Step 26 – Learn To Love Yourself

Hug_YourselWhat the experts say – Dr. Lissa Rankin who is the founder of Owning Pink Center writes a column for Psychology Today called Owning Pink.  In her July 2010 post she posited that “You will never achieve and maintain a healthy weight until you learn to love yourself, fat and all. If your weight loss is fueled by negative mind chatter and self-hatred, weight loss becomes punishment.”  She then goes on to say that you must practice loving acceptance of the divine radiant being that you are.  You must come to the realization that the spiritual aspect of our existence is perfect, whole and weightless regardless of what the world sees on the outside. “As long as you try to punish yourself into trying to lose weight, even if you wind up 100 pounds skinnier you will still hate yourself.” When you love yourself weight loss is sustainable. “Believe in yourself. Love Yourself. Be whole. You know you already are.”

How I did it – I started out heavy on the punishment side.  If I was in a committed relationship with myself I would have been guilty of domestic violence for sure.  I berated myself and held myself accountable for every moment of weakness.  Somewhere along the line someone asked me why I thought I was so much better and stronger than the rest of the planet.  I was holding myself to an impossible standard of performance and will power.  During one of my counseling sessions I took a test and one of the inventory questions was “Do you like yourself?” You’re supposed to answer the question with the first answer that pops into your head.  Problem was…I didn’t have an answer. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I was aware enough to realize that one of my coping mechanisms was having no answer to a tough question was just my way of saying no. That is when I realized I had a serious issue to deal with.  I started by making a list of the things I liked about myself, and then a list of the things I didn’t like, and a pattern emerged.  The things I liked about myself were real and substantive (Loving, honest, intelligent, loyal etc).  The things I didn’t like were based on shallow, worldly wants and desires. (Broke, fat, crappy car etc.) I had become “That Guy” you’ve seen him, the “One Up” King So busy trying to keep up with the Jones’ that he’s lost who he is along the way. I had to make peace with who I really wanted to be as a person and start loving on that guy and what’s more, allowing those who cared for me to love me too. It sounds easy, but it wasn’t. Divorce is never easy, but in the end Mr. One Up got screwed.  He got to keep all the disappointment and I got real relationships based on the love of a guy that in the end turned out not to be so bad after all. Winning!