Loving yourself #AtoZChallenge
As a general rule, loving yourself is a necessity of life. Not the egomaniacal form of loving yourself mind you. But the kind of love you hold for yourself regardless of your physical abilities or health. The kind of love that permits you to not be perfect, providing you are doing your best in the given circumstances and situation. When you are chronically ill it can become a challenge to love yourself, and this is when you must do so more than ever.
When you can no longer do the things you used to, whether for work or pleasure, we tend to be harder on ourselves than others. When you don’t get the feeling of fulfillment from being good at your job, let alone being able to perform your job, we can wind up beating ourselves up emotionally. When you are faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, it is easy to become overly hard on yourself.
More than ever before we must learn to put ourselves first in order to best take care of ourselves both physically and mentally. When we fail to realize that our body has new restrictions or needs, and we push past those so-called safe limits we wind up abusing our body instead of respecting it. While embracing the changes we face, and grieving the loss of our former selves, we can tend to internalize the negative emotions. This is detrimental in the obvious emotional aspect, but also physically as it can manifest into physical symptoms and complaints.
When facing a major medical event, it is more important than ever to all yourself to be human. Permit yourself to grieve your former sense of self, whilst creating a new one founded on your current limitations. Perhaps you are unable to physically perform in the way you have become accustomed. While certainly tragic, you are no less of a person than you were before. You must find the way in which you can still feel useful. Can you use your previous experience to create positive change in an industry? Can you use the knowledge and training towards educating others?
We must embrace who we have become, including any limitations we may have, and allow ourselves to be human. If you have a bad health day, allow your body time to rest without emotionally beating up on yourself for something that a is outside your control. Permit yourself a mental health day to step back and regroup should you need to do so. Then when you’re ready, get up, set your sights on a reasonable and attainable goal, and do your best to accomplish it. If you complete it, celebrate your victory!
What happens if you feel like you’ve failed you may ask? Well, you celebrate your attempt to accomplish it and realize that some things are out of our control. However, how you treat yourself is not only within your control, but it is a skill you must learn to use properly. If you need help to learn or re-learn how to effectively practice self-care and love yourself, there are a wide variety of resources available to you depending upon your situation and beliefs. Reach out to your primary care physician, a physical therapist, psychologist or even your clergy. There is no single right way to do this, we must each learn what works for us, and it is often a process based upon trial and error.
Do you have an experience regarding learning to love yourself again after an illness or injury? Share your experience below so that others may learn from it as well. We’d like to hear it!