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On a daily basis, I pause, put my hand on my chest and whisper, “I will not make war against my own heart.” I have many opportunities to practice, as I make many mistakes. Each time, I want to jump on myself. Each time, I choose: do I judge myself or let it go?

This is an act of courage for me, as it goes against ingrained habits of beating myself up. It’s an opening, an embracing of all of life; an embracing of all of me. It is unconditional love.

It’s not easy.

The mind loves to judge. To label. To should all over us – “You shouldn’t have.” The mind loves to reach for perfection – and that includes self perfection – because it’s trying to find ground, a place where we feel enough.

Our culture teaches that perfection is the key to inner peace. If only we’re spiritual enough, thin enough, wealthy enough, pretty enough, successful enough… then, then we’ll arrive. It is false hope. As poet Danna Faulds says, “Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.”

To stop the war, we let go. We practice unconditional love – loving ourselves as is. It is a declaration of self – I am enough. Right now. It’s not unconditional love if it’s conditional.

More than healing 20 years of eating disorders, this has been my path: loving myself unconditionally. It’s what I most want for you; for every being.

For years, I hated, blamed, and shamed those tender parts of me that didn’t fit my definition of perfect: my yo yoing weight, my preoccupation with my weight, irritability, money troubles, self doubt, judgment, jealousy; the way I separate myself from others as a form of self protection….

Of course, I’ve most loathed those parts of me that are dark and troubled – depression, anxiety, high sensitivity, eating disorders… the parts that make me feel like I don’t belong because I’m often trying to keep my head above water when others seem to be swimming laps around me.

And yet something wiser whispers, “Enough.” It is this voice that calls me home: Love your tender humanity. Love your imperfection. Love your sensitive soul. No more will I hate you. No more will I blame you. Beloved, I will care for you. I will hold you kindly.

With this perspective, I hold loosely onto that list of “faults.” I care for them with wisdom. And I detach a bit – I’m not the sum of my challenges; nor my mistakes. Why should I feel ashamed for being human; for needing love and forgiveness like everyone else?

I breathe and let go. I exhale and feel space. I come home.

The heart is big enough.

Swami Kripalu said that each time “we judge ourselves we break our own hearts.” Oh, beloved, join me in this holy refrain – I will break my heart no longer. When the voice of self judgment arises, forgive it. Forgive everything. Please, please: let’s stop the war.

Please, please: come home.

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Karly Randolph Pitman helps folks create ease and peace in their relationship with sugar and food. Rather than managing behavior or learning strategies to control your cravings, Karly's "heart over binge" approach heals the roots of food compulsions through loving relationship, grieving, compassion, and connection.

She calls this path growing human(kind)ness. Growing human(kind)ness arose from her own 20 year struggle with multiple eating disorders, and a lifelong wrestling match with depression.

She's the author of several books and courses, including the best selling Overcoming Sugar Addiction, When Food is Your Mother, Overcoming Sugar Addiction for Life, The 30 Day Lift, and Heal Overeating: Untangled. You can learn more about her courses and classes and find lots of free resources on Known for her compassion and insight, Karly's mission is to help others feel their belonging, know their goodness, and rest in love.

Karly lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, Patrick, and four children.

For more information, please visit

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. A message I needed to hear today. I suffered with anorexia for years (praise God that is no longer my compulsion). Now I have tried and tried to quit smoking and after 33 days off of cigarettes I picked them up again. I will not beat myself up and I will continue trying. Thank you for sharing. Today I will love myself unconditionally.

  2. Thank you for this. This is a daily battle for me as I fight myself as well as well as the things that I am not getting to. It’s a lonely feeling, but your post shows me that we are not alone. Thank you for this reminder

    1. You are so welcome! Yes, it is a lonely feeling, and you are not alone. I love one of Kristin Neff’s phrases for this – “Others feel this too.” (Kristin wrote the lovely book Self Compassion and is one of the world’s top researchers on self compassion.) We are all this together, in this very big human boat. Love, Karly

  3. Thank you for amazing words. I read it just before my birthday, in the days where tried to sum up results of past year – what good or bad has happened to me, what mistakes have I done. By reading these lines I have sensed piece in my heart. Mistakes doesn’t matter, results doesn’t matter. Matters piece inside of me and the level of acceptance of what I am. Thank you once again! Karly, You are amazing!

  4. Hi Sonya,

    Oh, how lovely – what a birthday gift to give to yourself: your own acceptance. I can think of no better birthday present.

    In love and care, Karly

    1. Dear Matt,

      Thank you for your comment and kind words. Your comment makes me think of Anne Lamott’s comment about how “My mind is a dangerous place: I try not to go there alone.” So funny, and so true! Love, Karly

  5. Hello friend
    Thank you. The difficultys you descibe are in my life as well. A lot of men hide in shame and secrecy.i don’t want to hide from real love and real emotional connections. Your emtional honesty is rewarding. I too want to stop making war on my heart. Thanks sis

    1. Rick,

      I’m so glad you’re bringing a male voice to the conversation and are willing to speak up about shame and feelings of inadequacy. Many of my male friends struggle with these feelings, too: you are not alone. I find that I feel less ashamed when I normalize these feelings, when I remember that we’re all in this very, very big human boat together. I hope you do, too. Love, Karly

  6. Wow! all i can say is wow! thank you for your gift to all of us who chose to use it and i will be first in line. for me, this really ties some many things together for me… my desire to stop my “i am not enough conversation”, my desire to delay “my reaction buttons” (this is so much better than counting to 10 with the judgement machine going in overdrive) and also my desire to take steps and move from where i am to where i want to be with myself— that well deserved uncondiitonal space. i never comment on line, but i was so moved your words of wisdom, there is always a first. thank you. Laura

    1. Dear Laura,

      I’m so glad this connected the dots and was nourishing to you, and tapped into your yearnings for self acceptance. Your sincerity is very inspiring! I feel humbled and grateful that I’m the recipient of your first on line comment – what an honor. I hope you continue to share and join the conversation. Love, Karly

  7. Love this. So true, so powerful. If only we can get EVERYONE to feel this way about themselves!!! (and others) We are ALWAYS perfect and ALWAYS ENOUGH! Thanks for sharing xo <3

    1. Dear Camille,

      Oh, yes – we are always enough. Your comments reminded me of another poem by Danna Faulds, a poet whom I mentioned in this post. It’s called, interestingly, “Enough,” and I have a hunch you might like it. The poems ends like this: “I and you and all
 of us, more than enough.”

      Love, Karly

    1. Kim,

      My friend Maureen says that one of the ways we serve each other is by “singing our songs back to each other” when we forget – when we forget who we are. I’m so glad that my words helped you remember the song of your heart.

      Love, Karly

  8. I stopped the war on myself,and now I love who I am today. I had the war inside my head,and it wouldn’t take a day off,until I looked inside myself,that I accepted who I wanted to be,and went from there. I have so much less negative talk to myself. I know now to love myself,as I am. Confident,kind,respectful,caring,and compassionate. Spiritual to myself,and others. This is my life today. Its an inside job,and it comes to the outside.
    Lots of Love.

  9. Oh Karly your words comfort me and as I read them I instantly soften. I just yesterday let go of over exercising – one step towards letting go of the war I’ve waged on my body and my soul.

  10. My wife was loving enough to share this with me. I am overweight and struggle with this internal war daily. I have never been good at working on my internal struggles. That said these 500 words did speak to me. I will use your inspiration to work on my struggle.

    1. Dear Jay, I hear you! I have so much empathy for you! It sounds like this article helped you feel less alone and isolated in your journey. I can’t say that I’m very good at working on my internal struggles – in fact, my constant working on myself was driven by anxiety, and only fed my sense of deficiency. I’ve found that the healing process is more of a grieving process, a letting go. Through this grieving process, and by facing our pain, something greater begins to work through us, like a seed rising through the soil. It’s this deeper movement that leads to new life. If you’re wanting to learn more about what this process might look like, you may find this article helpful here:
      In support, Karly

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