karen header 3

Karen's Blogs

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life.Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

[No unsolicited guest blogs accepted, thank you]

Self-love and Acceptance

I’ve been thinking about love. Not romantic love. Self-love. I hate to sound simplistic, but if we love something, we lavish caring on it and if we don’t, well, we it neglect or misuse it. Of course, there are gradients between treating yourself well and poorly, but if you love yourself wholeheartedly, you can’t continue to have a destructive relationship with food because self-love and self-trashing are mutually exclusive.

Both conditional and unconditional love have evolutionary underpinnings. Because infants and children are not always likeable, the love we feel for them must be unconditional so that we’ll care for them and keep the species trucking. Alternately, adults need to be shaped in order to live in society—humane qualities need to be reinforced and inhumane ones extinguished—so the love we feel for each other is conditional. To be emotionally healthy, self-love needs to be so ingrained, so much a given, that we don’t think about it; we just know it’s there. We can’t only love ourselves if we have a perfect body or eat healthily. Self-love is a permanent, ongoing state of mind.

If you grew up being mistreated or neglected, you may not feel lovable today, but may be unaware that feeling unlovable is driving unhealthy eating. If you mistreat your body by regularly over- or undereating or engaging in other self-destructive behaviors like purging, what does that say about what you think of yourself? You may wrongly believe that if you’re good or do this or that you’ll love yourself, but exactly the opposite is true: you need that deep, abiding valuing and acceptance first. Then you’ll do right by you.

A difficult concept to grasp. Clients tell me they’re unworthy of self-love because they behave badly, hurt others, harm themselves, are lazy, and imperfect. Well, so are other people, yet they manage to love themselves in spite of these flaws. Our frailties are part and parcel of being human and are no reason not to have self-love. If you want to improve your relationship with food, you have to make a choice. Yes, I believe self-love is just that. You decide either you’re going to love yourself or not. If not, then you continue to do yourself harm with food and otherwise and are caught in a negative loop: not loving yourself, you treat yourself poorly which reinforces your bad feelings, etc.

Loving yourself colors everything, including how you eat and care for your body and triggers a positive process. Starting from the premise of self-love, you do good by you and feel more lovable which supports treating yourself better, etc. Denying yourself self-love will keep you stuck in dysregulated eating. Why not love yourself, starting now?

More on Rebellion
Looking Back

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.karenrkoenig.com/

shelf new


This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.  Privacy Policy