I get it, it sucks. Recovery is a very difficult road, especially when it comes to loving yourself. Oftentimes, it seems like a never ending battle, with no hope of escape.
Take heart, there is hope!
I was the girl who starved herself, the one who cried herself to sleep at night because she was hungry. I remember standing in front of the fridge with my stomach growling out of control, and I specifically recall the tears that streamed down my face as I grabbed a bag of carrots attempting to ease my hunger.
At other times, that girl lost complete control. I understand what it feels like to down a pint of icecream, a bag of chips, 10 cookies, and then still want more. After, you always hate yourself more than when you started. It’s a never-ending cycle of despair.
My weight dropped drastically when I was anorexic. Feeling cold and weak, I still strived to lose that extra pound. I skipped parties and hanging out with friends for fear of food, and in the process I lost relationships.
Then, the tables turned
One day, after downing an entire box of laxatives to clear out my stomach after a binge, a wave of understanding hit me. I needed help and recovery. Slowly, but surely, I was killing myself. I could not stay in that place.
What I didn’t know was that recovery would be THE MOST DIFFICULT journey I had ever embarked on. I had grown to hate myself so much. Despised my personality, my body, my interactions with people and food. I wondered if it was possible to ever love myself again.
The truth is it WAS and IS possible to love yourself IN and AFTER recovery. Here are my top 10 ways to love yourself in recovery (and have fun too)
1. Lean into Jesus
- Above anything else, faith is the the catalyst that helped me love myself in recovery. In the Bible, Jesus showers His children with words of affirmation and love, and personally, that was the biggest encouragement to me in the midst of my deepest struggles. These are two verses that helped me love myself through Jesus’ love towards me.
Romans 8:38-39: For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 2:4-5: But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.
2. Surround Yourself With People Who Adore You
- In the midst of the darkest times, it is so important to surround yourself with people who LOVE YOU TO DEATH! Our natural tendencies want to retreat and seclude ourselves; however, surrounding yourself with people that make you laugh and smile is the absolute best thing.
3. Accept the fact that while you may not be where you want to be yet, you are NOT who you used to be.
- The devil likes to tempt us back into the places we used to be. When you mess up and relapse, he likes to whisper lies, telling you that this is who you’ll always be. That is NOT true! One slip up, one mistake, and you’re done. That’s it. Might as well stay like this forever. Don’t believe those lies! You are not who you were, you are NEW. Grasp hold to that truth, even when it seems like it’s not the truth.
4. Write out positive truths about yourself (even if you don’t yet believe them) and speak them out loud.
- Some examples may be:
- 1) You are beautiful
- 2) You are WORTHY of love
- 3) I am a daughter OR son of the king
- 4) I am a fighter
- 5) I am victorious
- 6) (my personal favorite) I am FREE
- 7) I am LOVED
- 8) I am STILL full of life
Put some affirmations in your journal or on your mirror and say them every day.
5. Allow yourself to take life SLOWLY
- Don’t feel like you need to jump back into how you were before your eating disorder or addiction. That’s not realistic. Allow yourself to ease back into things slowly. Go slowly enough to enjoy the things you CAN do. And for the things that are a mental challenge, understand that you WILL get to that place!
6. Hang around people that make you smile
- Find people that bring out the child in you and go be with them! Allow yourself to laugh and talk, while letting those people pour life into you. Your friends LOVE you!
7. Make some life goals!
- Make goals that aren’t related to recovery! You want to play on a certain sports team, but haven’t been able to exercise because of your eating disorder? Make a goal! You want to get accepted into a school? Make a goal! Follow your dreams! Remember the things that you love and set goals in place to get there!
8. Be PATIENT if relapse happens
- Sometimes, it happens. You’re on the road to recovery and then it happens again. How did I get here AGAIN? Remember, that you are not who you were! If you allow the devil to tempt you into thinking you are always destined to struggle, then you will always struggle. That is NOT your fate! Be patient in recovery.
9. Don’t compare!
- Don’t compare! This is YOUR journey, not someone else’s. Someone else may be farther along in recovery and that’s okay!
10. Find your inner child (back to number 6)
- No matter how dark a place your eating disorder or addiction brought you to, your inner child is is still inside of you! What makes you tick? Is it a quiet evening, a hike, a movie? Is it going out to dinner surrounded by your closest friends? Game night or a serene time reading a book? Find those things your inner child LOVES and do them!
Above all else, it is OKAY not to be okay. The truth is recovery takes time! It does not happen overnight. Step-by-step, moment-by-moment, you will recover and in the process discover how to love yourself again!
For more tips, I would love to talk to you! Feel free to contact me and share your recovery story. I want to get to know you!
Just remember: In body, mind, and soul, stay anchored.