Highlights for What Feels Like Love
- Is it hard for you to love yourself? (0:50)
- What used to feel like love (2:35)
- What feels like love now (3:55)
- The path back to yourself (6:30)
- So, ask yourself… (8:15)
What Feels Like Love
My podcast is named Find Your Feisty, and people often ask me what “Find Your Feisty” means.
It means being fun and fearless and smart and sassy, but it also means having your own back, standing in your own truth, honoring yourself, and loving yourself.
Annnnd those aren’t easy for me, and they never have been. I’m getting a lot better at them, but unconditional love for myself isn’t something I’ve ever allowed myself to feel.
Is It Hard for You to Love Yourself?
I’ve had unconditional love for other people, and I can do that all day, every day, no problem. But my love for myself has always been conditional upon one thing … and that one thing was losing weight.
It’s something I’ve struggled with since I was 10 years old, and it’s not something that I’ve been able to sustain.
It was easier to love myself when I was being “a good girl,” with “good” meaning that I was depriving myself of food and punishing myself with workouts. I could love myself then because I was doing what people said I was supposed to be doing, but the minute I strayed from that rigid path, I went right back to self-loathing and verbal violence.
That’s not a good place to be, and it’s no wonder that I continued to gain weight!
When you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re a giant piece of shit for not being able to do the one thing that everyone wants and expects you to do … well, it’s impossible to love yourself.
The concept of self-love or loving myself was completely foreign to me. So, when I was introduced to this concept of being able to love yourself, it blew me away.
And I denied it for a long time … I resisted it, I pushed back. I was so brainwashed into believing that I would only be lovable once I got my body under control. That’s really what I believed … that until I could meet this absolute adherence to the societal rule of what I should look like, then I was not lovable.
That’s another not-good place to be.
What Used to Feel Like Love
When you spend your entire life hating your body, What feels like love? is a really difficult question.
People would ask me that question, and I would answer by talking about my love for others or beautiful things I saw in the world or loving things I saw in other people and how they were loving to other people. But I never, ever dreamt that I could answer What feels like love? for myself … in terms of myself.
But that’s exactly where we need to direct our love – towards ourselves. Instead, we’ve been withholding all the love, praise, confidence, and joy until we can get our body to meet the standards that our society and the people around us have set for us.
For a very long time, what felt like love to me was food. Food was no longer nourishment … it became comfort and love. It was survival. It was numbing the pain and hiding.
What Feels Like Love Now
Now, what feels like love is forgiving that little girl for trying to navigate childhood trauma the best that she could.
What feels like love now is not forcing myself to make changes faster than I’m capable of just because our society has put some bullshit timeline in place that we have to lose weight, and we have to lose it NOW!
There is no timeline. There is no finish line. You get there when you get there.
That limited-time mindset is why people can’t sustain weight loss – I’ve done it a million times. We lose weight, gain it back, lose weight, gain it back – because we’re trying to make changes when we’re not ready.
For me, now I’m making the changes as I’m ready, and as I’m unraveling all the damage that was done and that I was doing since I was 10 years old.
What feels like love now is being able to look at myself in the mirror and think that I look beautiful.
Some days, what feels like love is drinking more water, going for a swim, and eating a grilled chicken salad. Other days, love is taking a nap, allowing myself to eat comfort food, and laughter.
I learned at a very young age that my body was wrong, that I was wrong. My pediatrician didn’t ask what I had gone through or what had happened to me before he declared that “fat kids become fat adults.” He only wanted to change my body.
It takes time to unlearn that kind of damage. It takes patience, compassion, forgiveness, and love. It takes a LOT of love to learn how to care for yourself in a way that you never have.
People will say, “You have to work out” or “You have to exercise,” but when you’ve lived your entire life with exercise as a punishment, you don’t want to do it … you’re not going to willingly go be punished. You have to learn how to love yourself enough to say, “I want to take extraordinary care of myself.”
It’s not only letting go of all the shit that holds you down, weighs you down, or holds you back … it’s not just that piece. You also have to learn how to love yourself in order to WANT to care for yourself in a way that you never have … in a way that I never have before.
The Path Back to Yourself
My guess is there are a lot of people just like me who have always viewed exercise as punishment and who view dieting as deprivation and with sadness.
There is a better way for us, and it’s what I’m doing right now.
It’s a very deliberate process of looking at all the areas of my life that I want to improve and making small incremental changes – not the big 180-degree shifts that I used to do.
I used to do all or nothing. I was either sticking my fingers in my ears and singing la-la-la-la la-la-la-la while eating anything I ever wanted with no conscious thought, or I was only eating carrot sticks, lettuce, and the occasional apple.
But that big 180-degree swing was never sustainable – I couldn’t do it, and most people can’t.
What feels like love? is a question that gets us off of that rollercoaster, that gets us saying, “Enough is enough.”
The way back to yourself is by asking, “What feels like love?”
The path back to yourself is love … and it’s caring and compassion and forgiveness for whatever you think that you should have done in the past and for wherever you think you should be in the future.
It’s being – right now, in this moment – peaceful, happy, whole, and worthy.
That’s the path back to yourself, and I’m on it, too!
That is how you find your feisty!
So, Ask Yourself…
So, ask yourself: What feels like love?
Make your decisions from a place of love. Ask yourself: What feels light, free, happy?
On the flipside, you might ask, What feels fearful, angry, frustrated? (Those are the cement shoes that keep you stuck, that keep you in an unproductive, dangerous, damaging, dark cycle.)
What feels like love? is one step forward towards your most authentic, happy, free, and joyful self.
Until next time…