I told myself lies until they became true.
When I started writing affirmations I always said one thing- No matter what I do, I love myself. I would say this sentence in gratitude lists, to friends, to my therapists. I said it flatly, and with dead eyes. I said it with a throat that burned from bulimic episodes. I said it while my stomach roared for food.
I turned this affirmative stance toward my plate. I am eating this because I love myself, I would say, chewing with a terrible feeling in my guts. I don’t have to be afraid of food I’d say, identifying that sick feeling as fear.
When I am stressed out I totally take the time to chill, I said, realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to transform my relationship with myself without using language that was my own. I can love my thighs as much as I love Beyonce’s thighs. I continued. That made me smile, almost seemed possible. What did I love about Beyonce’s thighs? Well that that they were bigger than other thighs I’d seen in the magazines and on TV. My thighs were bigger than that too, so why not? Maybe my thighs are great I mumbled to myself. Hmmm.
I asked my friends to do affirmations with me, via email, and reading them elated me.
“Affirming that travelling doesn’t have to be stressful”, they said.
“Affirming that I am totes okay, no matter what.”
“I am giving myself positive looks in the mirror”
“I practice self-compassion when I feel bad about my body”
“I give myself love”
My friends, my beautiful, amazing, and cool friends, said all these things to themselves that I needed to say to myself too. My friends struggled, and got frustrated, and felt sad and bad when I pretty much thought they were perfect.
They feel like they aren’t okay and they totally are. I thought. Probably the same is true for me.
I noticed that the more times I said something to myself, the more true it became.
My body is strong and toned.
I look forward to dinner with friends, even if I don’t choose the conditions and even if it’s later or earlier than I want to eat.
I am totally flexible when I need to be.
Check, check, check.
One day, while laying in bed a thought popped into my head. I love every square inch of my body I told myself, completely aware that this was basically my Mount Everest of affirmations.
I promised I’d tell myself every day.
Some days I said this, and I believed it so thoroughly that it brought tears to my eyes. Some days I thought it sounded ridiculous and stupid, and I was fucking pissed that I had to keep repeating these words that seemed so hollow.
I kept repeating this, because no matter the circumstance, I believed I was worthy of having a positive relationship with my body. I was genuinely tough. I had what my trainer would call a “developed posterior chain”, and real talk, that booty looks good. I deserved to notice.
I believed that personal integrity meant treating the entirety of my self with respect, including my body. I believed that it was my birthright to feel comfortable in my skin. I also believed that for every day I spent starving my body of the care and love that it deserved I owed it twice as much ferocious positivity.
I will keep saying this thing, that I love every square inch of my body, because now it is a reflex, a given, something I don’t think twice about. Because I imagined that if everyone gave their body such concentrated positive messages we would live in a much cooler society. Can you imagine how people would be if they loved their bodies?
That’s the kind of universe I want to live in.
*If you want in on this affirmation group, it can totally happen. It’s free, obviously, it’s easy and no pressure and it makes ya feel good. Why not?
**Photo by the awesome Melissa Lacitignola