August 10, 2020

How to Love Ourselves when We were Never Taught How.

I wasn’t taught how to show love or how to love myself.

I wasn’t taught what healthy love looks like or feels like. I wasn’t taught how to value myself.

For those who cared for me were stuck in their own cycles of self-sabotage, unhappiness, and self-judgment—and often, in a constant state of denial from their own harsh judgments against themselves.

We, as women, are fed a distorted view of perfection as girls, and punish ourselves with constrictions and obsessions about our appearance. I was told once that when one of my family members was a teenager, she went on a diet that consisted of one egg and one carrot a day to sustain her. I think for two weeks or a month.

How do so many of us get into this place of such judgment against ourselves?

These fears and self-defeating beliefs that I was brought up with soaked into me. I became anorexic throughout most of my high school years. I became obsessed with performance and appearance. I won races and hid behind the success. It fueled me to be better and do more and more.

All of this led to deep self-hate, self-judgment, shame, blame, and fear of inadequacy in nearly all forms of my own body. This distortion of perfection leaked into the pores of my being without me even knowing it. This led to years of me obsessing about eating, not eating, being aware of the calories and sugar and fat—of nearly everything.

Wellness and working out—both sides of the same coin. On the one hand, I was so obsessive about my wellness and training that it harmed me, but on the other hand, running was the only thing that did save me from myself. In time, I grew to understand my weakness. I knew I needed to nourish myself to be stronger, to be my best, and to do my best performance.

The rain with the sun. Running gave me a positive outlet—to release my anger, my fears, my confusions of life. It allowed me time to think, to breathe, and to be—simply feeling and connecting to my own self.

Often, training was early. Many mornings were just me and my breath. Watching my breath move in and out my body as it floated in the cold morning air.

I fell in love with the outside world more because of running. I fell in love with the lines of Earth, the shadows, the smells, the air itself. I am from Montana, where there is nothing but land. So you either love it or you hate it.

I needed it. It was my medicine—my purpose. I learned to trust what I’m capable of because of it. So ultimately, running saved my life in many ways. It taught me that with focus, power, persistence, and will—almost anything can be done.

Someone in my family said something to me the other day. They apologized for my upbringing after having just read an article. I said, “We all have our stuff. We all have different experiences growing up. It’s done now. Now, as an adult, it is my job to understand it and clear it out.”

I am still unraveling this package of entwined judgment on myself. I believe it may take my whole life to unravel it completely. For it’s not just those who are close to me who carry this distorted vision of perfection—it’s our entire society, world…everywhere. In magazines, in social media, in movies, in how we value women’s bodies. Our bodies.

We have carried this distorted vision of a design for so long and it is so far out of alignment. The power of who we are has been stripped. Suppressing us from our depth of power as priestesses and divine designers. It has suppressed our sensuality. It has been force-fed to nearly all of us women from the time we could walk and talk.

Be admirable, be sexy, have no cellulite, have no wrinkles, have no pleasure, have no satisfaction for yourself. You are here to be of service, to take care of others, to mother, to organize, to mutate into mundane, to support your man.

This is what we are taught.

And it needs to change.

I will never live a mundane life, nor one I am not proud of creating. We are the divine designers of our own lives and alignment.

I have been practicing yoga, moving, taking quiet walks and runs, painting, drawing, writing, meditating, and reading since I was a young child. This is and was how I have maneuvered through these mountains of muted malnutrition.

I read the Tao when I was 12. I was born curious of spirituality and duality. Books have been my builder, my way to detach from the distorted vision of perfection. Books and years of release, unwind, and unravel are now leading me to my truth. My imperfect perfection.

I am taking the power back. Designing in alignment with me.

My pulse, my beat, my being.

I create my joy, my pleasure, my happiness.

No one else does.

I am the divine designer of my own energy, my own life, and I get to decide how I am going to live it.

We are all the designers of our own lives.

Let’s all create a life in alignment with who we truly are.

This week I dare you to expose yourself to something uncomfortable. Bare your bones to your own truth. Bare your body, your soul, your Spirit to something you fear, something you hide from, something you hold in.

Share in comments below your experience.



Read 2 Comments and Reply

Read 2 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Jennie Peterson  |  Contribution: 1,625

author: Jennie Peterson

Image: paul b/flickr

Editor: Lisa Erickson

Relephant Reads:

See relevant Elephant Video