I woke up this morning and it was different.
I woke up completely bursting with joy. It was one of those experiences where I was taking a mental inventory of how I felt, because it was a feeling that I want to remember forever. It was a feeling that I want to have forever.
So what was different?
One word: LOVE.
And I’m not talking about the mushy, romantic love.
I’m talking about me. About the real me. About my heart. About my spirit.
I woke up overflowing with joy, because last night I let myself be loved.
I received the love that my friends were showering me with. I allowed myself to actually be open to it. I accepted it. Embraced it.
You see, ED is cunning. He feeds me Lies – still to this day – that I am not deserving of love. ED whispers to me that I’m not worth love. That I don’t deserve to accept love from other people: my family, my friends, a boyfriend, myself, Jesus. If I’m being really honest, this is probably the biggest “ED thing” that has lingered with me to this day. And it’s that I don’t feel like I deserve to be loved. Like I don’t deserve to receive it.
So why was last night different?
What made it so that I allowed myself to accept love from other people?
Here’s my hypothesis: Because I’m truly learning to love myself.
You see, when ED is trying to sneak back into my brain, it’s like he subconsciously makes me self-sabotage myself. Like, “Oh, you have a big event on Friday? Well let me just make sure to fill you with anxiety all night on Thursday so you don’t sleep and you’re off your game for the big day.” Or ED will be like, “Oh, your friends want you to hang out at 9:30? Well, I’m gonna just make sure to show up at 8:00 and fill you with so much bad body image that you’ll bail on your friends.”
Is that just me? Can you relate?
It seems like my subconscious — where ED is trying to break in — can sometimes be my own worst enemy.
And ED’s area of expertise for self-sabotage is when it comes to personal relationships.
I mean, don’t get me wrong – I am truly a great friend. I care deeply about the people in my life. I go out of my way to make each and every one of them feel loved and feel special. So I can give. I’m actually really good at giving love. But when it comes to the flip side — When it comes to receiving the love that my friends are giving back to me, I just can’t do it. It’s not like I’m a mopey, Debby Downer — “Oh, nobody loves me.” But it’s that I just don’t allow my heart to receive it. I don’t let myself feel that comforting blanket of acceptance and joy and care and warmth that is love. Because I think I don’t deserve it.
But last night, that changed.
And it’s because I have slowly been learning to love myself. And I’ve gotta say, I think a lot of it has to do with being open and vulnerable with all of you, and the outpouring of support and encouragement I have received from you all, so thank you for that.
But everyday, as I keep my eyes focused on Jesus and His love for me – Everyday as I am vulnerable with my feelings and express them; Everyday as I continue to nourish my body and make choices that are healthy and good and gentle, I am combatting ED in the battle for my subconscious mind. (Or rather, I am allowing Jesus to battle ED for me). And everyday, as I have been doing these things, I can feel myself slowly begin to find true self-acceptance. And dare I say it, self-love?
Because here’s the thing: I know that the ultimate act of self-love is allowing another person to love me.
I’m going to repeat that. Because it’s really important.
The ultimate act of self-love is allowing another person to love me.
And that includes Jesus, just as a PS 🙂
But it is the greatest gift to myself — the greatest act of self-love — to allow myself to receive love from another person – From my friends. From my family. From Jesus. From — dare I say it — a boy?!?
I was with one of my guy friends last weekend, and he just flat out asked me, “I don’t get it. Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” It was actually quite sweet because he gave me all these affirmations along with it, but he asked me a question that really has haunted me ever since. I make the excuse all the time that I don’t have a boyfriend because “I’m focusing on my career and I don’t have time for a relationship at this point in my life.” Or, “Being an actor is a very self-centered career, and I just cannot give of myself during this season of my life.”
And yeah, those things are both true, but I think if I were really to look at what’s behind why I don’t have a boyfriend right now, I think this would be a little more accurate. Not only is it terrifying to be vulnerable and emotionally intimate with a boy and expose the real me, but I think at a subconscious level, I still don’t truly believe that I’m deserving of letting someone love me.
So waking up this morning, and feeling so much joy and love, and just this all-over warm feeling, I knew that the barriers around my heart were breaking down. I knew that I was beginning to let other people love me.
And I’ve got to tell you, it was the absolute best feeling in the world. People must have thought I was crazy because I was just walking around all day with this smile on my face. Seriously. I kid you not. I was smiling at CVS buying toilet paper — that’s a bit bizarre.
But it gives me great hope. Because I know that this is the last thing. I know that this is the last way that ED still tries to knock me down, and is successful. I hate to say that, but it’s true. This is where he still has control over me: preventing me from receiving love.
So the fact that I can actually feel myself receiving and accepting my friends’ love brings me great hope. Because it means that I am subconsciously saying to myself, “I do deserve to be loved. I am worthy.” And that’s it, my friends. That’s the ticket. That’s the whole kit-and-kaboodle.
So I will just leave you with this: I don’t think it is a coincidence that this acceptance of love comes at the time when I’ve never been more open and vulnerable about my history and about my feelings. It has come at a time when I have been closer to the Lord than I have ever been before – through daily prayer, Mass, listening to Christian podcasts and music. It’s come at a time when I’m starting to open up to people in my life about my ED past. I don’t think it is a coincidence at all.
Learning to love myself has been a long and difficult journey. And I know many of you can relate. With eating disorder recovery, just because you get the weight on doesn’t mean that everything else magically “gets better” too. It doesn’t mean that a healthy BMI is a sure-fire ticket to self-acceptance and self-love. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.
But it is possible. It is possible to love yourself. And for me, I know that the biggest indicator that I’ve finally loved myself completely, is that I’ll allow myself to be loved by another person.
This weekend was the start of something big.
This weekend was the beginning of an epic love story. With myself.
16 responses to “Allowing Myself To Be Loved”
[…] allowing myself to receive love from my little neice. I’m allowing myself to feel the love from my siblings. I’m sharing my […]
Hi there! Long time no see! Now that my niece and I have given our joint testimonies and her wedding is over and she is preparing to leave for Japan for 3 years with her Marine husband, I have time to come back and work my way forward again.
It’s kind of strange, really, because it feels lonely down here at the bottom of the page. Not so where your recent posts are concerned. Goodness, there is hardly any room left for little ole me now! Reading those posts it is obvious that what you wrote about here was very timely. It’s a good thing you have learned to let love in, because it is obvious that throngs of followers do love you and rely on you.
Everyone will want what you have – the strength, the focus, the wisdom, the glow that surrounds you through your words, and I pray for fruit from the seeds you are planting. The impact you are having on people gives glory to God and holds out hope to any who are fortunate enough to read your words.
You have written about your condition when you entered Remuda. My eyes still tear when I think of you, emaciated and near death at that time. The world – THIS world – is a much better place for you having lived, and your commitment to Christ and the way you introduce Him and talk about Him to people will save lives in this world, and guide many of them to an eternity with the Lord.
Thank you, Lord, for helping your faithful servant to accept Your love, which allows her to accept her own love which, in turn, allows her to accept the love of those who follow her as she teaches them how to follow you. You are an amazing God, and You have done some amazing work in the life of this woman.
Tony, as I sit here and read this, I have a tear streaming down my cheek. Thank you so much for such kind words. Seriously, I don’t think I have ever had such loving and supportive things spoken my way (aside of course, my parents and family :)) But seriously, thank you for your friendship, your encouragement, your support, your uplifting and loving words. You are truly a blessing in my life and i mean that from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for being incredible. God bless you.
You are too kind, young lady. We are as alike as two people can be but only the knowledge that God has done breathtaking things in each of our lives provides the ability to see that. Anyone who reads our stories will see the differences between us as stark as night and day, but all who understand the miracles our great God performs daily will see how remarkably alike we are.
You make me think of the contrast there was when my niece and I spoke on stage. I like to think of us as beauty and the beast (ok, she’s not REALLY a beast…hahahaha). Seriously, there could be no two individuals as different in appearance and experience, and yet, we were one in our love of God and He was in us in equal measure as He is in all who accept Him.
You are both remarkable women, and I am a very lucky individual to be loved so much by someone I resisted for so long that He would place you both in my life. Thank you.
All You Need Is Love – The Beatles
Thanks Psy! Love that song:) big hugs xox
I”m so glad you let love fill your heart. Jesus takes away our false perception of ourselves, and gives us the truth. He loves us so much, and He wants us to never forget it. 🙂
Amen! He is so good. 🙌🙌🙌
Reblogged this on The Fire and commented:
We may be different people with different views and experiences, but love is universal.
Thanks for the reblog! Hugs and love xox
Hi, I’m glad you liked my article. You also liked another one I wrote called Creating the Future. What did you like about that?
No prob 🙂
It must be a bit interesting for you to be going through all of these posts that I continuously like and comment on. What do you think about it all?
Recently, I’ve gotten back into the routine of liking myself. For awhile I was full of self-deprecating loathing and frustration because I felt like I wasn’t sure what I wanted for my life and I wasn’t happy where I am. Sure, Hawaii is great, but I’m a nomad. I’m meant to be pushing forward. And I definitely wasn’t meant for retail. However, with some help from a couple of close friends and family, and Jesus, I’ve managed to start liking myself again. Heck, I’m starting to fall in love with me. Not in a prideful, Narcissus and the pond fall in love. But coming back to love me because of how you said, the love I have received from others.
I may not be where I want to be right now, but I’m on my way there.
Also, I’m going to be pumping out my own life journey soon enough here. Who knows where it will go haha.
That’s so awesome that you’re growing in self love. You deserve it and it is a beautiful thing. It’s the journey 🙂 it’s definitely been a walk through the past!
Haha, well don’t feel obligated to respond to every comment I leave. As you can see, I will be leaving a great deal of them and I know you are incredibly busy.
oh i enjoy reading your thoughts!! 🙂 xox