I was feeling pretty good about myself. Like more sure of worthiness, of love, of self-acceptance. I was getting better at saying aloud what my strengths are, albeit emphatically, because apparently I am in the phase where I have to convince myself still. I was thinking to myself- I can do this! I’ve made it to the promised land of loving yourself! Hallelujah!
And then I looked in the mirror.
The scene was more like, Mr. Darcy pulled me back to sit on his lap on the bed and I gazed to the left and caught a glimpse of myself in our full length mirror. All I saw was a big lump wearing stripes and with a double chin. I pushed myself up and away, disgusted. I felt something in me sink. We were about to leave the apartment to spend the day outside in the sun and all I could think about was crawling into a big sweater and hiding in the safety of the apartment. I did not want to be seen. Who would want to look at THAT?
I certainly didn’t.
It’s hard on Mr. Darcy to hear me be down on myself. He says he doesn’t see what I see which is sweet and I love him for trying to pep talk me. I can’t accept compliments very well. And frankly, the problem has always been MY self-perception and inability to accept myself for who I am and what I look like as someone who is good and worthy of love. I spend a lot of time in therapy trying to sort this mess out. I go through periods where I am feeling stronger and other times where it’s all I can do to put an outfit on and walk out the door. I’m not being dramatic here. It’s debilitating, my negative self-image. I’m embarrassed to admit it but I’m trying to move past it completely so I have to be honest. I have to speak my truth and hope that in saying it, I’m moving towards a new truth.
I have spent the majority of my life ashamed of my body. I’ve learned to over-compensate for what I see as a deficit by being smart or funny or personable. It’s not that I don’t think I am a good person, a smart person, a kind person- it’s just that I don’t think the package I come in is all that worthwhile. It makes me sad to type that. It makes me sad that I believe that.
When I caught that glimpse of myself in the mirror I felt so dejected. On top of that I’ve seen a couple of photos of myself taken candidly where all I see is my lumpy, fat body. That’s what I hear in my head, “Look at how gross you look.” Gone is the feeling of strength from working out 5 times a week and the joy from moving my body to music and in its place is a feeling of not-enough-ness. I was trying to just focus on enjoying working out for the sake of enjoyment and health because the berating and guilt of “dieting” was hammering me into a bad mental state. But now I feel myself shifting into that mind-fucked place where I get obsessive about my diet, about my work outs, about numbers rather than just feeling good about doing something healthy for myself.
Have you done this? Felt that shift? Gotten bogged down with the number rather than the feeling? Or let the numbers influence your self-worth? What do you do when you get down on yourself?
(I know I talk about this topic a lot (too much) here. I also know I have to write it out to work towards a different place. Someday I hope these kinds of posts will be impossible for me to write because the feelings will no longer be true.)