Be Your Own Valentine. 5 Easy Ways To Plant Seeds of Self-Love to Support Your Bulimia Recovery.
Love Is In The Air.
It’s hard to escape. The reminder is everywhere. Cards, Chocolates & Hearts. And all this focus on LOVE tends to highlight what’s missing.
I remember when I was struggling with bulimia how overwhelmed I’d be with negative thoughts and feelings about myself and how self-love was most definitely not present. I’d constantly beat myself up, mentally and sometimes physically, for my failings of not being good enough, not looking good enough and my inability to stop bingeing and purging (even though I was desperate to do so).
Little did I know at the time that the more I said those hateful, negative things to myself the more habitual they became and the more ‘real’ they seemed: I came to believe I really was a horrid person, unworthy of love. The worse I felt, the more I binged and the more I binged and purged, the more I hated myself. I was caught in a vicious cycle.
Trapped in A Loop of Negativity, Self-Hatred & Shame.
And like so many people I speak to, I used to think that if I was mean enough to myself, I’d somehow motivate myself to change but all it did was trap myself in an endless loop of negativity, self-hatred and shame. Hindsight, however, is a great thing and I’ve since learnt that self-love, really valuing and honouring your worth, is a far better motivator than being self-critical and cruel. As Louise Hay says…
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Begin approving of yourself and see what happens”.
So, How About This Valentine’s Day, You Try Something Different?
Instead of just focusing on expressing your love for another, GIVE YOURSELF some love and affection too…
- Go buy yourself some flowers or better still, have them delivered!
- Post yourself a card, or
- Write and post yourself a love letter.
OK, they might sound a bit cheesy but seriously, they are actually very powerful things to do, so give one a go and see what happens.
And DON’T STOP THERE!
“LOVE isn’t just for Valentine’s Day but it’s a good place to start”
Now, if you’ve been struggling with bulimia for some time, it’s highly likely you speak more harshly and cruelly, and are far less forgiving of your mistakes, than you are to anyone else in your life. Months or years of being hard on yourself takes its toll and chips away at your confidence and self-esteem. It is incredibly easy to believe what you’re telling yourself, especially if those thoughts have become habitual.
It is Difficult to Consistently Out-Perform Your Predominate Thoughts.
Whilst your Inner Critic’s opinions are NOT “The Truth” about yourself, it is difficult to consistently out-perform these predominate thoughts and this is one of the reasons why you maybe struggling with your bulimia recovery. You perhaps know what you should be doing but, for some reason, you can’t always follow through.
“Of what use to make heroic vows of amendment, if the same old lawbreaker is to keep them” Ralph Waldo Emerson
So, Let’s Turn This Around: Planting Seeds of Self Love.
As your predominate thoughts become more positive and focused on who you truly are, rather than on who you think you should be, self-love has a chance to develop and grow and the results in your life will change for the better. Bulimia CANNOT EXIST in an environment of self-love and self-kindness, so below are 5 actions you can take right away to plant seeds of self-love and self-kindness:
SEED #1: Start Talking Kindly To Yourself.
Consciously and deliberately start talking kindly to yourself. Yes, it will feel kind of weird to start with but here’s the thing: would you say those critical and mean things to a friend? No, you just wouldn’t – right? So, stop doing it to yourself!
Just as the mean thoughts of self-cruelty and hate have become habituated through repetition, so too can thoughts of self-love and self-kindness, because as science has shown thinking new thoughts on an ongoing basis – ‘rewrites the brain’.
That is, YOU form new neurological connections and circuits that reflect your new thoughts and new habits and those old neurological connections that are not used anymore become obsolete.
SEED #2: Start Learning About Yourself.
Think about what makes you unique: what special gifts and talents do you offer the world? We all have something exclusively ours to share. CLICK HERE to download a simple exercise to find yours!
SEED #3: Start Caring For Yourself.
Developing a Self-Care Practice is a great way to show yourself that you are worthy of your love and attention. Consider doing one thing each day that shows some self-love, self-kindness or self-compassion. Once a week do something a little bigger – go to the movies, theatre, or art gallery – either by yourself or with a friend and once a month plan in something perhaps a little more expensive like a massage.
SEED #4: Remind Your Mind What You Are Up For.
Place a visual somewhere you can see it, to “remind your mind what you are up for”. I used to have the message, “I Treat Myself Like A Precious Object” pinned to the back of my bedroom door that I’d see first thing in the morning and last thing at night. And as a bonus put smaller versions in your purse, car, sock draw, fridge – wherever really, sometimes the more obscure the better – as it will bring a smile to your face when you find them. You can use the one I had, that I think I got from the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, or make up your own.
SEED #5: The Happy List.
Focus your attention, feelings and energy to things that truly make you happy. This will lift your mood in a jiffy. Not only things that make you happy get a spot on your list; also people, places and events. Anything that can bring a smile to your face deserves to be on your Happy List. And by continuously adding to your list you’ll find your heart and happiness expanding in direct relationship to the effort you put in.
And when you’ve planted your seeds, make sure you ‘water’ them with your FOCUS & ATTENTION so you have for yourself, some beautiful blooms.
For sure there will be days when you don’t want to do it but those WILL BE the days when you will have you biggest breakthroughs.
CLICK HERE for that simple but powerful exercise mentioned in SEED #2 so you can discover your special talents and skills and what makes YOU unique.
Need help? Email me at Julie@BulimiaFree.com