Learning to Love Myself

So one of my longest friends has recently introduced me to a great online program that is starting to change my life.

I have struggled with my self-worth and confidence for a long time. I always told myself I could like myself when blank happens. For example: I can like myself when I am completely fit or when I finally finish my novel because when I do those things I will actually be worth something and then it will be justified that I can love myself. What a sad thought process this is!

My friend Jan and I have been friends since I could talk. She is just two years older than I and with her younger sister Ivy, we were like three peas in a pod always playing together and having fun. Our grandparents were married to each other and so we were “cousins.”  A few years ago, Jan and Ivy lost their mom, Marie, unexpectedly.  She died peacefully in her sleep.

My Aunt Marie was my second mom. She was born in a small, rural community in Mexico and eventually had a pen-pal from my hometown. She decided he was pretty great and came to the States when he asked her to marry him. Her childhood was full of poverty and hard times and so she always wanted to make sure her children had what she didn’t have growing up. Whenever someone would enter her home she always had to make sure they were comfortable and that they were fed.

After Jan lost her mom, she had a nervous breakdown. She writes, “When my mom died suddenly 2 years ago November it opened up a whole can of worms that I was not even aware was there. I have been a mom for over half my life and from the moment I realized I was pregnant at 18 I felt like a “Bad Mom.” That LIE permeated my being & help me captive for almost 20 year now. I have spent decades in therapy, on medication & in different programs searching for healing.”

When I saw Jan a few months after this she was in a dark place. She was beaten down. It was hard seeing my “Jana Banana” like that.  She was also so bubbly, fun, and even sometimes a bit bossy growing up (but so was I). We would fight but be best friends the next day.

Then just last month, I saw her at life event for this program and she was so beautiful, so full of light, so amazingly free. I was astounded by the change.

Jan

She got up in front of a group of 40 women she had never met in person and led the group in yoga. “I am not a certified yoga instructor,” she said, “although I hope to be one day. I was literally shaking as I prepared the note cards I would use to lead me through this routine. I knew I would be supported and loved as I stepped out of my comfort zone and these amazing ladies did just that. I lived the experience of being a servant leader that day. I was nourished body, mind & soul as I embraced my own light & the light of those around me. Namaste means the divine light with in me recognizes and honors the divine light in you. We are all God’s children created in his image. So grateful for these women and this experience. Namaste!

My friend is my hero. I am so excited to start this program and have her be the leader for my new group. The program is called I Love My Body Diet and I hope to have even an ounce of light that she has now as I go through my own journey.

karen

 There are other women in the program that have really inspired me including Heidi Penrod and Marla Anderson.

Heidi always had pain, even when she was little, but doctors were never able to find anything medically wrong with her. She felt many doctor’s thought she was hypochondriac.

“I struggled with feeling worthwhile and that I had love and support,” Heidi said. “I felt like I had to do it all alone and that I was broken. I struggled with pain for years and I was in a dark place. I learned that in order to heal I need to learn to love myself.. I can honestly say that I love myself in my sickness and afflictions.”

She has a new baby and still struggles most days, but she is happy with who she is.

“I want to help women heal and see that they are not broken, that their voice matters,” she said. “All the pain and darkness we suffer has a purpose because we can shed it and learn from it and that will give us the change to be filled with light. We can become the unique creatures that we have forgotten that we are. Love yourself, change your life.”

Heidi

I hope to learn to learn myself like she has. I do want to change my life.

Marla Anderson is the one who has inspired me the most. Here is her story.

“I went to lunch with my sisters and my mother. After lunch we took our annual ‘sister’ picture.  I was quick to remind my sisters to not post the pictures online. After all, I did not allow any pictures of myself online,” Marla said. “Early the next morning at 2 a.m., I went onto social media and saw that my sister had posted my photo. I freaked out! I spent the next hour trying to get my sister, her husband, anyone to answer the phone so they would take it down, but nobody answered. I finally went to bed with tears streaming down my face. My secret has been discovered people would now know that I was obese!”

I’ve been there! I am happy to be behind the camera, but not in front!

At the recent gathering we had with this program, Marla actually stood in front of all us, about fifty women, in her swimming suit and told her story. Again, I don’t think I could do that.

The amazing thing is that Marla has accepted herself for who she is, even at her 350 pounds.

“I accept myself AS IS,” Anderson said. “I have spent a lot of time getting to know myself. I’ve studied my photos and learned things about myself from the outside in. Learning to accept myself without any reservations has been truly rewarding. I have peace inside that I did not understand was possible.  Today I am thankful my picture was posted on social media. Being discovered has truly set me free!”

Marla1

I want to be like Marla! I want to be able to let myself be free to be me. To not worry so much about what the number says on the scale and to find healthier ways to express my feelings besides turning to sugary foods. Here is to the experiment!

I hope to check in each week as I go through the program. Hopefully my experiences will help someone else.

If you want more information about the program go to ilovemybodydiet.com.

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