My Journey from Anorexia to Self-Love
Even though having anorexia was one of the darkest phases of my life so far, I recognize a huge gift in it. Because I believe that every disease has a message for us. Every pain wants to show us something. It wants us to see that we need to change something in order to become happy.
Being anorexic really showed me how I felt about myself back then. I did not love myself. I did not love my body. I did not appreciate what my body did for me everyday. How my body worked so hard to keep me alive. I only looked at the parts of my body I did not like when I looked at myself in the mirror. I only noticed my body when it did not work. I had no clue how to be happy back then, so I tried to be perfect to get confirmation from other people. I thought I needed this confirmation because I was not able to give any value to myself. I tried to be this perfect doll, who looked a certain way, was the smartest, the funniest, the prettiest, the coolest. And I never questioned if that was really me. I was so competitive, I did not know any limits. I did not know how to be gentle to myself and how to notice when it was enough.
Looking back I think I am very lucky for having taken this extreme way that blew up in my face so fast. In the midst of my eating disorder, I cannot remember anyone complimenting me, like I expected. I only remember people being concerned and labelling me as “sick”. I did not want to be seen as weak and sick. I wanted to be seen as strong and badass. That is why I started fighting it. I started to get treatment.
Recovery really was not easy, but it was worth it. I went through hell back then. I faced my biggest shadows. At first it was more about changing my eating behavior. But then it became more and more an inner journey.
For the first time in my life I asked myself who I really was and who I wanted to be. For the first time in my life I asked myself what my childhood was like for me. For the first time in my life I started looking for smart ways to make myself happy. I asked my body if it wants to become my friend and it said “yes”. From this point on I took time to ask my body what it needs from me. I changed the way I look at myself in the mirror. Now I focus on all the parts of my body that I like. And they slowly became more. I hug myself everyday. I thank my body for all the hard work it does for me quietly everyday.
I made a long challenging and extremely beautiful journey during the past ten years. It has been a journey away from self-doubt, self-criticism and perfectionism to radical self-love. I had to embrace and transform some massive pain during that time. I had to look at myself naked and admit that I was treating myself horribly. I had to take a look at my life and admit that it was not the life I wanted for myself.
I had to let go of everything I had and everything I believed. That transition was not easy. It was not smooth. It did not fall from the sky and hit me on the head. It was hard work. It was dedication. It was the decision of total commitment to myself. Total commitment to recovery. I don´t allow myself to hate on my body anymore. Because in this life I only have this body. There is no logic in being at war with that body. Instead I choose to celebrate it and to enjoy it everyday. I enjoy eating delicious food. Sometimes it is carrots and sometimes it is chocolate. I don´t care. I enjoy feeling my power while practicing martial arts. I enjoy sweet lovers treating my body with gentleness and appreciation. And of course there are some scars left on my soul. From time to time destructive patterns want to cheat their way back into my life, my thoughts, my behavior. But I won´t let them. I notice them and then make a different decision. Because it is my first and important responsibility to love myself and to take good care of myself. And it is only my responsibility, no one else´s. Of course, there is some huge family baggage that played a part in developing this disease. But as an adult,
I am responsible for myself. I am responsible for my health. And I am responsible for the relationship between me and my body. I chose and continue to choose to fill this relationship with love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MALOU TSCHOEKE
Malou is 27 years old and resides in Berlin, Germany. She suffered from anorexia 10 years ago and now works as a self-love coach, trainer and blogger. You can find out more about her on her website : https://erliebe-dich.de/ueber-mich/