When you love someone — a partner, a spouse, a friend, a parent, a child, a sibling, and so on — do you love them even through their imperfections? Are we not taught to accept others, flaws and all? Most of us, of course, care for our loved ones unconditionally. We look past any weaknesses or shortcomings, accepting them for who they are.
Why, then, is it so difficult for many of us to do this for ourselves? Many folks — even those who are healthy — are harder on themselves than they are on others. In fact, for many people, it is incomprehensibly difficult to love oneself. Add on a chronic illness or disability, and it makes it even harder.
For many of us with chronic illness, our flaws, imperfections, inadequacies, and shortcomings feel magnified because of our health situation. But why should a health issue beyond our control magnify our insecurities? Shouldn’t we cut ourselves the same slack that we cut others whom we love?
After all, we should love ourselves first — and love ourselves no matter what. And our loved ones will likely love and accept us no matter what, too. If they can’t or won’t love us at our worst, they certainly don’t deserve us at our best … and if an illness or disability changes the way they feel about you as a partner, friend, or loved one, then were they really worth it to begin with? Probably not.
We get upset when folks like that don’t accept us as-is, and don’t love us for who we are. But, then, why can’t we accept ourselves as-is? Why can’t we love ourselves for who we are — flaws and all?
It’s something to think about. We should treat others the way that we want to be treated; but we also should treat ourselves that way, too.
The next time that you start to beat yourself up about your chronic illness or your disability, remember that it doesn’t make you any less valuable or any less lovable. The next time that you start to think hateful or negative thoughts to yourself, try thinking loving thoughts:
“I love my body.”
“I’m worth it.”
“I am grateful for what I do have.”
“I am as special, empowered, and important as anyone else.”
“I am able.”
“People love me.”
“I love me.”
It is amazing how simple it is to turn off negative self-talk and to turn on that light of self-love once we realize that we, and only we, hold the power to do so.
Remember that loving yourself is an important step in making any positive changes in your life. Loving yourself, even with chronic illness, doesn’t have to be as challenging as it may seem.
Give it a try. You’ll love it.
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