Do You Struggle to Self-Love with a Chronic Illness?
When you have a chronic illness it can be a struggle to love yourself.
Because your body is attacking itself so essentially it is YOU that is attacking YOU.
How can you love your arch nemesis?!?
Or at least that’s how I felt at the crux of my self loathery (yes – I made that up).
Why is Self Love Important
Self-love is not a fad or slogan. It’s not selfish or vain or conditional.
It’s dynamic. Self-love is complete acceptance of who and what you are (and aren’t). It’s the appreciation, affirmation, and validation of yourself that grows from actions that support your physical, mental and spiritual growth.
Self-love is making yourself and your needs a priority and not settling for less than what you deserve (in all arenas in life).
I often used a bucket metaphor for self love. We have a bucket full of water but life throws things at us that puts cracks in the buckets.
It’s up to us to not only fill our self love buckets but to also repair the cracks.
Having self-love with a chronic illness is important because every day there are signs, symptoms, and flare-ups that challenge your abilities to perform every action but more important make it difficult to know your worth and trust yourself.
I’ve struggled with believing that because I have a chronic illness, my worth has diminished. I don’t hold the same value because I’m “defective” or something.
And because of that, I fell into a darkness that only I could love myself out of.
5 Signs of Lack of Self Love with Chronic Illness
After my diagnosis in 2016, I was severely depressed. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror without bursting into tears.
During a journaling session one day a bell went off. Wayment – sis do you even love yourself?
The answer was a loud caps lock NO.
I decided that I had to do something about it. Fast forward years later and here we are today, still growing and ready to help others do the same.
Now you may think: “But you’re not physically self-harming like cutting or something drastic”. Lack of or low self-love doesn’t necessarily look a specific way.
It can exhibit itself in many forms like
- eating disorders – not eating because I don’t want to gain too much weight from the prednisone or overeating because I’m eating my feelings and just want to “feel good”.
- people-pleasing – letting other people’s opinions of what I should and shouldn’t be doing now that I have a chronic illness dictate my actions. I just wanted them to approve.
- perfectionism – trying to prove myself to be the best for external validation and spiraling when I fell short of what “perfection” was.
- communication struggles – not being able to stand up for myself, articulate my wants and needs or advocate for my health.
- mask wearing – pretending to be ok for the sake of other people so THEY wouldn’t feel umcomfortable about MY illness.
Did I hit any triggers? Yes? No?
Ok. I’ll keep going.
3 Ways to Start Building Self Love with a Chronic Illness Today
While we all need self love, it looks different for each of us. It’s important that you figure out where the cracks in your self love foundation are so that you can patch them and fill your bucket back up.
Self-love with a chronic illness is a challenge, but doable (like everything else with a chronic illness). You really have to work at it.
Here are a few tips to building self love with a chronic illness
- Mindfulness – Be present. Get in touch with yourself, who you are what you want, think and feel. Respecting each moment as a gift and embrace it.
- Compassion – Remember that no one is perfect. Forgive yourself for being human. Forgive yourself for having an illness. You didn’t cause it and you don’t have to keep punishing yourself for it.
- Affirmations and loving self-talk – Start making room for healthy habits but speaking light and life into your life. There is power in the tongue.
Love Yourself Well with a Chronic Illness
I have made alot of progress in my self love journey since my myasthenia gravis diagnosis back in 2016. In fact I like to attribute my AHA moment of needing to work on my self love to my diagnosis.
Sometimes it’s hitting the depths of darkness that inspire you to change and work for the light.
I want to help you build a solid foundation of self-love that will enable you to love yourself fully + unconditionally. So I have a couple of options and I hope that one fits your needs.
The first is my Love Yours Self Care Challenge. This is a continuation of the Self Love Project I’ve been running for the past 2 years. It’s 28 days of using affirmations to start speaking lovingly and positively about yourself.
The second option is new this year, Love Yourself Well Rehab. It’s a 6 Week Course where we are covering topics like uncovering your limiting beliefs, fighting your inner negative nancy, getting to the essence of who you are, relax relate and releasing your past, body image, and positivity and protecting yourself through boundaries. There will be weekly lessons and workbooks, live call check-ins, and a FB support group.
Both the challenge and the course start 2.1.21. You can learn more about these options in the Living Ill Collective academy.
Even if you don’t decide to join either of my self-love offerings, if you are struggling to love yourself, I highly encourage you to take small steps to build that relationship.
It gives you the opportunity to dig deep, to fall in love with yourself, and be your own knight/dame in shining armor.