Choosing to Love Myself | Ali Miller
Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm the mother to one wild little girl, the wife to my best friend, a teacher, a friend, a sister, but most importantly, I’m a daughter of God. I’m a small town girl who loves the outdoors and getting my butt kicked at Crossfit. (Don’t let the idea of Crossfit fool you, I love cookies). I’m the wellness editor at the Small Seed and I love what I do here! There’s nowhere else I’d rather spend my spare time. The topic of loving yourself is so dear to my heart, but it’s also a little scary sharing something I kept hidden for so long. With that being said, I would LOVE to hear any questions, comments, or feedback you may have. More than anything, I hope you find solace in my words.
Was there a time when you struggled with loving yourself? Why are you so passionate about this topic?
Choosing to love myself was something I had to fight for. You see, for 10 years, I had an eating disorder. Media, dieting, and the never-ending quest for perfection crept into my life as a small child and grasped me tight at the age of 12. I can’t tell you how many times the words “not good enough” and “worthless” have echoed in the walls of my mind.
I was seeking perfection, but through God’s grace, learned that I was slowly killing myself for something completely unattainable. Feeling lost and alone, I turned to God.
Submitting myself to His will, I pled with my Savior to somehow take this burden away from me. Humbled, I was struck with the knowledge that I would not be able to overcome this addiction by myself. I needed help.
Come unto me all ye that labour and are heave laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
— Matthew 11:28-30
I put this scripture to the test and let Him take control of my life. He mended me in more ways than I can begin to explain. Loving yourself is more than just feeling good when you have your hair and make-up done. It’s about truly understanding and accepting God’s love for you, and letting that radiate from the inside out.
What motivated you to change/how did you begin the journey to loving yourself?
The self-abuse took a major toll on my body and after years of struggling in silence, I asked for help. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I had tried and failed miserably several times. My family was incredibly supportive, and through a series of events that could have only been crafted by God Himself, I came home from a mission for my church and headed to a treatment facility in Northern Utah for people with eating disorders. For six months I received intensive therapy, medical attention, and one-on-one coaching from a dietician. Essentially, I learned how to live again.
I would best describe that experience and sacred. The women I met there were nothing short of amazing and quickly became some of my dearest friends. So talented, beautiful, and incredibly smart and funny—yet they didn’t believe it. Just like me, they believed the lies the world (the adversary), told them.
It was excruciatingly painful for me to see all these women hate themselves with such vigor. I knew that in order to make a difference, I first needed to get my life back in order. I committed then to do all I could to live a life free of an eating disorder. Although it’s been a steep and bumpy road, I’m now fully recovered and happier than ever.
I could go into greater detail about this portion of my life, and I plan to when I finish writing “my story” (which I’ll post in the next few months). In the mean time, if you’d like to hear more or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or message me privately.
We all know that God’s love is what matters most. How do you take the love he has for you, truly accept it, and let His light shine through your countenance?
Last year I had my first baby. I was more than just a little nervous to see how I would react to my changing body during pregnancy, but it turned out to be one of the most sacred healing experiences of my life. With each pound gained, I learned to love myself, and my body, even more than I thought imaginable. I was proud of my body for what it could do, rather than what it looked like. Sustaining and carrying another human life for 9 months is no easy task, yet my body did it! I felt honored to be working hand in hand with God to create one of His children.
As a mother, I now feel a tremendous amount of love for my little one. The love I have for her has nothing to do with her looks, or her abilities—it’s unconditional. I love her because she’s mine! Just as she belongs to me, each one of us belongs to a Father in Heaven who loves us not for our looks or abilities, but because we are His. We belong to Him. I pray every day that I’ll be able to feel God’s love, and it makes such a big difference. Understanding God’s love for me has helped me change more than anything. I’ve done this by studying Christ’s life. Seeing how He treated other people has helped me treat myself, and others, as the children of God that we really are.
How do you filter out all the noise of media telling you to be a certain way?
This is a big one for me. The most powerful thing I’ve done is to completely block it out. I don’t buy magazines. I try not to even look at them in the check out line. There was a point in time when I wanted nothing more than to look like the women in the magazines, but then I realized they aren’t completely real and I was holding myself to an unrealistic, photo-shopped standard. I don’t own a scale and I never weigh myself. After all,
“The Lord uses a scale very different than the world’s to weigh the worth of a soul.”
— Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I pay extra close attention to how certain social media accounts make me feel. If I find myself feeling less than the daughter of God that I know I am, I’ll stop following that account immediately. I used to be obsessed with calories and the contents in each food I was eating. This seemed to always leave me with a feeling of guilt after eating. I no longer look at labels. I learned that food isn’t there to make me feel guilty, food is there to be enjoyed and to help sustain life. You’ll never see me on a “diet.” I eat intuitively, paying attention to my hunger/fullness cues. I eat wholesome foods but if I want a cookie, I’ll eat a dang cookie.
Are there things you do every day to promote a positive body image or love yourself more?
Absolutely! I had to really work at this at first, but now it comes naturally. There was a point in time when I had positive affirmations covering my bathroom, my car, and anywhere else I’d look. Sounds crazy, and maybe it was, but it helped! Now, I keep a small quote in my bathroom that I read while I get ready. I change it from time to time but it really helps me keep an eternal perspective and focus on what matters most.
When I read my scriptures, it feels like I’m building a shield around myself to fend off any negative influences. On days when I don’t read, I often find myself feeling more negative and self-critical. Reading my scriptures each day has become somewhat of a lifeline for me. I also listen to talks and articles by the leaders of my church while I get ready. This helps me focus on meeting God’s standards, instead of the standards of the world.
What has been the most powerful thing you’ve done to change your perspective to love yourself more?
I have worked, and worked, and worked some more to understand the importance and value of one soul. Though I still don’t fully understand, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on just how much each of us are loved by our Heavenly Father. I’ve come to know this by seeking to understand the atonement on a deeper level.
Recently, I listened to a talk by Rosemary M. Wixom. This quote from her spoke volumes to my soul,
“Looking out through a window, not just into a mirror, allows us to see ourselves as His. We naturally turn to Him in prayer, and we are eager to read His words and to do His will. We are able to take our validation vertically from Him, not horizontally from the world around us or from those on Facebook or Instagram.”
I know that if I were the only person on the earth, that Christ would have still come to save just me alone. And guess what? He would have done the same thing for you, too. Isn’t that incredible? His love is infinite. It heals, it is all-powerful, and it has helped me see myself through God’s eyes and love myself in a way that nothing else could.
How do you make sure you’re living a healthy lifestyle without beating yourself down in the process?
I believe there is great power in the way you talk to yourself. I love the challenge we’re doing because on day 3, we challenged you to write down all the negative things you say to yourself or to keep a tally. Becoming aware is the first step. I’ve done this before, and wow, was I shocked! I was completely unaware of how often I was putting myself down, comparing myself to others, or wishing I could be something different. Combatting those thoughts with positive ones really does make me feel better. I used let those negative thoughts consume me, but now, they very rarely come to mind.
Through a lot of hard work, visual reminders, and grace, I’ve learned to treat myself like I would treat a little child. I held myself to a standard of perfection for too long. I was my own worst enemy, but not anymore! I’m learning to take life as it comes, one day at a time. I’m okay if I’m not the best at something. For me, it’s all about finding balance and being okay with who I am at any given moment. We were sent to this earth to learn and improve. I know that as long as I’m trying, that’s all that matters.
We all have days when self confidence is low, what do you do to keep those emotions at bay?
Whenever I’m feeling down on myself, I’ve realized it’s because I’m usually spending too much time focusing on yours truly. The only way for me to fix this is to get outside of myself and focus on others. This can be something simple like stopping by my grandma’s house, calling a friend to catch up, baking a treat for someone in the neighborhood, or arranging a fun outing with my daughter. The hardest part is taking the first step, but after that, it just gets easier and easier. Before I know it, the day is done and I’ve completely forgotten about whatever it was (bad hair, acne, pants that don’t fit) that had me down.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Something I do from time to time when I pray, is ask my Father in Heaven if He loves me. Though I already know the answer, I love the feeling that goes along with it. I challenge you to do the same, and I promise that you’ll get an answer.
He loves you! That is the most important message in the world. God loves YOU. You are His, and you deserve all the love, light, and happiness this world has to offer.