A massive shift happened in my self love journey when I realized that when you stop forcing yourself to love every aspect of your body that’s when you began to actually love yourself.
When I first began my self love journey the thought of loving parts of my body that clearly did not serve me was painful. I didn’t love it. I didn’t want to experience the body I was given.
In 2010 I was a highly competitive gymnastic champion with dreams of becoming a NCAA collegiate gymnastic on scholarship. The best part? I was well on my way to achieving it. However, when I was 14 my dreams were crushed in a blink of an eye. I was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma bone cancer which resulted in an amputation. Because of my new body, I couldn't be the gymnast I dreamt of.
During this time, which was the darkest time of my life, I had to do some massive soul searching. When I beat cancer I realized that as I laid on the couch in my depression refusing to start again, I was letting cancer beat me. I wasn't living a life worth fighting for.
My healing began when I accepted my life before cancer wasn't my life anymore. My healing began when I owned my new reality and wanted to live a life worth fighting for despite all the pain I was carrying.
I had to accept that my life was different, but I learned that it could still be amazing. My future was up to me. My future was in my hands and only my hands.
During this journey I tried to focus on who I am and what I have to offer, NOT what my body looked like…. Well at least that was the goal...
Here’s the thing. When you start ACCEPTING the body you were given, the journey to love can finally begin.
After my amputation, I used to think if I could hide these “unsavory” parts then maybe people would treat me like everyone else. Maybe if I could disguise my leg or hide my scars no one would question my worth.
The truth is everyone knows. Everyone sees you hiding your pain, not because they can visibly see it, but because of the way you show up. You are showing up in a place of inner unworthiness, inner pain, inner self consciousness. You’re not fooling anyone.
However, when you ACCEPT your body, your mind, yourself as you ARE. And you show up & take up space DESPITE your differences THAT is the moment the real change and work begins. That is when you can begin the process to love all the parts of yourself, one at a time, one moment at a time. That is when no one's words or actions can hurt you, because you know treatment of you from others has NOTHING to do with YOU & everything to do with THEM. That is when you know you’re perfect the way you are & you don’t NEED to change or be for anyone else except for YOURSELF.
You hold the POWER in how you want to EVOLVE. YOU hold the power to change the things on your body or mind because YOU WANT TO. You hold the power of how you take up space, & THAT is why self acceptance & self love is SO important.
I want to share with you that this journey doesn't need to be done alone. There is often a lot of pain in the process from self hatred to self love. There’s a lot to unpack & heal within yourself while you learn to accept yourself.
For me, I unpacked a lot of my pain with a Cognitive Behavior Therapist who used a lot of Mindfulness techniques in her practice.
I used to hold on to pain that wasn’t my own, beliefs others put on me and I took for truth, and experiences I had that I interpreted as a reflection of me, regardless of how wrong and painful they were.
When I dove into these beliefs and why they existed within me there was a lot of pain involved. I had to ask myself the hardest questions to reprogram my beliefs. I had to reevaluate relationships in my life that were keeping me in a cycle of self pain.
I’ll be honest, the beginning was a lonely process but if you’re just starting please know it gets better. Some people may not be in your life and others will see your progress and want that for themselves, too and they will grow with you.
I am sharing this because I believe the journey from self loathing to self love is one you shouldn’t do alone. It’s a journey I recommend hiring someone to help you with in the beginning. I have developed so many tools from my therapist, sports therapist, and mindset coaches that I take with me and use every single day to keep me on a path of self love and motivation.
I, even now, use the help from mindset coaches (at this stage in my journey that is what I align with) to help me stay focused on what truly matters: being the best version of who I am and focusing on what I bring to this world to help heal it.
We have SO much more to offer this world than what we look like. Our gifts, our passion, our voice is what matters not the flesh you're born in. When we step into our power, our purpose, and our voice we can truly live a life worth fighting for.