Do you love yourself?
Loving yourself isn’t always easy, especially when you live with a painful chronic illness.
What do you do when you can’t bring yourself to do it?
How about faking it until you make it?
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Eat like you love yourself
Look at your plate.
Would you give what is on it to someone you loved?
What if that loved one had an illness that was made worse by it?
For example, my daughter is allergic to red dye. Would a loving mother feed her child foods colored with it? NO!
Respect and love your body by eating foods that make it feel good and work better.
If you are struggling with this, try faking it by pretending you are preparing a meal for a loved one who has the same chronic illness. In time you will fall in love with how you feel and making healthier choices will come easier.
Speak like you love yourself
How do you talk to and about yourself?
Do you put yourself down or mostly focus on your faults?
Think about your skills, talents, and accomplishments.
If listing things you’re capable of or that you like about yourself doesn’t come naturally, try writing about yourself in third person.
Another tactic is to start each day speaking affirmations like:
- I love my body and all it does for me
- I’m enough
- I’m worthy of love
- I have much to celebrate about myself and my life
- I’m more than an illness
Move like you love yourself
Living with one or more chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia or psoriatic arthritis typically results in living within a set of physical boundaries.
We know we need to pace ourselves, yet we often get caught up in a vicious cycle of feast or famine.
When we feel “good” or even just a little better, we go, go, go, until we can’t go anymore. Then we lie in bed groaning that we should have slowed down.
When I treat myself like someone I love, I pay attention to the signals my body is sending. Those warning signs are telling me to slow down or to ask for assistance.
If asking for help or pacing is difficult for you, try this little fake-out the next time you have a project that could trigger a flare. Before attempting your task or project, talk to yourself as if you were someone else with the same illness and limitations. Speak or write down your advice to them in regards to how you think their task could be accomplished without hurting themselves. Then follow your advice!
Act like you love yourself
How do you treat yourself?
Do you make time for self-care?
What about making time to do something fun?
For the first decade of my chronic life, I didn’t think I deserved to have fun or to do something nice for myself. Why? Because of how far behind in housework my chronic pain had made me fall or because I had to cancel plans on a severe flare day. What I later realized was that punishing myself for flares from an illness that was out of my control was ludicrous. I gained nothing but an increase of self-loathing and depression.
Act like you love yourself. Do something just for fun! Take time to read a book, try a new hobby, splurge on new lounge wear, etc.
Pretend you are meeting yourself for the first time. Ask yourself, what was the last thing you did that expressed a love for yourself.
When faking fails to help
If you find that faking it doesn’t help you eat, speak, move, or act like you love yourself, you may need to seek professional help. A trained therapist can help you get to the root of why you struggle to love yourself.
Whatever the reason may be, I hope you one day realize that you are worthy of love, even from yourself!