One year ago yesterday I started out on a journey of self love. I struggled a lot with my body image and self-esteem, and I even found it difficult for me to eat at times, so I knew something needed to change. With this revelation, I laid out a plan called 365 days of self love, in which every day for a year I would write down one thing I love about myself.
I posted about my progress at 100 days and at 200 days, but today is the last one; I have reached 365 days of this exercise. The feeling is bittersweet, but more sweet than bitter. In the last year I have had days where I’ve been excited to write something down that I noticed, and days where I struggled to find anything to write at all. There were weeks missed when I traveled or got lazy, only to be made up in one night of writing many things at once. It has not been a perfect journey.
A couple of weeks ago I had a strange realization: I was simultaneously the most confident I had ever been in my adult body, and the closest I had ever been to developing an eating disorder. I was trying to eat heathy, but because I also have a strange schedule for mealtimes and am trying to budget, I justified only eating two meals a day, without any snacks, and when one of those meals is a salad and the other oatmeal, you’re really not getting what you need in a day.
But I would justify it, because I felt self conscious about how much I ate and felt the pressure to save money and the desire to lose weight. After a week of feeling dizzy, I got scared, so I told a few friends and I went out and spent more than I wanted to on groceries so that I could have snacks and meals and be okay. Because my health is more important than my budget.
The most important thing I have learned in the last year is that self love is a process. You need to keep a constant dialogue with yourself, checking that you are taking care of yourself and aren’t thinking too many negative thoughts. You need to be forgiving of your weaknesses and proud of your strengths. You need to treat yourself with the same love and respect that you would a spouse or a child, and when you get angry with yourself, you make sure you always come back and remind yourself that you do love yourself, because this is a relationship you can’t run away from.
I can honestly say today that I love myself. I’m awesome. I have big ambitions and am full of drive. I have sexy curves and can move my hips unashamedly. I have flaws, and there are flaws in my self love, but we all have room for improvement. So my belly jiggles, so what? It also makes an awesome drum. And my big legs? They’re strong, and have carried me this far, and will carry me through the rest of my life.
I won’t be continuing to write something I love about myself down each day, but I will be continuing this journey. I will continue to criticize myself and I will continue to make decisions that are beneficial to me. I will continue to work towards my goals with fear but also conviction and confidence, and I will not compromise what I want for someone else.
And with that I will leave you with some of my favorite entries of the last 365 days:
day 19, 04/03/2015 I love my drive to be great, brilliant.
day 98, 22/05/2015 I love that I’ve never really care about or questioned what I like, I just like it, be that in relation to media or people.
day 120, 13/06/2015 I love my practical optimism.
day 125, 18/06/2015 I love that my legs are strong beneath their fat.
day 196, 28/08/2015 I love my proportions, I have a great stature.
day 210, 11/09/2015 I love my butt, it’s got a great shape.
day 246, 17/10/2015 I love my body, it’s a perfectly good body.
day 262, 02/11/2015 I love that I’ll always keep trying.
day 299, 09/12/2015 I love how ridiculous I get about celebrity crushes.
day 324, 03/01/2016 I love what a babe I am.
day 343, 22/01/2016 I love that I’m chasing my dreams and not running away from my fears.
day 349, 28/01/2016 I love the shape of my stomach and the way it moves with my body.
day 365, 13/02/2016 I love me.
I hope you all learn to love yourselves. x.