The Beautiful Part of Recovery: Falling in Love with Yourself

by | Jun 23, 2020 | Eating Disorder Recovery, Personal Growth, Relationships | 0 comments

Now you’ve seen the true face of recovery. My latest blog post, expressing the lonely, the dark, the despair.

But it isn’t always dark. If there was ever such a light so beautiful. So I decided to write a love letter to myself. A love story about my recovery to balance out the dark.

Recovery is like meeting someone for the first time.

Falling in love with yourself is one of those poetic experiences you wish words could explain. However, that feeling of a new love, we’ve all felt it. It’s what people make music or write stories about.

Someone new comes into your life and all you want to do is live in this little bubble you’ve created with them. A world made for the two of you. You find yourself together for days on end, yet are somehow still able to exist in solitude. It’s beautiful because even when you’re by yourself, you’re never actually alone. You smile more than usual. A shit eating grin permanently slapped across your face that almost hurts because for the first time in so long you are reminded that this person, that you, are everything you’ve ever wanted and more.

You’re reminded that your days have meaning. Sure, the meaning was always there. You just weren’t able to see it before. Not this clearly. Not this crisp. High definition that’s too intense even for 20/20 vision, attempting to witness the clarity that is new. The meaning in your life was simply hidden. Like the sun beating down on your fair skin, exposing freckles that were undistinguishable at first, but now are more prominent. It’s a sign. The sun brought out a part of you that only proper doses of your happy place can bring out. This person, this newly found you, is your happy place.

The things you once viewed about yourself as flaws are now seen as beautiful. A battle wound is now a beauty mark you want to expose like a secret that has been kept with yourself for far too long. Now, they are the only person you want to share that with. You are no longer below average, defined by an adjective that the world has so prominently made you wear like a scarlet letter for all to see and condemn. No, not now. Now you are now a work of art that no one can define because this person that has entered your life sees you, really sees you.

The music you’ve dreamt about playing in the background of your life like a movie is finally there, resounding through the speakers of your inner oasis. You see a future that you never thought possible. You see the present in a way that keeps both feet on the ground, but somehow you are still floating above yourself in a whimsical state of pure bliss.

A journey of falling in love with yourself.

You’re overwhelmed with this feeling that something inside of you could possibly explode because you’re filled with a love story that hasn’t been told in years. There was a part of you that thought you’d never be able to hear that story again. But you do, and this time it’s a little different. It’s more sincere. It’s older and has depth. You’ve grown in ways you couldn’t recognize until that moment you met them. The story is a hardcover book that is now tangible, flipping through the pages, taking in every word because the characters now have experience. Your tale has loss, which only means it has strength.

Of course you are hesitant. Too good to be true. You’re scared at first. Is this temporary, living in the honeymoon phase that will eventually end in heartbreak? Will this love for yourself still remain strong as the novelty wears off? You’ve sat with the familiar isolation for so long it’s become comfortable. And you wonder how this newly blossomed feeling could be just as, if not more comfortable.

You stare at their face in silence, caressing their cheeks and rubbing their earlobes to remind yourself that it is indeed real. That it is indeed intimate and genuine. That this isn’t just something you conjured up in that chaotic mind of yours. They look back at you, the reflection of your own eyes that says boldly, “You are loved.” It’s random, really. Always unplanned, happening when you least expect it with a force so powerful you would kick yourself for ignoring it.

Wrapping your arms around this person, this version of yourself you wish could’ve been there all along, you begin to feel a heat rise in your chest. A warmth inside of you that was long forgotten after all of this time alone. All you can do is find ways to emit that love in order to avoid the explosion.

You find ways to share.

You talk about your glory days until your voice is hoarse and play old home movies from a time you haven’t revisited in years. You bust out the 35 millimeter photos from your previous life on the cobblestone roads in London and play songs that have been written by your younger self. You read stories to them out loud you wrote from the deepest canyon within your soul. You thought it would be too scary or vulnerable, but now they can see you for exactly who you are. You’re comfortable with this person which makes you brave and fearless. You want to share everything with them, with yourself.

You continue to give love by receiving. You listen to the voice within; to the journey of what is seemingly a life unbeknownst to you. You listen while they share these precious moments with you, tears filling their eyes, overwhelmed with a memory that touched them so dearly. You are beyond grateful that they are willing and wanting to be just as open, just as vulnerable alongside with you. It makes you love them that much more. It makes you love yourself that much more. You want to soak in everything because you now have the last three decades to learn about this person you didn’t have the chance to be a part of.

Relearning yourself is to navigate a new territory. Exciting with a slight hint of caution. Reading and following the roads on the map that brought this person to where they are now. Rediscovering yourself is the beautiful mess that is meeting someone brand new. You are loving yourself in a way that finally feels so damn good.

Since I’ve started sharing about my mental health and my eating disorders, I’ve felt this unbelievably freedom and liberation. Finding a purity within myself that feels weightless and authentic. I am exactly who I am. Not what others think I am. Not what I think you think I am. I am exactly who I am.

There is so much love I want to give to myself. I want to continue sharing with every ounce I have. I want to continue receiving and listening to the stories of others as I learn and grow. I never want this honeymoon phase to end. And I know it will, because life has twists and turns yet to be discovered. But that first time falling in love with yourself, that is an experience that will never be forgotten. It will be reiterated time and time again because you’ll remember how good it felt. How good it was.

But here is a perplexing thought I find myself sitting with today:

Maybe in doesn’t actually have to end. Maybe it actually can last. Only time will tell.



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Meet the Author

Hey, I’m Lauren Dow. Author, podcast host, advocate, and feeler of the big feels. I’m here to provide a safe space to normalize the conversation about mental health and share about my journey of healing. Thanks for joining me on this wild ride.


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