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Self Love is Key

Lasting Bulimia Recovery and Thriving in Life


Self Love Is…Self Love Bulimia Help

Enjoying being you.

Trusting yourself.

Being able to laugh at yourself.

Surrounding yourself with friends who care about you.

Talking to yourself in a caring and kind manner.

Forgiving yourself every time you make a mistake.

Smiling from the inside out.

Following your intuition.

Setting boundaries with others and sticking to them.

Having fun just because.

Feeling good about yourself.

Letting go of shame, blame and complaining.

Spending time with positive people who give you energy, rather than take it away.

Self love is not…

Adapting who you are so others will like you.

Comparing yourself to others, especially models or celebrities.

Living life for someday (“someday when I am thin enough then I’ll be happy”).

Allowing people’s opinions of you to make you sad.

Giving more than you have to give to others.

Running on empty.

Denying yourself pleasure, enjoyment and fun.

Hiding yourself from the world out of fear people will reject you.

Abusing your body.

Talking to yourself in mean, hurtful ways or saying abusive things.

Beating yourself up for making a mistake.

Being perfect.

What Does Self Love have to do with Bulimia Recovery?

I’m so glad you asked.  I’m reminded of Oprah’s Magazine where she has a section that says “What I know for sure is…”.  In my recovery, if there’s anything I know for sure it is that without a healthy love of self, life continues to feel like suffering and there can be no lasting recovery.

I think one of the reasons I fell into my addictive behaviors as a teenager was at first due to insecurities about my body and self image.  It’s pretty common for teenagers to not feel comfortable with our developing body, especially without healthy female role models around us.  That was the case for me and I went on into my 20’s and even 30’s still binging and purging.  I had plenty of opportunities as a more mature woman to develop a health self image, but somehow I didn’t seem to and that’s why I relapsed all those years.

As I look back now, as a bulimic I was not able to develop into a woman with a strong identity – as real sense of ME. I never really identified with my female body and didn’t appreciate who I was as a human being.  Until I was able to love and accept ME for ME, I was lost.  Adrift.  Swept away by any stress or trigger that I allowed overtake me and fell back into relapse.  I had not developed a rooted sense of self that would not waiver.

I finally came to love myself and to realize that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of me, or the circumstances of my life.  I eventually developed that inner self love.  It is my inner strength, self worth and esteem that now carries me through the periods of loneliness, the lowest of low days, and the most challenging of situations.  It’s my deep sense of self now that replaces any hole I once had in my heart that I tried to fill with food.  Recovery to me means replacing the emptiness with the self – a loving, worthy self.

Self Esteem – It’s an Inside Job

Self esteem is essentially how you feel about yourself as a human being – how you see yourself.   I’d say it’s your attitude about who you are. Whether you feel you’re deserving of love and good things is up to you.  Whether you feel you are a good person towards others is up to you.  How you feel you should be treated by others is up to you.

Your level of self esteem, or self worth, is up to you to set.  Your value on the scale of worth is up to you to determine.  It’s like establishing the price for a piece of unique art.  How much you think it’s worth can be completely contrary to the value another person would put upon it.  The same is true for how you set your own value or worth as an individual.

Funny thing about self esteem is it’s totally independent of all external forces unless you allow it to be influenced by them.  People whose self esteem is easily influenced by external factors (the approval of others) tend to gravitate toward those from whom acceptance and love cannot easily be found. We flee from those who want us and pursue the rejecters.

Often we learned while growing up that when we did something good our parents rewarded, acknowledged and showed us affection or we made friends easily by pleasing others. It’s usually how we learned to garner worth and value. Giving away our power by allowing our self worth to be determined by others leaves us constantly seeking the approval and affection of other people. Genuine self-esteem, or self love, goes beneath external influences to inherent worth and value. Self love is constant.  It is not situational.  It is enduring, rather than fleeting. It is unconditional love of one’s self.

How to Learn to Love Yourself – Developing Your Self Esteem

Just like any perception we have our self esteem can be changed in an instant.  While this is true, we as human beings like to hold onto our perceptions because they somehow serve us.  You think your low perception of yourself is somehow serving you, but instead it’s really keeping you from love and happiness.

A quick self-assessment – Self-esteem is based on an accurate self-assessment. You can prepare an accurate self-assessment of yourself by listing your positive and negative traits on a piece of paper or in your journal.  Then, go back and clean up the negative statements by making the statements factual, not judgmental.

I know you want to overcome bulimia so let’s see what we can do to get you to let go of your low self esteem and start the process of loving YOU today.

Shame and Self Esteem

A lot of the recovery processes are aimed at rebuilding self-esteem and primarily that means reducing the feelings of shame. Faith and fear are opposites.  So, too, are shame and self-esteem and the more we have of one, the less we have of the other. It’s the shame we carry around that eats us alive. Letting go of any shame you’re carrying around is actually an act of self-love.

Rebuilding our self-esteem also means exposing our inner critic.  You know the one I mean.  That little voice inside that shames us…blames us when things go wrong.  It’s that harsh inner voice that calls it luck when something goes right in our life. That inner critic is our own worst enemy and a liar.  I call it the monkey mind.

Our monkey mind exaggerates our failures.

It calls us ugly names and tells us we’re fat.


It drives us to do things perfectly and points out when we fall short.

This critical voice may be so familiar to us we hardly notice its destructive hold it has upon us.

Recovery is about coming to our own assistance. In doing so, we match our healing action steps to our unique histories, giving ourselves today what we didn’t get then. If we were falsely empowered as children, says author Pia Mellody, we need first and foremost to base our sense of self-esteem on the concept of inherent worth. We stop controlling, manipulating and caretaking others, focusing instead on self-care and interdependence. Self-care is not selfish. It’s not a character flaw to ask for help! We learn to love ourselves in the face of our humanity – as human beings rather than human doings.

If we felt dis-empowered or told we were worthless as kids, we need to develop self-esteem from inherent worth. Inherent worth to me means loving ourselves just for being who we are.  It doesn’t come from comparing ourselves to others.  It doesn’t involve looking at what we have or have not accomplished.  Inherent worth is the way dog loves their owner – unconditionally.

You Are Worthy

When it comes to self worth we have a choice. We can choose self-love and stand tall in who we are. We can let go of the old and open ourselves to new possibilities.  We remember that recovery isn’t about changing who we are but rather letting go of who we are not.

I want to share with you a favorite poem that speaks to me about self love.  The poem is titled “Our Deepest Fear” from Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

This is a wonderful reminder to us as we walk the recovery path.  I remind you to BE who you ARE.  Liberate yourself from your fears, fall in love with your true self and live who you’re meant to be.   Love yourself unconditionally. You have my blessing that in hearing this you will finally come to know that you are worthy.  You will finally accept and love yourself without limitations.

Now your turn: Create reminders to practice self love every day.  Write down one of these self love thoughts on a post it and carry around with you.  Post it in your bedroom at home or on your computer at the office.  Remind yourself that self love is a decision, an attitude and take on loving yourself unconditionally for the next 30 days.  Be your own best friend.  Treat yourself and talk to yourself like you were talking to your best friend.

Self love is…

Enjoying being you.

Trusting yourself.

Being able to laugh at yourself.

Surrounding yourself with friends who care about you.

Talking to yourself in a caring and kind manner.

Forgiving yourself every time you make a mistake.

Smiling from the inside out.

Following your intuition.

Setting boundaries with others and sticking to them.

Having fun just because.

Feeling good about yourself.

Letting go of shame, blame and complaining.

Spending time with positive people who give you energy, rather than take it away.