How I Stopped Hating Myself & Started Living My Dream Life

stopped hating myself

I was 44 years old. I had a great life, great family, beautiful mid century home, nice cars, nannies, a housekeeper, and amazing storybook vacations. From the outside I’m sure it all seemed incredible, like a dream life.

That is, unless I let you peek inside my head.

The truth is that my mind was filled with endless self criticizing thoughts and self shame.

It was my mind that allowed me to be in a verbally abusive marriage for 14 years. Because of my mind, I’d been taking diet pills since I was 16 years old. I lived a life of constant deprivation and wondered why everything seemed sad.

At the very core of me, deprived is what I was.

You see, I have always been sensitive, affectionate, loving, kind and any friend’s loudest cheerleader. However, as soon as I was alone, the self judgement would kick in and with it came the feelings of not being enough, being fat, having freckles, having red hair and worse, red pubes!

I was filled with remorse thinking about how I’d have sex way too easily out of fear that, if I said no, the men would never call me.

And because of my negative feelings, I’d allow my ex-husband to beat me down so low with mean words and shaming looks.

In truth, I felt lifeless and hopeless.

Well, I woke up.

I wish I could tell you that one day I woke up and said to myself, “This doesn’t feel right and this isn’t what I deserve.” No, in truth I woke up because I realized my 6 year old was witnessing this verbal abuse. She saw me as a depressed victim and she watched me criticize myself.

FUCK NO, I finally decided. I’d be damned if I would allow this sad, lonely, self-hating history to repeat itself.

So I got help. I began to see a great therapist who kept me accountable. I surrounded myself like a tight cocoon with my loving, supportive friends who held my hand through this.

Was it a happy ending? Not yet.

There I was, I had a beautiful apartment, great friends, my daughter was thriving. This new super skinny me had even started dating.

But, wait what’s that?

That mean voice was still there.

That alien that would appear in my brain when I was stressed or having uncomfortable thoughts, spurring me into a food frenzy. Compulsive eating became my preferred method of calming my nerves, to shut out all the fears and all the questions, all the uncertainty.

I thought for sure that, when I left my marriage, that mean girl in my head would stay there in the past.

Then, 2 years later I met my soulmate: the man who changed my life and my entire perception of men, the man who you dream is out there waiting for you.

So was it time for my “happily ever after” yet?

Though I knew I was supposed to “get it” by now because this was my dream, what I knew would make me whole and complete, the damaging behavior continued.

Finally, one day, I caught myself while I was getting out of the shower saying HORRIBLE things to myself as I looked in the mirror.

My words were far worse than any mean boy in high school, far meaner than my ex husband.

As this reality hit me, I just sat and cried. Tearfully I realized that this is where all of my trouble began, inside of my head.

And so here, inside my own head, is where it needed to end.

I asked myself, “How can I possibly expect to heal when I hate myself on such a deep level?” I realized I would never speak to someone I love so bitterly. This sadness and feeling of emptiness washed over me.

So finally, with this realization, my journey could truly begin. Yes, this was in November 2014 at the age of 51 years old.

Fast forward to today. Am I tempted to binge? Yes, but not as frequently. I can see it coming and 95% of the time I can sit and see what the real craving is, what exactly I am needing in that moment in order to truly fill my tank.

Have I lost weight? Yes, but it is a slow, healthy process. I am someone who craves quick fixes, losing 5 pounds a week and starving myself.

But, this time, I am focusing on the big picture.

I now replace those mean words with loving words. I replace mean thoughts with gentle, kind thoughts. Before, when I would get sad, fearful & anxious, I would stuff my feelings down with food. Today, I replace that habit with mindfulness, lovingly listening to my body for answers.

Do I slip up? YES, I’m human! But do I punish myself or shame myself? NO, because I’m proud to say I am pretty okay with loving my “imperfectness”.

And the best part of this whole story is my daughter. She is such a kind, beautiful, positive 15 year old. She has a wonderful self-image and a beautiful relationship with food. We talk about everything and there is nothing better than this.

I did it: I stopped my history from crippling her life. That to me is one of the best things I have done in my life so far!

You see, we must all stop waiting for our lives to begin.

Instead, let’s start showing up, enjoying, celebrating, and being grateful for our amazing lives.

xo Alison

stopped hating myself

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15 thoughts on “How I Stopped Hating Myself & Started Living My Dream Life”

  1. Hi Alison,

    Your story is moving, touching, and inspiring.
    I have suffered from physical and emotional abuse since I was in my childhood and there are certain aspects of your story that I can relate with.
    I am recovering right now and still struggling with my worst inner critics.
    Thank you for opening up, sharing your vulnerability, showing courage, and inspiring others with your experiences and the lessons you have gained from it.

    Best wishes,
    Purna

    1. Hi Purna,
      Your welcome.
      Yes, those inner critics can be a tough relationship to end, but the growth I had on the wayt made me the person I am now. Trust yourself, start to talk to yourself like you would a child. Be gentle.
      I am here if you would like to talk. xoxo

  2. Your story speaks to me profoundly. I am not in an abusive relationship but I abuse myself in the way I speak and think about my body. I am slim but I see myself as fat. I used to be fat and my fat mind still haunts me. I love food but the enjoyment of food has been taken away. Thanks for letting me know that It can be done.

    1. Thank you Yvonne, Yes it absolutely can be done!
      Please feel free to reach out to me! I know how this feels impossible & so “huge” but once we learn to stop the mean words, really learn to start to love, cheerish & have compassion for our bodies, we start to heal. xo

  3. Hi Alison, great story. What others do or say to us is often what we believe about ourselves. So before we can stop the abuse on the outside, we have to stop the abuse on the inside. Everything starts inside of us, tha abude as well as the healing. I’m glad that you could finally see it for what It was, and put a stop to it.

    And can you see what a ripple effect it has… imagine all the women who found you and found their healing through you. If you didn’t heal and step into your destiny, they would still be waiting today, struggling with their own issues. But now they longer have to wait… thank you for that!

  4. Great post. I loved your honesty and vulnerability. It is so amazingly true that no matter what we receive on the outside, if we don’t first believe it on the inside, we will never be able to take it in. And it’s also true that the littlest of things can affect our self-image. Thank you for sharing. Truly inspirational.

    -Tara

  5. Very powerful piece. Someone once said I could have everything I want if I’d only get out of my own way. I am finally starting to understand exactly what that means.

  6. Hi Alison,
    Your story was delivered in a very matter-of-fact way, but you’ve been through an emotional tsunami. More than once!
    I admire the way you’re able to objectively see yourself, because it seems like it’s allowed you to solve your problems bit by bit.
    You’re so right, we need to be grateful for our lives while we have them!

  7. Quote “And so here, inside my own head, is where it needed to end.” That simple yet so profound.

    I say YES to that. Thank you.

  8. Hello Alison!

    Great piece! Thank you for sharing and your willingness to be so transparent with readers.

    My question is whether you had to be “skinny” for your soul mate to show up? You mentioned that your “skinny self” started dating after divorce, and then you met your soul mate. It just seems that if those were the sequence of events, then it would be almost impossible to release yourself from the grip of fear around your body image. We do live in a world where there is more emphasis on outward appearance, than there is inner beauty.

    Again, thank you for sharing this inspiring piece.

    Lovingly,
    Michelle

    1. That’s a great question Michelle.
      At the time when I met him yes, in my mind I still thought that only if I was thin could someone love me ( and then I would magically love myself.)
      However the beauty was I was actually already on the road to healing because I attracted a man who was very different from my ex husband. He created such a space of safeness for me that I could talk openly about my body issues & self loathing without shame and he lovingly supported me through my healing. Once I “stopped” dieting he also held my hand through the ups & downs of not trying to control my body through food or exercise . Now that my body has balanced into a size that is naturally comfortable I feel so at home in my body and enjoy the present moment, I exercise in a way that feels good and eat what nourishes me. I no longer worry about counting endless numbers and feeling that food controls me, I now just tune in and listen to what I am really wanting instead of reaching for food thinking that will fill up a void in me xo
      With Love & Gratitude

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