4 Eye-Opening Realizations That Helped Me Love My Body

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” ~Amy Bloom “Just look at yourself!” “That chubby face, those massive hips and thighs. The stumpy legs.” “No wonder he doesn’t love you anymore. No wonder he left you for her! She is so much prettier than you are.” I stood in front of the mirror. Tears streamed down my face. My body was shaking uncontrollably as I stared at it in disgust. Resentment and anger accumulated in my chest. Heavy, dark, and painful, the all-consuming emotions tried to crush me. My throat felt tight, I couldn’t breathe, my mind was racing in desperation. If only I was beautiful. Tall, slender, delicate, and fair. If only my body was perfect. He wouldn’t have rejected and betrayed me. We would still be happy. The plans we made for a future together intact and alive. I collapsed on the floor, sobbing and shivering. Blaming my flawed appearance for all the despair, the unbearable suffering, my shattered life. I had always been insecure about my body and the way it looked. But now, I condemned it for failing me, destroying my life. Judged all its blemishes and cursed its unattractive features that were too ugly to love. I hated my body. And that’s how it started. The Miserable Consequence of Fighting Your Own Body In the weeks after my boyfriend left me in May 2005, negativity consumed me. I was furious at him for choosing another woman over me, and I beat myself up for not noticing the affair earlier. Toxic thoughts about my inadequate body and insufficient looks circled endlessly in my mind. I was obsessed with the improvement of my appearance. I cut my hair, changed my wardrobe, waxed, plucked, and dyed. I considered plastic surgery to remove the visible effects of a genetic skin condition that had never bothered me before. And I deprived myself of food, forwent sleep to have more time to exercise fanatically every day. I ignored any hunger, discomfort, and exhaustion, lashing myself on. I was determined to make my body better. Fitter, slimmer, more attractive. I would never allow it to let me down again. And my body reacted to the verbal and physical abuse. Within a few weeks I suffered from a stomach ulcer, bowel issues, and frequent migraines. My hands and legs were covered in eczema. And I was plagued by hypoglycaemia that made me dizzy, faint and, on a couple of occasions, temporarily blind. My body and I were at war. I knew I couldn’t go on like this. I had to make peace with the way I looked. I had to accept my body for what it was to restore my health, emotional balance, and sanity. For months, I forced myself to look in the mirror and reconcile with every part of my body. I reasoned with myself that the failed relationship had long run its course and my looks had nothing to do with [...]