Self-loathing, My Closet, and Me

The weekend before last, I was feeling great in myself, no feeling of self-loathing in sight and whilst tidying my room I decided to go through the clothes in my closet. I was in the mood for a deep clear out, and it was definitely needed!

My Closet and My Body Image

Around two and a half years ago I put on a substantial amount of weight (around 10kg) and within a number of months another 5kg got added more gradually. This was a consequence of not wanting to move forward in my life, and instead digging my heels in. As a result a lot of my clothes, especially jeans and dresses, didn’t fit me any more. My body image hit rock bottom, and my self-loathing skyrocketed.

Instead of throwing these clothes away I made piles of them and put these piles at the back of my cupboard, so that when I ‘got skinny’ in the future (that was the plan), I would be able to wear them again. Sounds practical and simple, no? Or so I thought..

Back to the clear out…and Losing Excess Weight

Part of the reason I was going through my closet was because I have been starting to feel better about my body as I had lost some of this excess weight recently. It did not happen through any crazy diet, such as the one-day eating/one-day not eating, which I had tried before and it didn’t really work for me, or a new and improved exercise routine. All I did was start to make different choices to look after myself, and to do things that make me feel good – super simple. A stark contrast to the regular binges that I used to do almost every night, and the total lack of exercise. But that’s another story…

So, back to the closet, I was going through the clothes and although some of them now fitted me – I didn’t feel any self-applause, and there was no climatic moment, which is what I had expected myself to feel after hardly being able to breathe whenever I tried these clothes on over the past two years. Instead I actually felt unsettled and uncomfortable. But why?

When Self-Loathing came out of the Closet

Whilst trying the clothes, I could feel the self loathing that I had been bullying myself with just oozing out of the closet, like I had been holding my self and my body to ransom for all that time, saying “you’re not good enough unless you fit into these clothes”. That’s a lot of times, opening up my closet and instead of looking in my mirror on the inside of my cupboard door and appreciating and adoring what I saw, I was bullying myself in my head saying I was just not good enough.

What I realised is that these piles of self-loathing had just been sitting there in my room and in my mind/body for all this time, and I had been carrying it with me every single day. I can now understand why I have avoided looking at my body so much in the past and have just used clothes to hide in, instead of expressing how beautiful I actually am.

No more getting trapped in self-loathing

In the week after I cleared out my closet I felt a lot lighter – not necessarily on the scales, but in how I approached each day, and in everything that I did. It was interesting to notice that I enjoyed living in and looking at my body more and more as the week went on – which was amazing to feel, and I felt beautiful not because of how I looked in the mirror or if I fitted into the ‘skinny clothes’, but because of how I felt when I walked, worked and when I spoke.

But at the start of this week, there was a difference. There were those thoughts sneaking in again of, “you should lose weight” or “that’s not good enough”. At first I was annoyed, as I thought I had gotten over this self-loathing issue the week before! However, I realised it doesn’t happen just like that – my closet was just one ‘pocket’ that I had looked at and by looking at it and dealing with it (or at least having a first go, as there is more clearing out to do), it had made a huge difference in my life.

The question then came; what is the next pocket to look at?

I came to an understanding that instead of going the downward spiral way of putting myself down (which I have experienced), and getting trapped in self-loathing I can only grow in how beautiful I feel as a woman if I am prepared to look at what the next thing, in the way of me expressing in full, is there to let go of.

by Jessica Williams

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1,439 thoughts on “Self-loathing, My Closet, and Me

  1. Thank you Jessica for this great article and also this great reminder that there are sometimes pockets of old habits or emotions to keep clearing out… and each time this crops up, it is an opportunity for us to grasp.

  2. I love those moments when we feel inspired to do a clear out – this means to me we are ready to make space for the next thing, and though the clear out may bring up some uncomfortable feelings, once dealt with lovingly, we feel so much more free afterwards.

  3. Focusing on the size and shape of my body is a sure fire way to avoid feeling the quality I live in. Which if unloving is highlighted in the body. The more I do things that make me feel lovely the more that shows up in the mirror.

  4. It is never really about finding your self esteem, finding refers to the fact its outside of us, really we need to stop looking and instead feel the already powerfulness that lies within.

  5. I well remember that feeling of lightness when I cleared out and let go of a lot of family objects that had been passed on to me from my mother. There is a lot more clearing out to do.

  6. “In the week after I cleared out my closet I felt a lot lighter – not necessarily on the scales, but in how I approached each day, and in everything that I did. It was interesting to notice that I enjoyed living in and looking at my body more and more as the week went on..” – it’s so true Jessica, the feeling of lightness in the body is what lifts one out of the issue of it being all about skinniness or weight. Because on the reverse side, when we feel heavy we equate that heaviness to the body and a weight issue as opposed to us working towards it being more about our lightness of being through (self) acceptance which is where the lightness comes in, and scaled weight goes out.

  7. I’ve been holding onto those ‘skinny jeans’ since I put weight on in April this year. Trying to squish into them, fail then live in jogging pants. Using the excuse that I was too poor to buy new jeans when in reality I could have but at this point of self loathing buying yourself new stuff that fits and feels comfortable and makes me feel good just wasn’t in the picture. I had to change the way I was living with myself in order to put a stop to the ‘fat’ pants and skinny jeans.

  8. I am sure we can all relate to making choices that support us when we feel good about ourselves. It’s like a ripple effect where one self-caring choice leads to another. Likewise, it works the opposite way where we can abuse our bodies when we don’t feel good. It’s a great shift in focus to caring for yourself rather than the ‘good or bad’ actions.

    1. Certainly relatable Fiona – in fact when making un-supportive choices, then it is a great symptom or sign that we need to check-in on how we are actually feeling about ourselves…. so if we work backwards, we can then catch it earlier and address what is really going on.

  9. I love this Jessica and very relevant for me to read now, as I have put on a bit weight and have noticed a negative voice – time to clear out my closet (brain that tells me I’m lesser!)

  10. I am struck by the impact of not moving forward in life and digging your heels in as it makes sense that when we resist what the next step is in life that there is reflection appears in our bodies.

  11. Thank you Jessica for sharing your story, what I will take away from reading it is the importance of constantly asking myself what’s next? As this will allow me to expand and deepen my love for all, me included, thereby self-loathing won’t get a look in.

  12. Yes.. if we’re not taking it to the next level, deepening our love, commitment to staying aware and feeling what’s needed and discerning what is true, we can start to stagnate. Learning what it is to self love is an ever deepening, ever evolving process, with no fixed picture or end point.

  13. ‘I can only grow in how beautiful I feel as a woman if I am prepared to look at what the next thing, in the way of me expressing in full, is there to let go of.’ Beautiful realisation to have made Jess. Since we will always be unfolding and going deeper in our relationship with ourselves, we are in a constant cycle of discarding, deepening and then asking what is next and deepen some more.

  14. Absolutely, it is an on-going unfolding and learning, and always what’s next, ‘I came to an understanding that instead of going the downward spiral way of putting myself down (which I have experienced), and getting trapped in self-loathing I can only grow in how beautiful I feel as a woman if I am prepared to look at what the next thing, in the way of me expressing in full, is there to let go of.’

  15. Most women including myself have this experience of hanging onto clothes that are too skinny for us, in the hope that we will lose weight one day and be able to get back into them. It’s almost like putting a pin up of a supermodel on the wall and setting that as the goal. This dreaming of being skinnier is a setup to make us feel not good enough and not appreciate where we are at. I am finding any clothes bought or kept for the wrong reasons creates a stagnant feeling in my wardrobe, rather than having items that I feel gorgeous in.

  16. Self-loathing is a trap that holds us and prevents us from giving and receiving love. It closes our heart to love. This is a trap to be avoided at all cost as love is who we are.

  17. Yes when we just believe all our thoughts we will feel pretty bad at the end of the day. I am starting to learn that not all my thoughts are true and that as you said, being willing to look at all parts of my life where I am not honouring myself for the beautiful woman I am helps. So being ahead of those thoughts already knowing that I am beautiful.

  18. Beautiful Jessica and very powerful to go for the next level of awareness after you had great insights.
    An ongoing evolution in every step we make, never to settle for less then the next step in truth to reveal itself.

  19. Our weight is an indication of how we are looking after our body, and the relationship we have with our rhythm and routine, but never does it make us a better person or a worse person.

  20. “The question then came; what is the next pocket to look at?”
    I love this – we are forever evolving we just got to say yes to the next step.

  21. There are so many great lessons shared in this blog, Jessica. The fact that everything we say and do leaves an energetic imprint that can affect us when we return to it and all others connected to that action brings a whole new level of responsibility for us to consider, and I loved how you were patient with addressing the self-loathing issue you began to unravel. There are so many times that I feel like I just want to be done with a certain thing that I know I am holding onto, even if it is not supporting me, but approaching ourselves with more understanding and acceptance (and hence less self-judgement) and allowing ourselves to be honest and open to the healing opportunities when they arise, is key, rather than forcing an issue that is not ready to be dealt with completely.

  22. A lovely sharing, and yes we keep taking the next step to deepen our love, ‘I can only grow in how beautiful I feel as a woman if I am prepared to look at what the next thing, in the way of me expressing in full, is there to let go of.’

  23. Self loathing can be such a way of bullying and self abusing, which in itself can attract further abuse from others as they experience our lack of self respect and value.

  24. I love this, to look for what is next and to seek more and more understanding, to not just settle for one pocket but to find where is there to be resolved and healed.

    1. It is a means to accelerate ourselves in terms of actually seeking out all the pockets. Like saying yes to an intense detox program.

  25. There is nothing better than sorting our your closet to hold clothes that reflect the inner beauty and truth that we are.

  26. “In the week after I cleared out my closet I felt a lot lighter – not necessarily on the scales, but in how I approached each day, and in everything that I did.” After having a clear-out I feel more spacious in my body too. What I used to do only occasionally is becoming a more consistent refining – and not only of my wardrobe.

  27. So beautiful to feel how you set yourself free by dissolving any pictures around ‘correct weight’ and clothes sizes and started loving you for you, thank you Jessica.

  28. I’ve got some of those clothes and yet I have not made the move to get rid of them. Lately I’ve been more and more aware of how I have intentionally kept self-loathing in my life. Like an assumed security blanket but my body is saying loud and clear that blanket is made out of cactus! Thanks for sharing that if we address one pocket then it makes addressing the next easier. I know I can tackle those in my wardrobe.

  29. Inspired by Life always for the opportunities to return to love and return again. All the times when I looked into the mirror and didn’t like myself gives me another chance and another to hold myself in what I see and to make different choices that affect how I feel.

  30. It is also that when we go back to the old clothes, we have moved on from that point so they no longer ‘fit us’ in more than just the sizing. There is a different or new imprint that is needed.

  31. Gorgeous gorgeous and healing experience Jessica. I can surely feel from this blog that you actually empowered yourself back, by looking at the pockets and closet in this case, of where you had allowed those self-abusive and self loathing thoughts to come in.. To actually understand that we are not what we think, and that observing this very simple truth, we can start to unlock the deceitful and ill- ways of moving in and through our lives.

  32. It is fascinating to observe just how much we set ourselves up to not live our power, through openings where ill-energy enters and engages the mind to bully and badger us. It is great to expose this for ourselves, and feel just how everything is a result of the energy we are aligning to, so we then are able to make the necessary adjustments needed to honor and embrace the innate beauty we naturally are in essence, as such live in connection to love, our true power.

  33. I haven’t looked at the scales in a long time and only go on how my clothes fit. I don’t think badly of my body but I don’t love it which is still self loathing and it is the deepths of what is being called for in our love for ourselves that is the what’s next. It is true there is a lot to let go of!

  34. …’I can only grow in how beautiful I feel as a woman if I am prepared to look at what the next thing, in the way of me expressing in full, is there to let go of.’ True Jessica and to not fall in the trap that we did it ‘wrong’ again when undermining thoughts are returning, there is always more to discard and to let go of.

  35. I don’t have unlimited closet space so if there are clothes I no longer feel for I would get rid of them. I may want them back later but it’s okay I can let them go now and focus on what really supports me now. Standing by myself now is my focus.

  36. ” I felt beautiful not because of how I looked in the mirror or if I fitted into the ‘skinny clothes’, but because of how I felt when I walked, worked and when I spoke.
    I love the honesty and realness of your blog Jessica and this above sentence just says it all. Taking loving and appreciating ourselves to the next level is always going to be a challenge but so worth the effort.

  37. ‘ I can only grow in how beautiful I feel as a woman if I am prepared to look at what the next thing, in the way of me expressing in full, is there to let go of.’ Beautifully said Jessica – dropping the layers that we have hung onto, to show all of who we are to the world.

  38. Great to express this and expose how the thoughts like this get you down and keep you in a cycle going round and round and making the same choices over again.

  39. I can very much relate to eating to not move forward in life. The urges come mostly when I feel an overwhelm of work to be done but it’s not because I’m lazy it’s because of how I am feeling before I begin to do the work. What is my relationship with myself and work I ask myself? What ideals and beliefs am I holding on to about work? – much for me to ponder on here

  40. ” I was bullying myself in my head saying I was just not good enough. ” Bullies are normally liars so its important not to pay attention . There is no doubt you are good enough the challenge is to accept this truth, and ignore the bully , thank you for sharing Jessica.

    1. If bullies are liars there is no point in defending yourself as it can function to reinforce and highlight the lie, as if it is true. There is however a need to name the abuse of such bullying.

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