She's setting an empowering example of what self-love and acceptance are all about
With a slew of six-packs, rock-hard bootys, and bikini-clad bloggers filling up your social feeds, it can be easy to get lost in a universe that isn't exactly real life. (Discover these 20 body-positive songs that will remind you to love yourself again.) On the other refreshing hand, body-positive and self-loving Instagrammer and blogger, Kathleen Elizabeth Tyler a.k.a. @fallingintoselflove, fills her profile with enthusiastic selfies, full-body shots, all kinds of tasty foods (all of which she feels zero guilt about eating), and incredibly powerful statements. With signature hashtags like #rollsarentjustforcinnamon and #losehatenotweight, it's no wonder she's gained so many followers. Most recently the body positive blogger, who is recovering from an eating disorder herself, grabbed attention with a statement that shed light on how people talk about themselves and their bodies.
I am often asked where I went to treatment, who my therapist is, what books I've read, or what meal plan I followed that allowed me to discover recovery. But even if someone followed my exact treatment path, they may not experience the same outcome as I did. That is because that there was one key ingredient in my recovery, me. It was me. I healed me. I allowed the people in my support team to guide me when I was lost. And now I have found my way. I'm not saying that the above things did not help- I wouldn't have made it through this struggle without Laureate and the staff there, but it was me who healed me. They held my hand, and they lead me in the right direction when I was wanting to run the opposite way. They kept me alive when I was so far gone, and they gave me a place that I felt safe enough in that I could learn to express the rawest of emotions. But what finally allowed my heart to commit to recovery was a realization that had to be made inside of my own mind. I had to accept that although I couldn't do anything about who had hurt me in my past, I do have control over who can help me heal in my present. And while I still choose everyone who helped me along the way, I also am choosing myself. And that is a freedom that's so true it cannot even be put into words. #rollsarentjustforcinnamon
You've probably heard the mantra that to love someone else you must start by loving yourself, but Tyler knows that's not always how it works. The reality is that no matter how much you try to love everything about yourself and your body, some days you can get stuck in a pile of negativity, seeing only "flaws" instead of unique qualities. When you're surrounded by all that self-loathing, Tyler reminds you that you'd never talk about people you love this way, so why would you do it to yourself. (Lightbulb! There's that a-ha moment.)
She writes: "Think of a someone you know and love inside of your mind, and then allow your thoughts regarding them to flow freely throughout your brain. Now try to convince yourself to say some of the horrible things we say about our own bodies but make it about them."
Think of a someone you know and love inside of your mind, and then allow your thoughts regarding them to flow freely throughout your brain. Now try to convince yourself to say some of the horrible things we say about our own bodies but make it about them. Its a miserable concept to even ponder because when you have had the chance to truly experience the beauties inside of another person’s soul, physical traits no longer hold very much ground in your opinions of that person. But what I find most interesting about this concept, is that often times people don’t realize that this phenomenon applies to how they view themselves as well. Once we really now ourselves, we begin to accept that we have worlds of beauty inside of us. Before I had embarked on my journey of self discovery, I described myself based only on my outer appearances and what the life experiences I had faced… I was my stretch marks and my cellulite. I was my acne and my bushy eyebrows. I was the outer shell of a girl who had been hurt I was my scars and the discolorations on my stomach. I was my stomach rolls and my thighs that touch. Fast forward to now and I have spent great amounts of time working towards appreciating both my body and my mind for where they are right now and coming to know that no matter what happens to me, my body will always be my own. I now know that will these things are a part of my body they are not the only thing that makes me beautiful. So yes I do have stretch marks, scars, and stomach rolls (which believe it or not also contribute to my beauty), I have so much more as well. I am my radiant smile. I am my heart that yearns to help others. I am my mind that never gave up even during the toughest of battles. I am me, and I am beautiful and no amount of hurt, violation, or hatred from anyone will ever be able to tamper with the self love I have come in touch with again. #rollsarentjustforcinnamon
And she makes a compelling argument; the thought alone of saying hurtful, degrading comments to a friend, a partner, or someone else you respect and care about is enough to make you squirm.
She continues on to say, "before I had embarked on my journey of self-discovery, I described myself based only on my outer appearances and what the life experiences I had faced... I was my stretch marks and my cellulite. I was my acne and my bushy eyebrows. I was the outer shell of a girl who had been hurt. I was my scars and the discolorations on my stomach. I was my stomach rolls and my thighs that touch." (P.S. This Video Will Inspire You to Own Your #BellyJelly.)
Tyler takes her point home by explaining that you wouldn't define the people you love by their cellulite, stretch marks, wrinkles, or acne, because it is their soul, not their physical traits, that are the reason you love them in the first place, so why would you hold yourself to any different standards? (It comes down to changing your perspective and thinking positively.) It's when you realize this (ding, ding, ding) that you can see yourself more clearly and stop looking at things as "flaws" and more as the qualities that make you, you.
Losing weight will not boost your self confidence, just like gaining weight won't necessarily either. As humans we are taught that self love/self hate must always have a direct correlation with our body's pull towards gravity, but that's just not true. You won't magically feel self love when those last few pounds shed off, and you also won't feel it the moment you weight restore either. You won't magically be recovered if you decide to challenge yourself with a meal, and you also won't be relapsing if you make a mistake. We are humans and throughout life we will face moments of hardship and moments of ease, so don't allow your past behaviors to hold you back because with every moment you are becoming a more dynamic you. Every second is a fresh start, and through the acknowledgement of new beginnings we can learn one of the most valuable of lessons: If we spend the present moment trying to make our futures perfect, then we are missing the chance to feel the happiness of right now. Because right now I'm not a disorder, or a number on the scale, or even a perfectly recovered human. I am just me, and by simply being me I am giving myself the most precious of gifts. #rollsarentjustforcinnamon
It's hard not to start clapping out loud for this game-changing way of thinking and for the young woman who shed light on such an obvious but forgotten way of looking at beauty. Tyler sums up her inspiring outlook on self-love with yet another powerful statement that will warm your insides, saying, "yes I do have stretch marks, scars, and stomach rolls (which believe it or not also contribute to my beauty), I have so much more as well. I am my radiant smile. I am my heart that yearns to help others. I am my mind that never gave up even during the toughest of battles. I am me."