Be kind to yourself

I have always been hard on myself.

I would criticise myself, my appearance and think unkind things about myself.  Critical of what I said, what I looked like.  If I did something embarrassing I would repeat it in my head over and over, analysing and cringing.

I have always weight issues going from underweight to overweight in short amounts of time. At one stage I ballooned from a size 8 to in a matter of months.  I felt ashamed and ugly.  I couldn’t find nice clothes-shopping was hell.  I felt excluded, inferior and self-conscious.
Loosing too much
I began to stop eating properly. To skip meals. I could go a whole day on one piece of toast.  I basically functioned on cigarettes and caffeine.  And of course, the weight dropped off.   And off. And off.  I felt an almost savage satisfaction when I fitted in tiny clothes and when my stomach rumbled.  I could shop in the fashion-conscious shops and wear on trend clothes.
One day I looked at myself in the mirror of a changing room.“I saw my shoulder blades jutting out and thought ‘angel wings’.

Eating disorders

I have had a lot of friends with eating disorders.   I have watched healthy beautiful girls morphing into gaunt skeletal shadows of life. I witnessed their quest to lose everything; to disappear completely.  Many of my friends did.  Half-ghosts in life, they passed on with barely a whisper “half in love with easeful death’.  I thought of them like angels, distant and here for a finite time.
            Until I thought ‘angel wings’. I realised I had been following their lead, stepping slowly into their feathered steps.  I stopped and listened to myself.  Listened to the self-criticism I had barely noticed.

I thought of a little red haired girl; one with a big smile,full of mischief and sensitive. The little girl I was and who I still am inside.

This girl
The child who I had been bullying and pressurizing, who had been told by media and fashion that she is not good enough.  Would I tell a child that she is ugly? That she is fat? That she is not good enough?
Never!  I changed.  I started to change the way I treated myself.  I stopped being critical, stopped judging myself so harshly.  I started to be kinder to myself.  To treat the little girl like all children should be; with understanding, humour and kindness.  Whenever I had done something foolish or embarrassing, instead of cringing and judging myself harshly, I thought how would I treat that little girl.
My life changed.  I changed.  I became healthy, put on weight.  I stopped depriving myself and started nurturing myself.  I no longer fit the fashion ideal.  I’m no size zero but I am happy.

Find a picture of yourself as a child and look at it when you are being hard on yourself.
I firmly believe that kindness is the most important gift you can give yourself.

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