The very nature of an eating disorder revolves around denial. Denial of needs, denial of self, denial of the actual problem. A lot of people feel guilty when they indulge themselves or allow a treat (‘I really shouldn’t…) but self-nurturing becomes a real issue when you don’t believe you deserve even the basics …when you truly believe that you don’t deserve even a slice of bread, it’s nigh-on impossible to persuade yourself that you do, however, deserve that hot, scented bath with candles, that new book, that precious you-time.
And this is exactly when we need to be nurturing ourselves – when we are feeling bruised and broken, used up, tired out, spent.
It’s a vicious circle. Low self-esteem and no self-worth makes us despise ourselves (we are weak, we are worthless); despising ourselves further diminishes our self-esteem and self-worth, which makes us hate ourselves even more…and so on and so on, ad infinitum.
Imagine your best friend coming to you, weeping, telling you that she doesn’t deserve to live, that she is hateful, disgusting, a terrible person. And then imagine how you would respond. Chances are, you wouldn’t nod along and agree: Yes, I see what you mean…you really are awful, aren’t you? And you’re right, you don’t deserve anything. You don’t deserve to eat. To love. To live.
But this is exactly the sort of thing we say to ourselves.
Self-nurturing isn’t about taking yourself off to a spa for a weekend, or treating yourself to something nice. In its simplest form, self-nurturing is just about showing yourself the same kindness, compassion and empathy you freely show to others. It’s about being accepting of yourself rather than condemning every perceived foible or flaw. It’s about continuing to make the right decisions for your health and wellbeing. It’s about acknowledging that even though you might not feel worthy, you are worthy – that you deserve the same rights and respect as anyone else.
I'll end with a quote I like (surprised? ;-)
You could search the tenfold universe and not find a single being more worthy of loving kindness than yourself.