I took the off-road journey to self-love: the white knuckling, dust-in-the-mouth, barren path of addiction. My body became a shell and I nearly died. Yet in the most wondrous of ways, my heart was broken wide open.
For eight years, whilst an outwardly ambitious grad student and young professional, I had a major eating disorder. It consumed my thoughts, smothered my esteem and ravaged by body.
Each day saw the obsessive pursuit of easy-to-purge foods and a subsequent quest for rarely visited public toilets so I could be sick in private. A particularly harsh inner critic demolished my self worth with jeers of, “You are not smart enough. You are not pretty enough. You are a failure.”
From the outside, this didn’t make sense: I was well educated, attractive and diligently taking the proper steps I had been taught would bring fulfillment and success. I held prestigious jobs in Washington, D.C. and New York City. I had talented friends and fell into the embrace of kind boyfriends.
Shame and Guilt: the Crucible of Self-Hatred
Like any addiction, eating disorders are all consuming. They gobble up every thought and toss esteem to the curb. Shame and guilt formed my crucible of self-hatred whilst a pronounced heart arrhythmia often left me faint and soaking with sweat in fear of dying.
Only when my mind and body could bare no more, I heard my dear heart’s whispers: “Love me. Please, love me.”
Steadily, the whispers grew into melody and I gained the courage to listen. Through inner listening, I felt a growing desire to really live. Not as a hollow shell, but in full expression. I felt a desire to live fearlessly.
Such Force it Took to Crack Open My Heart
During early morning, as light streamed from tall windows to bed, I gazed upon my dear boyfriend’s resting body and listened to rhythmic breath. In those poignant moments of being alone yet together, I understood that the depth of love I felt for him was a powerful emanation from inside of me.
This great, great love was pouring forth from the very source of my being. Always. In abundance. In fullness.
If I could offer him all of this great love, certainly I could offer myself this same love.
On that morning, love healed my wounds, my self-hatred and my pain. My eating disorder never returned. My journey of self-love and fearless living had begun.
The journey to self-love is created from the inside out.
It is a work in progress.
Continually revealed unto itself through our inherent unease and restlessness within status quo, average, normal; a force so powerful it breaks through wrappings of ignorance, hurts and concealment.
Then, we are left within our greatest nature: Love itself, abiding, abundant, inclusive.
Please note that my personal journey included dedicated study, reflection and therapeutic support with professionals. If you have an addiction, I invite you to participate in a journey of self-love. A new life awaits, more wondrous than you can imagine.
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