It’s my birthday and I’ll post if I want to (even though there’s technically only a few minutes left in the day as I write this).
I have been so full of love lately. Every person who says something compassionate or loving or supportive of me, my blog, my choices, fills me up with that warm fuzzy feeling. I don’t know why I was given countless people in my life when some are so alone, but I’ll take it. It’s good to be loved.
But I can’t let my 21st birthday go by without showing my new-found friend some love-ME. You see, I’ve become passionate about loving myself. And about helping others love themselves too.
Because it’s only lonely to be alone when I’m disconnected from myself.
Because the greatest pain is caused by the unkind words I say to myself.
Because in the end, only I (and God) can truly understand my thoughts and desires.
Because I’m the only person who has to live in my head every second, so I might as well make it a happy place to be.
You see, I haven’t always been a friend to myself. Much of my life I’ve treated Me badly. I should apologize. Sorry, Me, for all the mean things I said to you.
Especially on my mission my whole day was criticizing, belittling, and undermining myself. I told myself I was silly….lazy….worthless….and a failure. I reminded myself constantly of my mistakes and discounted my strengths. I tried to motivate myself with atrocities like, “I have to get up and exercise or I’ll be a failure and fat the rest of my life.” or “I should be doing something more productive so I can actually become a good missionary.” Would I ever talk to someone else that way? Absolutely not!
Have you ever consciously paid attention to the way you talk to yourself in your head? Try it! For me, it only takes a few minutes to notice that I suck at being nice to myself. OOPS I mean, it’s sometimes a struggle to be kind to myself but I’m still awesome. Being unkind to yourself weakens your self esteem, wears you out, deepens depression and makes life sad. It makes it harder to be kind to others and it actually offends God.
That’s right. We’re commanded to love others and have charity. That most certainly includes ourselves. Who am I to belittle one of His precious daughters? Who am I to say one of His creations doesn’t have worth? Kind of hard to wrap my head around this idea, but I believe it with all of my soul. We must have charity for ourselves.
The solution to this problem is simple but difficult. Once we notice the unkind thoughts, we have to change them. We have to dig deep into our spirits and remember the things we learned before this life- that we are divine beings with great potential and infinite worth independent of anything we do or do not do. And we deserve love.
I’ve been practicing self-compassion for about a year and still feel like a novice. There are so many great ideas:
- Leave myself reminder notes to be kind
- Write lists of things I like about me
- Read my patriarchal blessing often to remember how God sees me
- Ask people around me to catch me when I say unkind things to myself
- Practice spending time with ME and get to know myself
What about you? What helps you remember to be kind to yourself? I’d love to hear some ideas since we’re all learning here.
*Quote cred- not sure who made this picture but my incredible therapist, JR Patterson has it in his office.