There is a scene in the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” or BoRhap as the band and fans had nicknamed the song by the same name, where Freddie Mercury is talking to a waiter in his home after a wild party. The waiter is gay and Freddie makes a move on him but the guy backs off. They have a beer together and it comes round to the waiter (Jim) mentioning the party-goers as Freddie’s friends; however, the Queen vocalist says he doesn’t have any friends. Jim ends up saying “Look me up when you love yourself”.
Now, before Queen diehard fans write to say that is not how Jim and Freddie met, I am actually focussing on the line and not the context.
It is no secret that I often thought I didn’t have any friends and I certainly didn’t love or even like myself through most of my childhood and adult life. I thought it was because no one loved me, and through lots of therapy learned that I made it difficult for anyone to like me because I didn’t like myself and I made that very apparent.
I could (and have) blamed this on my upbringing, my mental illnesses, my appearance, etc. However, it was really just a vicious circle of negativity. I changed where I lived, went to school, who I associated with, and on and on. But nothing seemed to make a difference. The bullying and feeling like an outsider followed me wherever I went.
Some of the behaviors that came out of this were my binge eating, temper tantrums, thoughts of wanting to harm myself, and total self-doubt. I sabotaged relationships before the other person could hurt me.
Just like all of the negativity became a downward spiral, the positivity that is filling my life is causing an upward one.
First, I am accepting of my looks. I am 60 years old and have been relatively inactive because of pain and other symptoms of my chronic illnesses. So I am certainly not going to have youthful features and a Victoria Secret Angel body.
I am not only accepting the limitations of my body, but I am also trying to do things about it. This includes walking with Miley as much as possible instead of just standing or sitting in the dog park. Right now snow and ice are hindering this; however, that should be gone in the next few days.
I have a binging disorder that rears its ugly head every time I try to “diet”, am anxious or just feel rebellious. This can look like buying chocolate and other bad foods when I am alone, hiding them and consuming them in very short periods of time. Now, if I shop with others I can’t buy anything and if I shop alone and do buy something like ice cream, I make sure my husband knows both that we have it and where it is.
So, I made another breakthrough this morning. I had granola for breakfast. Hubby isn’t feeling well and went for a nap. I wanted to go get a piece of the gluten-free pumpkin cake I made but was able to talk myself out of it. I also don’t have the GF pretzels I keep on hand for snacking so turned to raw/unsalted pumpkin seeds to have with my meds that require food. Now it is lunch time and I am thinking of having a salad with avocado and cucumber. I am not even craving anything else (like the perogies I wanted yesterday but didn’t have).
What is the change?
I like myself, and could even go so as far as to say I am learning to love myself. There are lots of reasons for this.
- My husband believes in me and I love everything about him so I take him at his word.
- I am realizing I have a lot of friends, past, present and cyber, who like who I am. Could that many people be wrong?
- The more I exercise the healthier I feel both mentally and physically.
- I am really noticing the difference in my moods and health when I eat the right or wrong foods.
- I learned to accept that my family life was far from perfect and now I am remembering things and realizing it wasn’t completely horrible either.
- My faith not only makes me stronger, it keeps me there.
- Through my health coaching and advocacy, I am seeing how all the tough challenges I have been through can be used to help others.
I will be continuing this topic in future posts. I think it fits both in Mental Health and Project Organize!
Thinking about liking myself to help others brings to mind one song. I think I have shared “Man In The Mirror” before but it deserves repeating.