You Can’t Hate Yourself Into A Body You Love

Healing the relationship with your body is not linear. You will hear so many people say that “Healing is not linear.” As cliché as it sounds, it is true. You could do great for a week, but this doesn’t mean you won’t fall back ever again. Even though this is obvious sometimes, I struggle to remember this on a weekly, even daily, basis.

I’m great at beating myself up for being so happy in my own skin one day and then really sad the next. It’s a constant battle of “How could I let myself be so sad all of a sudden? Why can’t I just get over this feeling of unhappiness and disappointment?” I’m sure we all have moments like this, and I wouldn’t believe you if you said you didn’t.

Let me back up a little bit. When I was a child, I was chubby, overweight, fat even. Picked on by the neighborhood kids who were my friends one day and hated me the next. It still doesn’t make sense to me to this day, and I spend more time thinking about it than I’d care to admit. One of the most vivid memories I have as a child is looking in the mirror and thinking I was so ugly. These kids picked on me because I was fat and ugly and cried a lot. I was self-conscious and shy. I seemed to be an easy target for many kids in my class, and a target I was. It was hard for me to make and keep friends—sometimes it still is. I hated myself and my body and the way I looked. I genuinely believed I was the ugliest person on the planet and didn’t deserve love or kindness or any type of feel-good situation, all because I was fat.

Moving onto high school, I managed to lose weight and become “healthier.” Looking at it now as a 24-year-old, it definitely wasn’t a healthy way to do it. If I ate when I wasn’t hungry, I would cry. If I had fast food, no matter the situation, I would cry. I didn’t want to be fat again. I didn’t want to see myself as a person I couldn’t love. My favorite thing about this story is that I didn’t love myself as a thin young woman either. In fact, I hated myself when I didn’t work out and when I had more sweets than I allowed myself or when I did have fast food. I wanted to be perfect and look perfect, even though I told myself that I didn’t care about that. I lost 60 pounds and went from a size 20 to a size 10 and I still thought I was fat and ugly.

College was a different time. I managed to find the body positivity movement and it changed my life forever. I began watching YouTubers talk about their experiences with being plus size and loving their lives. Even though I wasn’t considered plus size, part of me really felt like I resonated with what they were talking about. I felt their struggles so deeply because they were once my own. The difference between them and myself is that I didn’t accept myself as I was. I tried to hate myself into a body I loved. As you can assume, that never works.

Fast forward to now, January 2022, and I am heavier than I ever was and often feeling ashamed that I let myself get to this point. I still have thoughts of being so ugly that I sometimes think that’s why I’ve never had a serious relationship that wasn’t toxic in some way. My mind still lies to me sometimes and tells me that nobody likes me or wants to date me because I am fat and unworthy of any type of happiness. These thoughts are hard to hear and even harder to ignore. I know that they aren’t true, and I know that I will overcome them, like I’ve overcome some of the hardest obstacles life has thrown at me.

All of this to say, you cannot hate yourself into a body you love. You can make decisions for your well-being. You can take care of yourself and show yourself love. You cannot expect to love yourself every day, but you can expect to have parts of yourself you are really stinking proud of. You can create a dream life for yourself where you are everything you dreamed you would be. You can give yourself all the things you thought you desperately needed from other people. You can ALWAYS be a work in progress. The two things you cannot do: hate yourself into a body you love, and ever, EVER give up.