savior! and since realizing that i’ve seen my life get so much sweeter 🙂

  14. Another fantastic post on an important subject. I’ll be writing about it later, once I’ve digested it and had time to think about my deeper issues.

  15. Holly says:

    I think we often times choose to do things like restrict, overeat, etc. when we don’t want to accept a certain feeling….like, there is such a negative connotation for depression and loneliness, it’s easier to “use” other coping mechanisms rather than sit and sort through your feelings. I’m to the point where I’m aware when I’m doing this, now it’s just that I have to try and STOP myself…

  16. Too often I used food as a way of covering up my true emotions/struggles. For me, sitting down with my journal is the best way to figure out what’s REALLY going on inside. Sometimes I’m really puzzled, and yet when I start to free-write it all comes spilling out.

  17. stacey heald says:

    Unless my pants button really is popping off I have learned that when I “feel fat” I really just am avoiding feeling something else. The frustrating part is slowing down enough to figure out what I’m avoiding.
    I love your last quote about understanding and acceptance. I’m working really hard on giving myself enough grace re: food behaviors recently so that I can try and recognize patterns and habits that I am normally not aware of. Until I acknowledege and accept why I do what I do I’ll never move forward. Thanks for the great reminder!
    Thanks for the pumpkin info. I got 4 big cans at Walmart this morning. And the correct new blog address is up now. Day one, here we go!

  18. Once again great topic. I am sad that in just a couple days this amazingness is going to be ending. Do you think it’s possible to have a monthly continuance of it?
    I believe that my thoughts and talk that I am not good enough stem from childhood moments. Moments where I feel that I am not thin enough and pretty enough to deserve my husband, stem from when a past boyfriend cheated on me. Moments where I feel that my skin isn’t pretty and I should go to means to make it prettier, stem from 6th grade when a classmate of mine pointed out my pimple and said if you have pimples then you are ugly.
    Moments when I eat an extra piece of cake, stem from my mother and father pointing out, oh you love the sweets that means you will get fat.
    It’s frustrating that these moments have happened way in the past, and have rippled into my adult life. Those moments affected the way I view my body. They took away in those moments the power in myself to see beauty within myself.
    Now, I am working towards finding the power WITHIN MYSELF to see my inner beauty. Surround myself with positivity and challenge those negative thoughts. Reflect on them and pretty much punch them in the face! 🙂 No matter who you are or who has created moments in your past, become empowered to take control over your thoughts and know that you are beautiful 🙂

  19. homecookedem says:

    I used to overeat/restrict all the time out of frustrations with myself all the time. I noticed a major change in myself yesterday though. I had a HORRIBLE day at work. I mean awful… and I found that I wanted to do things like take a bubble bath, light some candles, and pray to help clear my frustrations. I didn’t turn to food. It was an amazing feeling.

  20. Ela says:

    I’m going to blog on this one today -but wanted to share the link to what I wrote for yesterday when I was unable to get online but was still thinking about self-love!



  21. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jolene @TBDetermined and Tina Reale, Tina Reale. Tina Reale said: 30 days of self love – the deeper issues: Too often we deny ourselves of the love and respect we deserve. We do so… http://bit.ly/9ZB1p2 […]

  22. Butter says:

    Have learned a lot over time about that darn “inner cynic” that can get the best of us at times. This post reminded me of a note I got in a fortune cookie years ago that I still carry in my wallet today – “The thing in us that we fear just wants our love”.

  23. Ela says:

    Ok! Here’s my today’s blog – thanks for posting such an awesome topic.


    love and gratitude,

  24. Like most women, I do have a certain amount of negative talk running around in my brain. I am getting better as I get older (as long as I don’t look in the mirror too often!) The only time I have never physically harmed myself to cover up deeper feelings was when I allowed myself to gain weight during my marriage. I didn’t binge, but slowly the pounds came on, and I believe it was a way to hide (I didn’t really the physical attention of someone who tended to be drunk every night) and to cover up the unhappiness (as Fat Bastard says in Austin Powers, I eat because I am unhappy and I am unhappy because I eat…)

    I think it is hard for women (people) to be honest with themselves about the source of their frustrations, because once you identify it (and admit it to yourself) you often feel the responsibility to act, and sometimes that is hard to do, let alone even have to contemplate (Do I confront someone about something they said/did to me? Do I leave? Do I change jobs?)

    Thanks again, for another thought provoking message!

  25. Jennifer says:

    “All too often ‘good enough’ is where the weak heart stops. It keeps the very best in us from rising to the top.”

    This was the saying the football coach in H.S. made his team memorize. He also had it posted in his classroom. Combine that with two brothers who played and these words have been roaring at me for YEARS! While I agree that it is great to strive for things in life, it took me time to realize that I used these words not as the motivation they intended to inspire, but as a way to put myself down for not reaching the highest possible standards. I would tell myself that I was weak because I wouldn’t give everything 100%

    Sometimes it’s ‘good enough’ to be the best I can be right in the moment. 100% looks different depending on timing, stress, relationships, etc.

    I try when possible to remind myself of this when my negative self talk creeps in. Being realistic about achievements and goals helps!

    Also…I’m a HUGE procrastinator. It’s practically an art form. So these days when I’m “feeling fat” and want to eat, I try to pinpoint what job I’m putting off! Once it’s finally out of the way, I feel like a productive citizen and the urge to eat fades.

    Man I tend to write a lot! You are sometimes my journal at the end of the day. 😉 Feel free to skim! It’s just helpful for me to blabber sometimes!

    • Tina says:

      I always read it all. 🙂 I like hearing your thoughts.

      And I really, really like what that coach said! I need to write that somewhere.

  26. […] Posted on September 28, 2010 by tarynehanson Today’s 30 Days of Self Love reflection deals with the deeper issues we hide when we nitpick and criticize ourselves, then proceed to […]

  27. Kristy says:

    Honestly – Since my mom didnt focus on this topic too much while I was growing up I had to battle self love on my own. Today – I’m thankful for that b/c the bond I have with myself is so much stronger b/c it was mostly my own imfluence 🙂 Sweet Post!

  28. […] at the pointy end of this challenge and these last few themes look a bit scary. Today’s, The deeper issues, will surely involve some introspection. Not that I have a problem with navel-gazing; I spend much […]

  29. Deborah says:

    Today I tried to think about some of my bad habits and look at WHY I do some of the things I do.

    I admit that I don’t always know… not in the moment anyway. Hindsight is an amazing thing!

    I also wonder if actually KNOWING that I’m doing something unhealthy is almost as good as knowing why I do it.



  30. […] today’s reflection on self-love, Tina talks about using negative self-talk or behavior as a shield or smoke-screen to avoid dealing with the real, […]

  31. Xandria says:

    I definitely cry myself to sleep when I don’t know what to do otherwise for my emotions. They always make me feel exhausted. But I could probably decide to exercise even more instead.

  32. […] at the pointy end of this challenge and these last few themes look a bit scary. Today’s, The deeper issues, will surely involve some introspection. Not that I have a problem with navel-gazing; I spend much […]

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