The day I stopped hating myself…or the day self-love won

Looking at the picture, I astonished myself by murmuring, “I just can’t hate her.”

I was talking about myself, looking at a photograph taken recently as I was speaking at a Wellness Fair.

In it I was just as soft and round as I’ve ever been, but my usual scathing self-loathing was weirdly silent and my heart felt strangely full…of compassion?

I felt like I was witnessing the Aurora Borealis or a white tiger. Something rare and beautiful and not likely to be repeated any time soon.

Compassion happened again…

Two weeks later I was standing in the (dreaded) changing room reflected in 3 mirrors from all sorts of angles. Seeing my body clearly was unavoidable.

My usual reaction would have been to loath on myself and run away. This time, though, my arms rose and wrapped themselves around my breasts and belly while compassion flooded my heart for a second time.

Compassion and something more….

I watched myself fall into a slow-motion surrender – an infinitely gentle tumble into love…with my body.

Tears. Astonishment. Wonder. Awe. Joy. Disbelief. More joy. Giddy laughter. More tears. One delirious emotion after another cascaded wildly through me. I love…my body?

There was no writing about this. No talking about it. This seedling love needed tending. My full presence. Putting it into words too soon would have shattered it, strangled it, stolen its light.

It needed to sink in…become familiar territory. Invoke a bit less awe and a few less tears before I could risk sharing it. My body needed to get used to being loved by the soul inhabiting her. (Oh dear, more tears as I wrote that.)

Imperfect Self-Love = Perfect Resiliency

For this story, I don’t have a tidy concluding paragraph complete with “how to’s.” My narrative simply comes to rest in knowing how an imperfect self-love practice can effectively repair decades of self-loathing damage.

It comes to rest in knowing a self-love practice can build enough resiliency that the creature from the self-loathing lagoon goes back where he came from…and stays there. It rests in the realization that self-love practiced can lead to falling in love with yourself.


Tracie Nichols writes poetry and facilitates group writing experiences from under the wide reach of two old Sycamore trees in southeastern Pennsylvania. She is the co-founder of the Embodied Writers writing group and a Transformative Language Artist helping women write themselves home. You can find Tracie on her website.

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