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Chasing Self-love

Are you constantly looking for acceptance, love, approval, or validation from others in order to feel good about yourself? Do you speed-read through self-help books, drift from therapist to therapist, and quest for magical wisdom at “transformational” retreats and workshops in the hope that something or someone will heal you?

My advice is to cease this flurry of activity and, instead, seek answers within yourself. What the words self-help, self-approval, and self-love all have in common is, obviously, the word “self.” You have the answer for how to be with yourself in perfect harmony if you’d only stop running around looking outside yourself. Isn’t it true that no matter how many people love and validate you, you still don’t love or seem to be able to validate yourself consistently? Haven’t you noticed that the more you seek approval from others, the more you need it from them and the farther away you get from giving it to yourself?

Perhaps you haven’t noticed because you’ve been so frenetically looking outward for answers. All the money, status, popularity, beauty, weight loss, and praise in the world cannot change how you feel about yourself. Only you can do that. It’s your job to decide whether you’re lovable as is. We all come with the “as is” tag, you know. The point isn’t to love yourself when you’re a better, fixed-up version of yourself, but as you are now, before you read the next book or take another workshop. You’re the only one who can give yourself the love you need, the only one whose voice really matters.

There is a frantic, driven quality in many disregulated eaters’ quest for approval and validation, the same dizzying desperation you feel when you rummage through your refrigerator looking for “something” to eat or are stuffing your mouth with food, as if something from outside can be taken in to magically change you. No matter whether you’re searching for knowledge or comfort, the belief that validation and acceptance are like commodities that you can ingest will always leave you feeling empty. Rather, you have to grow your love and valuing of yourself from the inside and let it flow out. Maybe what I’m saying goes against everything you’ve ever thought about self-love, but I’d bet not. I bet that you’ve sensed that your desperate searches to fill yourself with whatever you’re looking for hasn’t been working very well for a very long time.

Now that I’ve confirmed it, it’s time to give yourself permission to look for that light of self-love burning inside you. It’s there if you keep seeking it out the way you’ve sought external love. Find it and watch it glow all day, every day for the rest of your life.