I don't think I knew what unconditional love was before I came into the program. After all, I had always felt that my mother had only loved and accepted me conditionally, and that in order for me to receive approval and love from her, I had to be the best at everything I did. I had to be at the top of the class, win prizes for ballet and in general be a credit to her, so that she could bask in the reflected limelight. Perhaps that was only my perception. But as a result, I wrote a script for myself that, in order to be loved, accepted and loveable, I had to excel at everything. I became an overachiever academically, I had to be the best wife, best mother, best cook, in short, the best everything. No wonder I had to eat to cope with all this self-inflicted pressure.
The unconditional love and acceptance I received when I first came into these program rooms was something I had never experienced before. "Let us love you until you can learn to love yourself," they said. This was something totally foreign to me. How could I be loveable when I was fat and bloated? How could they love me when I hated myself for all the secret eating that caused me to feel totally miserable? But love me they did, and that was the beginning of my healing. At one stage fairly early in my recovery, one of my daughters accused me of being so busy going to meetings and doing courses and learning to love myself, that I was too busy to love them. How wrong she was! It was only when I had learned enough self- love and approval of myself, exactly as I was, that I was able to love all my children fully and unconditionally.
I am now able to love and accept all my children exactly as they are. None of them are perfect, as I am not, but they are special in their own right, and I love them for who they are and not for anything they do or don't do.
One day at a time...
I practice being warm and accepting of all those I love,
as I accept and love myself for being who I am today - a child of God
~ Sharon ~
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