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Finding Self-Love Through Body Dysmorphia

Body dysmorphia is a very real thing. It means (in a nutshell) that a person obsessively thinks badly of one part of their body or another. They look in the mirror and all they see are their flaws. This happens in both men and women. 

I remember that when I was younger I thought nothing bad about my body. It didn’t matter what size I wore or that my boobs were smaller than my friends or that my hips were bigger. I remember looking at my developing body thinking it was pretty great. I didn’t care what I ate or how much exercise I got. It is true that I didn’t really need to, but I had so many other challenges and obstacles in my life this was the LAST thing on my mind. (At least that I can remember,) I was confident in my physical appearance. I saw the models on the magazines and tv and didn’t think I looked that much different.

Then something happened. Something changed.

I was married very young and had my first baby at the age of 20, I changed the way I saw myself. People told me I needed to lose weight, (even though I lost my baby weight within weeks of having him.) I recognized that I was being compared. Mind you, I was in an industry where your physical appearance is HUGE. I wanted to model, I wanted to act. And instead of celebrating my talent, I heard over and over again why I wasn’t good enough. Rejection, for me, became about my physical appearance. I was able to find unhealthy outlets to combat these feelings in my mind. I got skinner, but it never seemed to be enough. So, instead of finding a healthy way to heal my mind, body, and soul, it destroyed my confidence and my self-worth even more. 

Photo by Trinidee Rae Photography

I compared myself to other women as I picked them apart, secretly saying what I had and didn’t have that they did.

I was horrible to the person looking back at me in the mirror. If I heard a man saying another woman was beautiful I would take it to mean I was not. I was hurt in relationships I told myself that it was because physically I needed to do more to look better, then they would love me. I developed what I would say ” borderline body dysmorphia.” To this day I struggle to love this body of mine and I know so many women that do. It is something that I work on daily. Not only for myself but for my kids too. My daughters AND my son.

I do my best nurturing this part of me constantly so I can keep my self-love strong.

I beat myself up about it over and over. Thank goodness I never took it to the extreme of anorexia or bulimia, and I celebrate myself with that. It doesn’t mean that I am not in love with my life. It doesn’t mean that I do not have a good sense of who I am, but it does mean that I understand what it feels like to be in your shoes, even if it’s just a little bit. I understand that self-love and body-love are no easy fix. It needs to become a part of your daily practice. Loving yourself needs to be a way of life. 

Now don’t think that I am saying don’t continue to work on being healthy in your body as well. Feed it right to fuel it. Exercise and see how incredible it is. Celebrate when you see changes…all of this is ok too! Just make sure to notice the beauty in your pain. Acknowledge the warrior you are underneath your scars. Feel good about your choices of being the best version of yourself and see how unique and special you are, from your head down to your toes.

This is your life…honor all the parts of you. It is possible to heal these wounds.

Find a way to dig deep into the layers of your soul. Find what gives you strength and allow yourself to love the journey. I say this for anyone who struggles. No matter your size, your color, your race, your ethnicity, your age, or your history.

My goal is to continue to pull back the layers and get back to that little girl I was who innocently loved her body before everyone told her she wasn’t good enough the way she was. I challenge you to do the same. You are worth it!

Photograph by Trinidee Ray Photography

To find out more about gaining more self-love, body-love, and soul-love, please come to our retreat where we have helped many women, just like you. We have been there. We understand. You are not alone.
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Your Relationship, Your Rules

Do I dare say it? 

Do I get this vulnerable and admit this to myself? 

But it’s heart month, and I am diving deep into my own self-love as well as into the love I am experiencing with my partner. Because it is something I always dreamed of, but wasn’t quite sure it was possible. So, here I go….

Photo by Trinidee Rae Photography

I love love. I love being in love. 

As in love as I have been, there has  been something missing, in myself and in the relationship. Two messy humans coming together is never easy, but should it feel so hard? Should there be so many doubts? It was normal to need to be constantly validated. I would “fish” for compliments because I didn’t feel as though I was pretty enough, sexy enough, good enough, that there was always something I was lacking in. I would do little things in hopes to make my partner jealous so they would realize I was worth wanting. And sometimes I even had a backup plan in my mind in case they decided they didn’t love me anymore, or I didn’t feel loved anymore. All I wanted was to feel the love that I felt for them returned for me. 

So much of this I know was because of my own insecurities, wounds and past trauma that fed into these feelings. It takes two for a relationship to either work or be broken. It takes both partners to work on their own sh!t and be self aware enough to recognize when they are being triggered. It also takes empathy and understanding towards the other person. 

This is not necessarily a pretty process. It rarely is when people are healing, let alone trying to figure out how to heal together. No matter how similar you are, you come from two different places. There are so many ingrained behaviors and challenges that each one of you is trying to overcome individually that sometimes it gets seen as the issues between the two of you rather than seeing them as your own. Many times they have nothing to do with you. 

Which means that even in healthy relationships there will still be moments of frustration. There will still be arguments that occur. There will still be layers of pain that will be uncovered. However, in these moments, there is a different vibration. There is a different energy that surrounds them. You recognize faster that it is happening and it is easier to diffuse. 

Photo by Trinidee Rae Phototgraphy

The arguments start to shift and instead of escalating to fights, they become conversations of healing and processing stirred up emotions. Instead of waking up the next day feeling heavy and dark, you wake up feeling lighter and full. Even if it was emotional and draining, the connection between the two of you deepens and there is another layer of understanding that has been unraveled and safely expose the raw underbelly of your life. Your partner accepts you in exactly the way you are no matter how complicating things are. 

In a healthy relationship, you get to be exactly the way you are. You are being supportive in healing those past wounds. You are celebrating who you are becoming. 

Toxic relationships aren’t easy to let go of and healthy ones are hard to find. However, you are worth it. Let go of limiting beliefs. Many of us tell ourselves until we have “healed” completely we are not worthy of love. Understand that healing is a lifelong process and give yourself some grace. They don’t have to have all their shit together to be the perfect match for you. Because if you are honest with yourself, you will recognize that there will always be things that come up that puts a strain on the relationship…you know, like LIFE?

Photo by Trinidee Rae Phototgraphy

Keep these thoughts in mind:

  1. What works for one couple may not work for yours…and that’s ok!
  2. Don’t be tying yourself down to “society’s rules” in order to have an incredible relationship.
  3. Healing, growing, and transforming is GOOD! You won’t even be the same and you shouldn’t expect to be, especially when you have a new person in your life that is now a new priority.
  4. Compromise is crucial. Expecting to ALWAYS have it your way is unrealistic and will cause resentment. Communicate your needs and listen to theirs and figure out a way for you both to feel loved, heard, seen and accepted.
  5. Remember to play and laugh at your shortcomings. You will both have them. Rather than getting defensive, try taking a breath and come from a place of love. You DO have control of how you react. Feeling judged, hurt or betrayed start asking questions to get a better understanding of the situation? If you need some time to do that…TAKE IT! But always come back with love. 
  6. It’s ok to go to bed with unresolved issues, however, try to do so with the mutual agreement that you will come back to it in the morning. Get out your feelings and emotions, write them a letter and reread it in the morning to see if that is how you truly feel. 

A different kind of love

Trust me, I am not an expert on your relationship. Not even an expert on mine. However, I do know that these shifts in my mind, heart, and soul have gotten me to a place I only thought was possible in fairy tales. But even in fairy tales, you have to fight off the demons before you live your happily ever after! (And if you notice, in part 2 of most movies, another plot will emerge and there will be another battle they must face!!)

Please contact me for more self-awareness, self-love, or relationship coaching:

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