Today’s guest post is from Self-Love Body Coach, Mara Glatzel, who will be hosting a workshop at Green Mountain from Sept. 9-15 called “Stop Waiting, Stop Hating and Start Living” on creating the life you were meant to lead.
Nearly ten years ago, I began facing my emotional eating head-on. I made the necessary changes. I focused on myself. I struggled along the road to accepting myself, as I was, and abandoned the heavy influence of my diet mentality. I revamped my relationship with my body.
Then I fell in love.
Suddenly, it seemed that my carefully laid plans started coming apart at the seams. I went on luxurious dates. I enjoyed lavish breakfasts. I started on the process of combining my life with someone else.
I had never been happier.
I had never felt more lost.
For years I wondered: how can I simultaneously be happier than I’ve ever been while also struggling so deeply with the food issues that I had hoped I had put behind me, for good?
Many people believe that you only lose yourself within the context of relationships that are abusive or emotionally straining.
And yet here I was, living with the person that I was soon to marry, overwhelmingly happy, loved, and supported – and lost.
Then I realized this: the food was never the issue.
What I had been struggling with from a very young age was actually a deep-felt inability to acknowledge my needs and prioritize them within the context of those whom I loved. It was as if I entered a vacuum where, out of love, I took care of those around me – forgetting about myself in the process.
At some level, I harbored a core belief that in relationships, it was my role to take care of those around me, doting on them, loving them, and paying attention to their needs. It’s not that I was ignorant or miserable, taking care of others made me feel good, authentically. I was, and am, a natural caretaker.
Women often feel very comfortable slipping into this role – through a mishmash of doubting our self-worth outside of our caretaking abilities and relishing in the love and support that we are able to give others.
This isn’t a negative attribute, but it can, if left untended to, allow us to continually put our needs on the backburner – if we are able to identify them to begin with.
We begin eating when our partners or children are hungry – even if we aren’t.
We eat the food enjoyed by our families, preparing meals that are palatable to the masses, in order to reduce our workload.
We luxuriate in spending time being so madly in love, that we forget the map of what makes us feel like our best selves – frequent + consistent movement, a meal plan tailored to what makes us feel good + energized, and projects that we used to love spending hours on.
And yet, we are happy, so we don’t notice the influence of letting these healthy habits go by the wayside.
Creating and maintaining sacred space for yourself within the context of your relationships and everyday experiences is a careful balancing act – tending both to our needs as an individual and the structure of your cohabitation.
We can forget to take the time to voice our needs, out loud, in the presence of our loved ones, believing that doing so would seem selfish or as though we are taking up too much space – space we are now sharing with someone else.
Creating space for yourself means taking the time to acknowledge those things that you need to be your best self, and ultimately, also the best partner that you can be.
This is highly individualized, taking many forms in your daily life, and only you will know for certain what is the best avenue for you to navigate the careful balance of being yourself and being yourself + your partner/family/life.
Do you lose yourself in love? How might you begin to reclaim those parts of your life that you miss, those parts that are integral to being your best self?
Mara Glatzel is a self-love coach + clinical social worker, and she works with women who are ready to create the lives they want — and deserve. She’s also a writer and her blog — Medicinal Marzipan — has inspired thousands of women to heal their relationships with their bodies, and treat themselves with relentless compassion. Catch up with her on facebook, twitter, or join her body-loving mailing list for bi-monthly secret swapping and insider news.