I used to only ever feel pretty when I was starving.
When I fit into my skinny jeans.
When my stomach growled with hunger pains.
When I comfortably fit in a size 0.
As you might imagine, my inner mean girl wasn’t kind.
“You have too many dimples on your tush.”
“Look at your love handles, Danielle.”
“You look skinny…but not skinny enough.”
And yet, the compliments flowed.
“You have such an amazing figure!”
“You’re so beautiful, Danielle!”
“You look gorgeous!”
And I believed them. I truly did believe that I was beautiful…
…when I was (literally and figuratively) small.
I was slowly killing myself.
But that’s what I wanted. I wanted to be invisible.
I didn’t know how to be full—full of ease, full of peace, full of worthiness…
It has been 10 years since.
10 years since I lied to friends, saying I had “just eaten,” grabbing a drink for dinner instead.
10 years since I counted calories instead of counting sheep.
10 years since I would wait as long as I could to eat real food on any given day. Substituting coffee and sugar for meals.
10 years since I dismissed my inner mean girl.
Instead of working from the outside in, I learned—slowly, often painstakingly—that the work must start from within.
Because my spirit is now full—with love and with total acceptance of all of me, both the perfect and the imperfect—I am free to fill myself physically, too.
It’s not an easy journey. It’s not a perfect one.
But it’s a necessary one.
If I could tell myself anything 10 years ago, I would say this:
You deserve to be seen. You deserve to be full. You are beautiful, exactly as you are.
And I say the same to YOU today.
Of course, she hasn’t disappeared—my inner mean girl. I still hear her occasionally, even as I near 40.
“Has the skin on the back of your arms gotten looser?”
“Isn’t acne supposed to be for teenagers only?”
“Are those crow’s feet, Danielle?”
And I gently, kindly, and consistently let her go, over and over, once again.
Because I no longer see my body as an enemy, separate from me. Through the deep transformational work of healing myself from the inside out, I have climbed back into my body and learned to love it wholly. Truly.
In my commitment,
to be kinder
to be gentler
to be full of myself,
I have truly discovered what it means to KNOW myself.
And I want you to know yourself like that, too.
I want you to see yourself, and let yourself be seen.
I want you to be dismiss your inner mean girl, and become FULL of yourself.
Because there is nothing more beautiful than that.
Image Credit: The Every Girl