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National Eating Disorders Awareness Week: Day Seven. LOVE.

March 4, 2012

Today is the final day of my National Eating Disorders Awareness Week series here on this blog. It has been a joy to write this week and to have all of you read. If you have any questions or suggestions for future posts, please do not hesitate to comment below!

If you read about one thing this week on my blog, or if you took one thing in, I honestly hope it is this.

One of the most powerful quotes I have ever read was from one of Geneen Roth’s books titled When Food is Love. She says “Love and compulsion cannot coexist.” Basically, if you are feeling terrible about yourself, your body, or your food choices, there is no room for love.

Do you know what that means? There can be no love when there is obsession. I’m pretty sure you can’t live in love if you are constantly thinking about how you aren’t good enough. You know, a lot of people think they will fall in love or find love, or love themselves if they just lose weight (or get perfect grades or get the perfect job or have a lot of money, etc.). And in my personal opinion, I think we are moving throughout our lives and making decisions in order to find love. Love, to me, is the point of living life. I don’t just mean “falling” in love with a person, but living in love.

But here’s the deal: Love doesn’t come in a package after you lose weight or get something that society seems worthy. You may be proud, or esteemed, or popular, but none of those things are actually what you’re heart is yearning for. In my opinion, love comes before any of that. The love part is what you work at. Not all of that other shit that everyone thinks is important.

Right now, right this second, you are deserving and worthy of love. It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday, how much you ate today, what job you have, what your past was like. You are worthy and deserving of love because you are a human being. You are alive, and you therefore deserve love.

During my first post, I told you all that I decided to bust my ass that second time in therapy. What that means is that I didn’t follow a step by step program, or follow a certain path to “recovery,” but that I did the extremely difficult work of love. You may have noticed that I haven’t given you a concrete definition or even what loving yourself looks like. That’s because there isn’t a picture of it that is the same for everyone. For me, loving myself meant buying new clothes in my size, constantly telling myself that I was pretty and deserving, and appreciating all of my personality traits and weird quirks. It meant touching every lump and bump in my body and speaking a kind and loving word to it. It meant writing on my mirror (and it’s still there in my childhood room): ‘The most BEAUTIFUL girl in the world.”

I also think that the love thing is one of the hardest principles of recovery, and life, to keep up. There are so many people, advertisements, and societal rules that tell you it’s not okay to love yourself, because there is always improving to do. Which is bullshit.

So, what I do is continue to think daily about what it means to love myself. Maybe it means sleeping all day (which is basically what I did today). Maybe it means doing my make up differently. Maybe it means taking an extra fifteen minutes in the shower. Or not doing all of my homework. Maybe it means getting all of my stuff done early because I know I will enjoy the difficulty and pride that comes with it. Or maybe it means waiting till the last minute. There are so many concrete things that can go into loving who you are and being loving toward yourself, but there is no concrete way that it looks to anyone one person. Every person is a human being and deserving of love, but every person is also a completely unique and different human being. Love is different and looks different to everyone.

So, the reason I put “love love love” at the end of a lot of my posts is because love is the true thing that helped me recover and which also allows me to actually live my life with joy and integrity. Love is the purpose to my life and why I continue to do the things I do.

That being said: love love love.

Happy National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, everyone.

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