The importance of self-love
Self-love is an important topic that isn’t talked about enough. Whether dealing with an illness, a mental health issue, or the pressure of everyday living, self-love is super important! Don't get it confused with self-esteem. Self-love is something much greater than self-esteem and deserves to be given a spotlight of its own.
What's the difference between self-love and self-esteem?
The dictionary defines self-esteem as confidence in one's own worth or abilities, self-respect. Self-love is defined as regard for one's own well-being and happiness.
Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Self-love means not settling for less than you deserve.
Society tries to teach us a lot about doing things for others and helping others, which is great. But sometimes there is too much pressure from us or others to be a good parent, the perfect friend, or the perfect significant other. No such thing as perfection in the earthly form, in my opinion. Sometimes with all the pressure, it comes at a sacrifice of our own health and our own happiness to make others happy. Sacrificing your happiness for a specific situation or another person is not always a bad thing. Small sacrifices in losing a bit of sleep or worry, is not a bad thing either. But making sacrifices all the time IS an issue.
Are Any Sacrifices to Your Health and Happiness Worth It?
You might sacrifice your health or your happiness to keep up with responsibilities or to achieve some type of short- or long-term goal. Hopefully, that end goal will lead to more happiness, otherwise, it may not be worth the sacrifice. But sacrificing your health on an ongoing basis is never worth it. Short-term things that you do or don’t do to stay healthy have an impact on your long-term health. You can’t go back in time but, once your health is broken it is incredibly hard, expensive, and time-consuming to make yourself whole again.
So, ask yourself…
Am I caring for my body the best I can?
Am I getting enough sleep?
Am I blocking time out of my day for me?
Am I staying hydrated?
Do I have a skin-care routine?
Am I fulfilling my body's vitamin and mineral needs?
To achieve a healthier mind, you must start with the body. Click here to learn more.
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Self -Love while coping with Illness
I know how difficult self-love can be when you are dealing with an illness. You might feel sometimes like you are not deserving of happiness or good health, but you are just as worthy as anyone else. You can often feel like you are being too selfish putting your needs first, and there is a sense of guilt for most people that comes with being sick. You may also have a lot of pressure to be a good parent, friend, daughter, significant other, and so on.
However, you will not succeed at being a good anything, if you never take time to take care of yourself. No matter what you might have been told, or what level of guilt you might feel, even as a parent you should always make time for self-care, along with time for just you and your significant other (if you have one). You must take care of yourself in order to take care of someone else. If you have kids, they need to be around the “you” that is healthy and happy, more than the ongoing sad, overwhelmed, or frustrated version. Time alone is especially important. Plus, at some point, it will help teach your child how to take time for their selves, and do things independently, as well.
Dealing with Your Guilt
Instead of worrying about being that friend (or family member, coworker, etc.) who cancels frequently, you should focus on the things you can do as a good friend. Be the person that is there for your friend when they desperately need someone to talk to, or just to listen to. Be that friend who shows gratefulness for having them in your life, when others can sometimes take friendships for granted. Even if you can’t take on as many responsibilities in your household, you can always find other ways to show your commitment or friendship to the people around you. Find positive things to do in place of what you can’t do, that doesn’t require sacrificing your well-being or happiness.
Don’t concern yourself with what you can’t do as a friend. Love yourself enough to recognize that the effort you are putting in is worth something. If they can’t see that, the relationship may not be worth it at all. You deserve a healthy and happy life, just as much as anyone else. No one is above you or below you in your worth as a human being. Remember that.
People use Guilt Against You
There are many people out there who will use guilt to get their way or get something they need or want out of a relationship. Always keep your eyes open to this, some people won’t accept “no” for an answer and come up with all sorts of reasons why you need to be somewhere or do something. Sometimes their reasons may line up with your values, and sometimes they will be about their own selfish wants or desires. Either way, it is not fair for them to put you in that situation. Stick to your reasons for saying no, or find an alternative solution, if possible. But always remember your happiness and well-being are just as important as theirs. Respect yourself, and only make sacrifices when the result will succeed the sacrifice being made.