No matter what, would you still be willing to know and experience yourself as lovable? A personal and engaging story of self loveMarch 1, 2017
The following is fourth of six YBIC National Eating Disorders Awareness Week daily posts that highlights how the practice of yoga can be an integral component in the effective treatment of and on-going recovery from eating disorders and disordered eating.
Imagine from this day forward that not a single thing changed when it came to all those “things” that you wished were different when it comes to yourself and your body.
Now of course, change is the only constant, but go with me on this for a moment.
If none of these “things” were to ever change, at the end of the day when you rest your head on your pillow, would you still be willing to know and experience yourself as lovable?
Yep I really did just ask this question.
If I had read this line 15 years ago, heck if I had read this line 20 years ago I would have thought you were crazy.
I now feel in my bones that if nothing were to ever shift from this day forward I would still be lovable, but I am skipping ahead in the story!
Come with me on a quickie journey as I share how I got to this question.
Back in 7th grade my family had moved from the neighborhood I grew up in, to a whole new city and house 30 minutes West. This meant leaving behind all my friends, starting at a new school, making new friends, and to top it off my parents marriage was falling apart.
My weight had become the topic of conversation in our family from a really early age, and my mom suggested that I start seeing a nutritionist; all for supporting my “health”, of course. Well famous last words for me, as I quickly learned how “being healthy” can go downhill fast.
It was a time in my life where I felt out of control and being the sensitive empathetic woman I am, at the ripe age of 12 I didn’t have a level of mastery in connecting to myself or my feelings. Very quickly counting calories, restricting my food intake, and getting lots of attention for losing weight was a way I began “controlling my life” and all that ways I felt so out of control.
My parents soon caught on that my “getting healthier” had developed into a full blown bout of Anorexia, and that I needed help ASAP. It was a 4 month journey of being in intensive out-patient treatment for my eating disorder; taken out of the 7th grade for a few months, and then slowly integrating back into school part time and then eventually full time.
As things started to shift, even though I wasn’t actively suffering from anorexia, the remainder of junior high and high school was hard for me as I often felt out of place, ‘too sensitive’, awkward, and like I never quite fit in.
Fast forward to 2001, I was a freshman at UCSB. It was my first time away from home, and the all too familiar feelings of feeling out of control and so deeply wanting to fit in and feel accepted came rushing back.
What began again as another form of “I just want to be healthy” for me soon became another full blown experience of Anorexia. This time I had gotten so out of control with the restricting and over-exercising that my parents took me out of UCSB, and made a very clear request that I check myself into an intensive inpatient eating disorder program at UCLA.
While I knew deep down inside I needed support; that if I kept making the choices to abandon and punish myself and my body in this way that I was headed down a path of possibly losing my life, I was stubbornly resisting, and refusing treatment.
That was until one early morning in April 2002. I was doing my usual calorie restriction and early gym routine, and as I was driving home from the gym I was overcome with dizziness and I ultimately ended up in the ER. Waking up there in that moment, I got a wake up call, and had the thought “I know something needs to shift, or I could lose my life”.
I was scared and resistant yet somewhere deep down inside I heard a voice of what I could only call my essential self saying, “You are ready. There is so much more you are meant to do and share with this planet.”
And so I took one of the most profound and life transforming steps Spring of 2002, and began the journey of reclaiming a loving relationship with myself and rediscovering my authentic expression. I feel in all my heart that this pivotal moment is what truly supported me on my path of starting my business, Yoga’licious, and supporting women in reclaiming a nurturing, celebratory, and self loving relationship with themselves.
So why am I sharing all this with you?
Whether or not you can relate specifically to parts of my story, my sense is you have your own version of “my story,” or a time, which could possibly be this very moment, where you felt disconnected from yourself (insert big kisses to yourself here!).
I truly believe that there are no mistakes, and that you learn from each action! I also know in all my being that it is possible to live your life feeling a love for yourself that is not sourced from something outside of you or in the future.
Sure, there may still be times you doubt yourself or life feels out of control (I know I still experience this at times :)),but I believe that deep down in your core it’s possible for you to still feel an unwavering connection and love for your delicious self without needing to change one thing about you! and deep down in your core I believe it’s possible for you to still feel an unwavering connection and love for your delicious self without needing to change one thing about you!
It’s amazing what time can do. As I retell my story, in honor of NEDA week and in hopes of inspiring you to do the same with your own story, I feel like I am telling you a story of someone else. The way I relate to my body and myself has radically shifted; it’s like I have died and come back to life in this lifetime.
So no matter where you are on your journey, I want to leave you today with my top-ten biggest discoveries I have had over the past 15 years. I hope it reminds you of all the magic and possibility inherent in you, exactly as you are now:
1.) You can’t do it wrong! No matter how far you fall down the perceived rabbit hole, you can always make a new choice
2.) There is not one “right way” to practice yoga, eat, move, or express yourself
3.) All parts of you are lovable; even the parts you may perceive as messy or less desirable
4.) The myth of arrival (i.e. “when I get there, then I will be ‘x’ “) is really just a myth! Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed; Baby steps rock
5.) Celebrate your own unique expression and body, everyone else’s is taken
6.) Your body is such a gift, and has so much wisdom to share
7.) All the answers you have been seeking are already inside of you
8.) There is not one canned expression of beauty
9.) You are not a project that needs to be fixed or perfected, you are a delicious woman right in this very moment
10.) And, Your enough-ness isn’t in a formula, box, size, or hottest yoga pose on Instagram – it is right now, so go out there and shine!
If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, know that you are not alone and that there is help. For more information and resources you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
Melanie Elkin, is the creator and founder of Yoga’licious. She passionately supports women in rediscovering a relationship with their essential selves. This includes appreciating their bodies, opening back up to their own unique expression, and playfully learning to listen to their intuition through yoga, self care, mentoring and other practices that bring them into connection with their sacred self. She’s not into quick fixes or scripted exercise and yoga routines but instead guides women to create a way of living and moving that nourishes them, feels pleasurable and brings them back to a juicy connection to themselves. She resides out of Santa Barbara California, and currently supports women through her group programs, private programs, retreats, and other events! www.melanieelkin.com