ending the war: “i love you still.”

Recently, I asked “do you talk about things that matter?” and today I experienced one of the most emotionally honest conversations I’ve ever had. Topics ranged from absentee fathers, sex, eating disorders, rape, molestation, relationships, education, socialization, etc. It was genuine, cathartic, comforting, inspiring and beautiful. So many times throughout the evening, I found myself smiling, feeling connected and understood as we discussed highly privatized events and feelings.

Sitting with this beautiful woman who spoke so candidly about her life, I felt inspired and reinvigorated, reminded that neither our stories nor our struggles are our own. We will all experience trials, intense pain, and loss. We will all walk with fears, insecurities, and moments of doubt. We will all struggle with some degree of feeling fragmented. These are inextricable parts of the human experience, but if you let pain harden your heart instead of soften it, you’ve missed the point.

As of two days ago, I made an important decision based upon a startling revelation. I’m ending the war with myself.

My #notetoself yesterday was:

“stop waging war with the one person who will always be there for you: yourself.
love is accepting, patient, and kind.”

While reflecting upon a previous relationship, it occurred to me that I was incredibly capable of accepting someone else as they are, accepting the imperfections of their personality and body. Yet, I was often unwilling to extend the same acceptance to myself. The love and care I generously gave to someone else is what I needed– but refused –to give to myself. That is, until two days ago.

My new motto now is “I love you still.” Even though I have a laundry list of things I’d like to “correct” about my thinking, behavior, or body, I say “I love you still.” Regardless of this factor or that factor, “I love you still.” If I can love another who is also “imperfect”, why deny myself the same qualities of love: acceptance, patience, and kindness?

In the past, scarcely, I’ve discussed having had an eating disorder, or as I prefer to say, disordered eating patterns. I discussed it on the now defunct We Think Radio two years ago, and briefly here last year, but never at length. After deciding to live more authentically with greater transparency, after once again agreeing that neither our stories nor our struggles are our own, after deciding to end the war with myself, and after my conversation tonight, I know I have to discuss this more. My evasiveness serves no one, including myself. While I can and often freely will admit I’ve experienced disordered eating, I can’t say I’m 100% shameless about it. But acceptance, patience, and kindness…I love myself still.

Honestly, I look forward to sharing this aspect of my journey in the future because I know someone will benefit from knowing– truly knowing –they’re not alone.

I urge you to think about your own journey and what you’re holding against yourself. Could you begin to let it go?