You see, no one will ever love me. I am ugly and unlovable.
For people with an eating disorder, Valentine’s Day can be even more stressful. Having a low self-esteem, body image and hard time expressing feelings can easily turn into negative thoughts, anxiety or self-loathing. How do you cope with these feelings and have a day filled with love (even if you are single)?
Write yourself a love letter
Have you ever written yourself a letter? It might feel a little awkward in the beginning, but it’s a practice that positively strengthens the relationship you have with yourself. You deserve to love yourself and your body just as much as you show love to others and it’s essential to boost your confidence and self-esteem. It’s tempting to lose yourself in negative feelings about being single that you forget the first one to fall in love with is yourself. In fact, embracing the person that you are is the first step to becoming who you want to be and connecting to your true soul. So take a moment to look in the mirror to realize that you are beautiful, exactly who you are. Approach your reflection with compassion and write a love letter to yourself as if you would to somebody else. “Dear [your name]…”
Take yourself on a date
Treat yourself to a pedicure, the book that you want to read, the movie you want to see or cook yourself a nice dinner. Take care of yourself as you would nurture your loved one. Learning to have “quality time” on your own will help you to love yourself and become your own best friend.
Remember that you are loved
Love includes so much more than romantic love. It’s all around us and freely available to anyone who knows to look for it. It isn’t a destination, but something you must choose to open yourself to. Focus on the present moment to become aware of the beauty that’s surrounding you. See how trees start to blossom and birds sing to welcome Spring. When you open your heart to the love that already surrounds you and practice connecting to your true desires you begin to see it elsewhere.
The heart must be opened for love to flow out. ~ Miriam
Celebrate failures and make peace with the past
Dwelling on the past or beating yourself up for failures locks your heart, feelings and emotions and result in self-loathing instead. I lived with a severe eating disorder for many years and I remember how the thoughts I adopted about myself became my truth. I punished myself for each failure I made and believed, wholeheartedly, that I was nothing but a failure. My past became part of my being, but after many years I realized that to move forward you have to let go of what lies behind. I began to look deeper into my soul, digging up the roots of who I really was. It wasn’t until then that I was finally able to make peace with the past, release it and to find my true and authentic self.
Past struggles, mistakes, failures, they are all important building blocks of growing and becoming who you really are. Instead of using failures to go backwards you realize they are the stepping-stones that move you forward. Embrace them and see them as opportunities that eventually will lead to success in whatever you want. I invite you to give yourself permission to fail and to love yourself for trying. Did you try something that didn’t work out as you hoped? Awesome! Use it to find a way that does. Self-forgiveness opens up room for love, growth and success. So go ahead and remember that when you fail, you fail upward.
Spend time with family or friends
Did you know that one of the best ways to feel more love and gratitude is to give love to others? Do you have a friend or family member who is going through a difficult time? Send a nice card. Can your grandma use some help with her groceries? Be sure to help her out. It’s the act of giving that is more rewarding than receiving and will increase your self-esteem. So get out of the house if you find yourself wallowing in negative self-talk and spend time with a friend or family member. They are the ones that fully embrace you for who you are. I remember being single and during that time, one of the best Valentine’s Days was spent with my best friend watching Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail while eating a pint of ice cream.
Remember that love is always surrounding you, no matter what struggles you currently find yourself in. It exists deep inside you and is waiting to be embraced again. So be open to love from others and most importantly yourself.
Happy Valentine’s Day!