How to heal a lifetime of self-image issues

Spoiler alert: I can’t answer this question. Emotional healing is a personal, complex, all-consuming and highly uncomfortable experience that’s unique to everyone.

Healing sounds like it should be pleasant and soothing because it means getting better. It makes me think of soft pink lighting, panpipe music and someone in an apron dabbing me gently with aromatherapy ointments.

But just how physical wounds sting, swell and scab up during the repair process, so too does the emotional self while recovering from life-long pain.

The first step on the way to healing is to admit you have something to heal in the first place. This can take many years. It took me until I was 29 to start realising there were problems with how I perceived myself, and another year to realise I could change that. It’s amazing how good we are at normalising the most destructive, painful things just to avoid rocking the boat, or having to reframe the way you’ve seen the world for so long.

Step two in the healing process (I think) is to start examining the figurative wound. Where did it come from? What does it need in order to heal?

That’s where I am: step two on a long, daunting journey towards feeling like a worthy, beautiful, loveable human being. I’m not an expert in therapy by any means (unless an AS level in psychology counts?!) so I’ve started reading relevant books, researching recovery techniques, and of course doing lots of yoga/meditation and writing my journal (although I’ve always done this and I highly recommend it as a way of distilling and deconstructing your own thoughts and feelings. In fact I might write an entire post about the power of journalling).

The dichotomy for me when it comes to my body image is that I like writing about trying and failing to lose weight because it’s such a ubiquitous experience that so many people relate to, and I think it’s healthy to poke a bit of fun at ourselves sometimes.

Laughing at myself is good and it definitely helps me cope in life, but it’s all at the surface. Underneath is something much more sinister and corrosive. It’s time to address some harsh truths and pour some saline into that festering wound I’ve covered up for so long.

I definitely won’t be going into too much detail about my healing but I will be posting more about my experience of the healing process. I’ll be learning a lot along the way and it’s always good to share these things seeing as we often come to blogs for guidance and some reassurance that we’re all as fucked up as each other.

I always ask people to comment on my blogs because I don’t like to feel like I’m just shouting into the oblivion. What do you know about healing? What have you learned that you can share with me and other readers?