Video #4 Learn To Love Yourself

Love who you are, right where you are on this journey.

— Jill Birth

In the extraordinary movie Hugo, the main character is a small boy whose father fixed machines. The little boy said that he would often go to this huge window and look out over the city of Paris. “I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine,” the boy said. “Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine . . . I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason and that means you have to be here for some reason, too.”

Later in the movie, the boy says, “Maybe that’s why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn’t able to do what it was meant to do. Maybe it’s the same with people. If you lose your purpose . . . it’s like you’re broken.”

As I watched this movie, I thought about our own human purpose in this big world, and about how, if you don’t understand how much there is to love in the world, you lose your purpose. Then you’re broken, too.

Fixing what is broken inside you means fixing that ability to love. People, like machines, come with exactly what we each need to fulfill our own purpose. If you aren’t seeing that in yourself, you are missing something you cannot afford to miss any longer. The first step to learning how to truly love others, appreciate your body, and transform your life is to learn how to love yourself.

I know that’s been said a million times, like something we should all know from birth. You know what? I missed that memo. I never realized until going to an intensive therapy workshop in gorgeous Washington state that happiness can only come from within. Nobody else can make you feel happy, or even content. No one. A favorite quote that I recite over and over in my mind is this one: “Happiness is not determined by what’s happening around you, but rather what is happening inside you. Most people depend on others to gain happiness, but the truth is, it always comes from within.”

All along, I had been certain that it was my marriage making me unhappy and that my extreme sadness over my failing relationship with my husband was causing my food addiction. The truth is that, just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz had the ability to click her heels and go home any time she wanted, I had the ability to make myself happy all along. In fact, I was the only one who could truly do that, by loving who I was.

I learned that we all act out of our own insecurities and are doing the best we know how at the time. I was able to forgive Dave and others for all of the past hurts once I realized that. Being able to forgive allowed me to move forward in my life and achieve my goal of releasing weight and fully embracing all of the riches that life has to offer. Forgiving myself gave me permission to truly appreciate all the riches.

Loving yourself isn’t always an easy job. If you’ve been struggling to release weight without managing to achieve that goal, chances are pretty good that you feel like a failure right now. So how do you go from feeling like an unworthy, overweight person to a worthy person who knows that she is winning simply because she is still searching for a way to live her dream?

The answer lies in learning to accept yourself unconditionally, warts and all. You must accept that you are only human. Like everyone else, you have made mistakes. (Guess what? You’ll probably make more mistakes in the future, too!) No matter what has happened to you in the past, no matter what mistakes you’ve made or how many times you’ve failed in your life, you must forgive yourself and say to yourself that you are worthy of love. Try to think of yourself as the child you once were, and speak to yourself as if you are that child, with love and understanding.

I did that. I remembered how, when I was in third grade, I was the only girl in my class who didn’t get invited to a particular girl’s birthday party. I was devastated when this classmate said that the reason she didn’t invite me was because, “You’re too fat and you don’t have any friends.”

If I could go back in time, I would put my arms around eight-year-old Jill and say, “You know what, Sweetie? You’re going to struggle with your weight for many years. Someday you’ll release that weight and then you’ll inspire millions of other people to find the confidence to live the life of their dreams as well. It will be a full and happy life. You are a child of God. We are all meant for greater things than this.”

I can’t go back in time physically, but emotionally I sometimes do. Remembering that hurt child inside myself I comfort her with this new knowledge and experience I’ve gained over the years.

You can do the same thing. You can confront your own past and forgive your own mistakes and the hurts that others have imposed upon you. To do this, you started by writing a burn letter. Now you must write the opposite of what was in your burn letter, replacing that negative view of the events in your life with something positive.

Start with a List: 100 Things I Love About Myself

Once you have successfully written and burned your letter describing all of the things that have held you back, it’s time to prepare yourself to move forward and start dreaming again! In this exercise, you’re going to write a love letter to yourself. Before you begin the letter, I want you to first write up a list of all of the things you would choose for people to remember about you whenever they think of you.

Next, consider the moments in your life when you have felt the happiest and most fulfilled—the times when you have really used and developed your talents. What were you like during those moments? Were you a leader? The person who cheered on others or made a joke to lift someone’s spirits? Did you reach out a helping hand to someone who was struggling?

Write all of those things down, too. I want you to have a clear idea about what you’d choose for other people to see about you, as well as the gifts God sent with you to contribute to the world in the first place. Let yourself freely brainstorm and write down your thoughts as you ponder your life and reflect on the moments when you were at your very best. Take time. Dig deep!

Got all of that down? Great! Now I want you to keep going! In fact, I want you to list 100 things you love about being you.

Yep, you read that right: 100 things. Not 10. Not 50. Not 99. I want you to write down 100 things you truly like about yourself! These can be major personality traits, like your sense of humor or the fact that you’re a movie trivia expert. Or they can be the smallest details that perhaps only you notice about yourself. “I love my toenails,” I wrote at one point, for lack of anything better to say.

How Do You Write 100 Things You Love About Yourself?

1. Start with things you like about yourself. This can be anything: eyelashes, laugh, personality, etc.

2. Think about what others seem to like about you.

3. Remember compliments others have given you.

4. Ask people you trust this question: “If you had to say five things you like about me, what would they be?”

5. What do you look forward to or feel great doing?

6. Dig deep. Look at everything! Appearance, how you handle yourself at work, integrity, spirituality, and other personal values. Nothing is off limits!

Write Yourself a Love Letter

Identifying 100 things you love about yourself may seem daunting at first. Put your list someplace where you can see it and add to it often. Keep it with you if you have to. As you continue to seek and develop a loving relationship with yourself, you will find it easier to recognize the infinite number of beautiful gifts that God has given you that make you so unique and loveable.

Once you have your list, I want you to use it to write a love letter to yourself. Think about how you would write a love letter to someone you love. Take the time. Be thoughtful and caring. Write beautifully on special paper if you like. Make it a true love letter that you can cherish.

The purpose of writing a love letter is to help you move past what you are looking at in the mirror so that you can start really seeing your own beauty. Doing this will help you remember what makes you such a unique, wonderful, amazing person. No matter what size you are at the moment, you will really learn to love yourself right where you are.

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