Somewhere along the course of my life, I became convinced I didn’t deserve to feel good about myself. Well-manicured nails, nice clothes, special treatments… these things were exclusively reserved for thin, healthy women. They deserved them, not me. I’d have to earn them. And the only way I could earn them was to quit smoking and be thin. Since I almost always fell short in that department, I have deprived myself of that which would make me feel better. I didn’t realize this until quite recently…
I was sitting with my counselor chatting about my progress and how great I’ve been feeling. “And although I’m not at the weight I hoped I’d be by now, I went ahead and made all my appointments anyway for waxing, mani/pedi, etc. I’m going shopping for a new swimsuit and a few new pieces of clothing. I’ve been applying self-tanner,” I said with a laugh. “I want to do whatever I can to look as good as I feel. I never did that in the past and I always regretted not trying harder before a special event.”
“Why do you think that is?” she asked.
I had to think about it. Why didn’t I buy new clothes or splurge on new make-up, pedicures or waxing before special events in the past? The truth emerged.
“I suppose it’s because I was never who I wanted to be for the occasion. And so I guess I never felt I deserved those things. I was a fat smoker. I didn’t earn a new swimsuit or clothes, or special treatment. And so I’d go to the thing or the place, and I’d feel self conscious about my clothes and my nails and my hair and my smoking. Feeling like shit was what I deserved.”
No sooner than the harsh reality left my lips did my eyes start to well with this sad revelation. I never understood this was my thought progress and why I made the decisions I did. It hurt to learn this is how I treated myself… that in yet another way, I was my own worst enemy.
“And why is it different now?” she asked.
“I feel good. I know I don’t look much different yet, but I feel different. I’ve quit smoking, have worked so hard and have made so much progress. I don’t want to punish myself anymore. I want to reward myself. I deserve to go to Punta Cana next week and feel as good about myself as possible. So many times I have done things as if I’d get a re-do when I was ready.”
“Like those things didn’t quite count because you weren’t the version of yourself in your head?”
“Exactly. But I’ve learned that there are seldom opportunities for re-dos. I may never go to Punta Cana again. It may be years before I get to to the Caribbean again, if ever. I don’t want to go in an old swimsuit that barely fits or with ugly feet. I don’t want to look at pictures and wish I’d tried harder. I don’t want to feel self-conscious and cry in my room before gaining the courage to go down to the pool.”
Clearly, somewhere over the past few months, a miraculous shift in my thought process occurred.
I deserve to feel good about myself.
And so I went shopping. Twice. My arms laden with hangers I entered the dressing rooms at various stores prepared for war and experienced countless emotions throughout the process. But with patience, forgiveness, diligence, discernment, and a little help from my friends (Kathy reminded me to tap into my inner Goddess and that I deserve a beautiful swimsuit I feel great in), I emerged victorious. I found two great swimsuits, two gorgeous cover-ups that make me feel confident and sexy, and a few other pieces that fit great and make me feel good.
I will get my nails and toes done, my hair cut, and some waxing. I’ll replace some overdue make-up. I will put care and effort into packing (minimally, of course).
I have let my fears and a sense that I didn’t deserve things hold me back for a long time. I want to travel! I want to see and experience new things! I want to feel good about myself! I want to achieve my goals! I have shifted my thinking from a place of fear to a place of love and I have witnessed my life finally begin to change. I’ve worked very hard to rid myself of destructive and sabotaging thought processes. It was only once I started to do that that I finally began to see change. I now see this idea that I don’t deserve to feel good about myself for what it truly is: another story concocted by my fear-mind to keep me from living my life and pursuing my dreams. This idea was never motivating, only debilitating.
And now that I know I deserve to feel good about myself, the sky is my limit.