Recent events in my life how taught me how important it is to love and care for myself. For a long time, I didn’t know what that meant and in recent months, while trying to find a way to be truly happy, I realized that the possibilities were infinite. Probably the way that most of already take care of us includes eating healthy, exercising, and treating ourselves so that is the first part of loving yourself. For a long time, I let life’s stresses get in the way, and I wasn’t doing these simple things.
Probably the most important way to love yourself is to work towards self-love and positive self esteem. That involves a lot of self-talk when you say things that encourage feeling and being better. It is so important to speak to yourself in a kind manner. Many of us have inner critics and that is the voice inside of us that beats us up by saying things like “now that was stupid,” or “I can never do anything right!” It is the same as anyone else verbally and emotionally abusing you and if you are willing to abuse yourself, you are willing to let others do it as well. We need to replace those negative messages with more positive ones such as, “I will do better next time,” or “this is a learning experience.” Overtime, our awareness increases and we learn to self-talk in a more positive way. The only thing we can do is notice the things we are doing right so that our inner critic is reminded of those things when the negative energy starts. It is okay to acknowledge to yourself when you have done well and even reward yourself.
Another way is to love yourself is through positive affirmation. Look at all things you are capable of and focus on those. Tell yourself daily that you are “happy and successful” or that you are “beautiful and delightful to be around” or that you are “powerful and confident.” If you believe that you possess these qualities, then you do. At first this seems silly but in time, you will grow into and become these qualities. And you probably had them all long; you just had not yet realized it.
So go ahead and love yourself. Be good and kind to yourself. Treat yourself well and you will find that the more you love yourself, the more love you can give to others in your life. Loving yourself is a benefit to yourself and those around you.
My journey towards loving myself has been long and often times awkward. I had to learn to think differently and how to behave differently. I am learning how to take care of myself first so that I have more to offer to those I love. What I have also learned is that if I don’t take care of myself, I don’t have the strength to live up to my responsibilities. I have learned how important self-love is and that it starts with self-care. Loving myself means that I am willing to value myself as human being with dignity and that I respect my all my strengths and all my limitations.
Living with RA and Fibro and having a whole bunch of responsibilities means that I need plenty of rest, a healthy diet, and to limit stress. When I neglect one of these important things, I become exhausted and depressed. If I want to respect myself and my own feelings, I have to acknowledge and actually feel them.
Loving myself is one of the best gifts I can give to myself. It is a blessing that I never knew I had and it has helped me to heal through some of the more recent hard times in my life. I have found that I have spent so much time seeking approval from others before I sought my own approval. I don’t want to be that person anymore because that person was hurting. I don’t think I ever really learned that I had to love myself first and until recent events in my life, I didn’t realize how important it was. I think that I am stronger and that I am better because I do love myself. While this is still a work in progress, I am learning to be happier as a result.