And it is a process. An often misunderstood process. I know I’ve often misunderstood it.
I’ve heard that there are three realms of knowledge:
1) There are the things you know, and you know you know them. For example, I know my name is Karen and I know that 2 + 2 = 4.
2) Then there are the things you don’t know, and you know that you don’t know them. For example, I know that I don’t know how to perform brain surgery.
3) And finally, there are the things you don’t know, and you don’t know that you don’t know them. I can’t you a current example (ha ha ha), but I can tell you that, prior to 2005, I didn’t know that I didn’t know how to love and myself. The concept of being able to love and accept myself (the way I understand it today) didn’t exist for me and I didn’t know that it didn’t exist.
It’s been seven years since I was introduced to the concept of loving and accepting myself. In the beginning, it was like a miracle! I was like an overly exuberant child, reveling in the possibilities of self-acceptance. And when I lost a significant amount of weight as a result (or so I thought), I wanted to preach self-love and acceptance! I wanted to prove it and defend it!
From where I sit today, I can see that back then I didn’t quite believe it. I was still unsure of myself. I was still looking for approval and validation – not to mention answers – from outside sources. I thought that once I “got” self-love and acceptance then my life would be perfect. Kind of like I used to think that once I hit goal weight, I’d look like a supermodel.
And so when I started to regain weight in 2008 I went into desperation mode…I forgot about self-love and acceptance. I relegated it to that second realm of knowledge: something I knew, but wasn’t practicing.
But it was there in the far recesses of my brain and so when I started this blog in 2009, it was with the intention that I could love myself to thinness. I have since revised that intention to loving myself to health.
So with that in mind, and in honor of Valentine’s Day, I want to share what I think self-love and acceptance is (and isn’t).
Self-love and acceptance is not all la-la-la hippy-dippy woo-woo 24/7/365. It doesn’t mean that you’re in a joyful, reflective, mindful mood all the time and/or that your body is at its “perfect” weight. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t or aren’t willing to change. It is not defensive. It does not need to be proven.
Self-love and acceptance can happen at the same time as grouchy, irritated, bloated, eating too much, not eating enough, bitchy, cranky, sobbing, angry, exercising too much, not exercising enough.
Self-love and acceptance embraces both the positive and negative and knowing that when I am in the negative, the positive is also right there waiting for me.
With self-love and acceptance, I approach my life, myself, my body, how I eat and move from an open, compassionate, and curious place – not a restrictive, shameful, blaming, resistive one.
It is an evolutionary process…one with which I choose to be patient (most of the time).