The Importance of Loving Yourself

The Importance of Loving Yourself

finding balance

My health has been a thorn in my side most of my life. Since fifth grade, I’ve been trying to get answers to health issues that have plagued me. I went from doctor to doctor, trying to get help for my many symptoms to no avail. Why wasn’t I having any success? What could I have done differently? Was I somehow holding myself back?

I recently started practicing mindfulness. Being a writer, I decided to jot down what came to mind. Here are the results:

  • I didn’t follow up as well as I should have.
  • I didn’t seek out second or third opinions.
  • I believed physicians when they said there was nothing wrong, even though I knew deep down there was something very wrong!
  • I doubted myself.
  • I took myself for granted.
  • I didn’t make my health the priority it should have been.
  • I relied too much on people who didn’t care about me.
  • I refused to open my mind to alternative treatments and natural products.
  • I DIDN’T LOVE MYSELF ENOUGH TO FIGHT FOR MYSELF!

The last one was quite a revelation, but true. I hated myself for years and that hate destroyed me. It kept me from caring about my health. I found it much easier to hate myself than to love myself.

After writing down these thoughts, I realized something changed after my diagnosis. I became angry. Why didn’t any of the dozen or so doctors I’d seen figure this out? I’ve been diagnosed, so now what?

Anger can be productive if you use it correctly. I focused that anger into action. I have to do something about my health or I will only continue to deteriorate. What will I be like in 20 years? The thought of what could be caused me to focus on finding ways to better myself before it is way too late. I needed to change my negative attitude and find a way to love myself again.

I started seeing medical professionals whom I previously wouldn’t even consider. I found a whole new world of options. From physical therapy and massage to acupuncture and chiropractic care, there are a lot of resources that could have a positive impact on my health.

After three years of experimenting, changing my entire lifestyle and leaving my comfort zone again and again, I finally have a sense of direction and self-worth. I am losing weight (35 pounds in three months) and I feel better than I have in years. My pain has diminished considerably. I feel better at 52 than I did at 35. I also can proudly say that I do love myself, and I know that I deserve to have some peace and happiness in life.

Now I use these mantras to get me through any setbacks:

  • I will not let others steal my joy or take away my self-esteem.
  • I will not tolerate medical professionals who call me a liar or tell me that what I am going through is all in my head.
  • I will put myself first. I cannot take care of others if I do not take care of myself.
  • Life is what I make it. It is how I respond to the curve balls in life that defines who I am, not this illness.
  • I am strong. I am tough. I have the battle scars to prove it.
  • I am human. I cry and I am not ashamed of it.
  • I am a fighter. I don’t give up.
  • I am courageous.

All of us fibro warriors are tough, strong and courageous. Be proud of what you are able to accomplish instead of being depressed by what you can’t. Changing your attitude can also bring about big changes in your health and well-being. Keep up the good fight and don’t let anyone bring you down.

What mantras do you have that get you through tough times? How do you build yourself up? What advice do you have for others who can’t seem to find the courage to fight?

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Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.

5 comments

  1. Katherine JohnsonI' says:

    I think I still really struggle with this. I was molested as a child, and I think that kind of implanted a seed of shame, guilt and self hatred. I’ve struggled to make good decisions and take care of myself, because deep down I didn’t believe I was worth it. I’m starting a mindfulness program and trying to take a look at nutrition and movement, always in process, but moving forward . I think the thing that has encouraged me the most in the midst of it all is my faith. It definitely counters all the negative beliefs about myself. It challenges me to always hope and be grateful for the provision to survive each day I continue to receive. I’ve had Fibro for 20 years and have been much sicker than I am now, and I’m definitely grateful that I’m able to do more, but I’m frustrated also because it still makes life feel so beyond my control, I have a plan for the day and then gravity goes and doubles on me. So annoying, and unfortunately my day today. But then I have to admit the truth, much of what happens in my life is not within my control and there’s no point in using my limited energy to bemoan that fact. The one thing I do control, is how I choose to receive it. If today is an enforced rest day, I will try to be grateful and make the best of it. I’m always praying for flexibility, adaptability, endurance and a grateful heart.

  2. Judy Parks says:

    Wonderfully said, Carrie. Your words would be a salvery on the souls of individuals who are enduring other trials. I am sharing your article with friends and family. Thank you.

  3. Linda Webster says:

    Thanks Carrie. Your words really do help.
    I’ve also had fibromyalgia for over twenty years and as I age, I feel the loss of time more acutely. I hate to lose what precious time remains by resting but if I turn resting into something productive like mindfulness and increasing self esteem with mantras, perhaps I’ll feel more satisfied.
    The onset of fibro seemed to co-incide with my low self esteem, although I know there was probably always a undercurrent of it in my life. I wish there was something you could plug people in to, to feel what we feel physically. I don’t think others really understand the impact. I’d especially like to plug a few doctors into said machine.
    I guess if I had to add a mantra it would be “If I can do this, I can do anything.”
    Also, write, write, write! Once your feelings are on paper, they are somehow more real.

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