The Importance of Loving Yourself
So many of us, #ChronicIllness or not, have aspects of our lives we aren’t satisfied or happy with. You may have spent weeks, months, years trying to figure out what you are doing “wrong” with little to no answers. No matter who you are and what your background is, I would like to challenge you to read to the end, and you may walk away feeling different
than you did when you sat down.
It is no secret that life puts each and every one of us on a roller coaster full of ups and downs. When chronic illness initially showed its face in my life it took me quite some time to wrap my head around everything going on. It wasn’t just a matter of learning about my diagnosis. In fact I can confidently say that was the least of my issues. It was all those seemingly little things that I previously gave no thought to. I went from being healthy one day from having nearly everything taken away from me the next. It was a mystery to me how I could go on and live a life where I would be successful and happy given the responsibilities that seemed to be piling up like dirty dishes in a sink right in front of my eyes.
Anyone can relate to that endless cycle of waking up restless and having no choice but to take on responsibilities throughout the day that consume all your time, then going to sleep just to do it all over again tomorrow. Needless to say, consumed by our responsibilities and the 24-hour days, it is no wonder people put their happiness on the back burner.
From the very first day I became ill the reality of the world we live in became apparent to me. My 13-year-old self was overwhelmed, to say the least. Life is no walk in the park and despite being naïve, this is something I was well aware of. Although, I underestimated how difficult life can truly get. I quickly began to lose touch with all the things that brought me happiness. I was baffled at how to balance life, responsibilities and my health, and to be completely honest I hit rock bottom. Friends dropped me, I had to say goodbye to just about every hobby that put a smile on my face. I had so much to learn about managing my illnesses, and my responsibilities had tripled.
As days, weeks, and months passed I thought I was finally doing all right. I was more easily tackling my responsibilities and the chores that filled my days. After all, there is no better feeling than completing that mental checklist right? Wrong. As time went on, it became more and more clear to me that I was far from happy. In fact I was physically and mentally exhausted, and completing my mental checklist day after day was just another toxic cycle. My priorities were very wrong and all sorts of out of order. Reflecting on my past was only confirmation that at the time I did absolutely nothing for myself and it helped shed light on the adjustment my life and mindset needed.
Everyone has different ideas in mind when it comes to what it means to be “successful,” and as humans we all have passions and goals that serve as our drive to success. With that being said, it is nearly impossible to achieve whatever these may be if you aren’t truly happy and don’t love yourself. Often, we overlook the obvious, and by that I mean we forget how unique and special each and every one of us is. Nobody else in this world is and will ever be a replication of yourself. If you let that sink in you may realize you are pretty freaking amazing. But without happiness I couldn’t fully accomplish this, and without self-love I couldn’t have happiness.
I think self-love should be everyone’s top priority, and needing to take care of my body and
health at a young age has taught me that once you love yourself everything around you becomes a bit easier and clearer.
Self-love can consist of a wide variety of things — maybe self-love starts with confidence
and body image, or maybe self-love means not waking up with bags under your eyes restless after restless night, or maybe self-love means finding the time in every day to partake in an activity that is going to leave a smile on your face. I like to think of self-love as a medication. Taking care of yourself in more ways than one is so important and far underrated. For those reading this who are not ill, I want you to treat yourself in the same way you care for yourself when you have that flu that just won’t cut you a break, and for those affected by chronic illness consider treating your life with the mindset that loving yourself is the most important medicine out of all the pills you need to take. You would be surprised by the various aspects of one’s life that may drastically improve solely because they made sure caring for and loving themselves was always without a doubt their top priority. This is
one of the few times in life where it is acceptable to be completely selfish so take advantage of the opportunity and own it.
I understand you may be sitting there with a chip on your shoulder feeling as if you just wasted the past five minutes reading what turned out to be common sense… and yes, you are sort of right with that statement. This is common sense but the majority of people would be lying if they said they believed this so called “common sense.” If it was a common belief that you should be your top priority then people wouldn’t constantly be trying to take short cuts in life, people wouldn’t constantly have complaints coming out of their mouths, and people most definitely wouldn’t view things with such a negative mindset and poor attitude.
Let me ask you a few questions: would you attempt a 5K with a broken ankle, would you go
present your newest and greatest idea at work after coming down with the flu, would
you consider going on a road trip when you could barely keep your eyes open because you’re running on 3 hours of sleep? Of course not! So why do we think
we can deprive our bodies and our physical and #MentalHealth from the love and
care they deserve and have our performance and success in life remain
unaffected? Self-love is just as pivotal as healing that broken ankle, taking
medicine to free your body from the flu, and getting an appropriate amount of
sleep. In fact, these things fit under the category of self-love. Remember exactly
this when you go about your days throughout life, it’s easy to get caught up in
more complex situations and forget the importance of loving yourself. Although,
at the end of the day the concept is the same, self-love is not something to be
forgotten about, and if you want to live that happy and successful life you
have always dreamt of it definitely should not be sitting on your back burner.