How To Learn to Love Yourself Despite Years of Self-Hatred (guest post)

Guest Post By Fellow VIP Fiit Chick Stefania R El-Khoury

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“How To” learn to love yourself despite years of self-hatred.

I hadn’t realised how hard and confronting writing the following would be. I guess although I always knew the road was hard, the real magnitude of the struggle was lost in the daily motions.

So I’ll emphasise it one more time: It ISN’T easy to change your mindset, it ISN’T easy to love yourself but it sure as hell is WORTH not waking up filled with self-hatred every day.

Please note that the below ISN’T professional advice, it is just a recount of what helped me to overcome my negative feelings towards myself phrased in a way that MAY help you.

I hope that it is received with the good faith I have written it in.

As promised, here are the tools I used to start to love myself:

1) The survival instinct

A very important piece in the puzzle was realising that if I didn’t take care of my body, I would die.

It’s that moment when you put it in very factual terms that you realise that no matter what your body looks like, you’ll take it. Because it’s the only thing keeping you alive.

2) Forget the numbers

I can never stress this one enough. F#ck them right off. I mean it, NOW! Scales, pounds, kilos, calories, grams (as in EXACT serving sizes); delete this from your brain immediately. They do not define you.

Concentrating on these meaningless and often triggering calculation will leave you too exhausted to even try to start thinking positively, so don’t even bother.

Actively seek to avoid all numbers, I used to black out labels in my food, and I threw away my scales and all measuring devices for food.

3) Positive affirmations

You have no idea how much I didn’t believe a single word I used to write or say to myself in the first few months of practising positive affirmations.

I couldn’t even keep a straight face when claiming “you’re beautiful, I accept you just as you are”, I’d screw up my nose and silently debate in my head how NOT beautiful I was.

But with time, the negation became quieter and quieter, until the whispers faded and the positivity remains nice and loud.

4) Challenge the negative thoughts

When the negative thoughts fight back and try to overpower the positive affirmations I diffuse the thoughts with neutral statements.

SO for example, when “you’re beautiful” is met with “no you’re not, you’re fat!” I challenge the thought with “Weight does not equal beauty” or “I’m a good, kind person and so I should be kind to myself”.

Sometimes tackling thoughts head on is too tiring, so it’s best to take a more mellow approach, one that doesn’t try to prove the negative thoughts wrong, but rather makes them irrelevant.

5) Become in tune with your body

The first time I did a yoga class, I felt stupid. The second time, I started actually concentrating on how my body felt and how far my mind could push it to reach a little further, or balance a little longer.

It was in this class that I burst out crying.

I had never stopped to ask my body what it wanted before. I had never stopped to take a deep breath in and listen to what it was saying. Let your body be your guide and stop letting your mind overrule your body’s intuition.

They work together in perfect balance, when you start letting one take more priority over the other, you lose sight of what you actually NEED.

I now make decisions about my body based on how my body FEELS, not based on what my mind demands or tries to tell me it wants.

I always consult with my body first, before a run, during a run, before a meal, after a meal, when deciding whether to keep watching TV or go to bed.

What does your body want?

6) Decide who you want to be

Write a list of 5 qualities you want to possess; they cannot be physical.

Do you want to be disciplined? Kind? Resilient? Worldly? Adventurous? Once you have those top 5 qualities (you can write more if you want) work out how you’re going to grow and cultivate these attributes, and once you have it all mapped out start working towards that.

You’ll find fitness intertwines with a lot of the goals we want to achieve (i.e. discipline will encompass all aspects of your life).

That’s when I started to realise that my body was a part of a network, and that I had to work with it to be able to reach my goals. Without my body and mind in the best health I could offer it, how can they support me on my journey to the person I want to be?

7) Smile and laugh

The lucky last. ENJOY yourself. Get rid of anything and anyone that does not make you happy.

Even if it once did, if it no longer does, cut it out. Surround yourself with love, laughter and joy.

Soak in all the positivity from what you’ve chosen to keep around, and try to see the humour in everything. It’s the little things that can make a difference, and I’ve learnt to smile about little things rather than wait for the big game changers; a sunny day, the feel in my legs after a sprint, the warmth I feel when I get a hug, my first sip of coffee in the morning.
It all counts.

I hope this can give you ladies some inspiration to start working on your own challenges.

Above all, I believe that love promotes change, and if you wish to change you must first learn to love yourself.

Leave a comment below on what number rings true to you at this time.

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