But how do we even go about learning to love ourselves? How can we begin to nurture the longest relationship we’ll ever have, and how do we change the way we look after our bodies?
Lay the foundations
Our essential needs are essential for a reason. You know, eating, drinking, exercising, sleeping, even brushing your teeth.
When I’ve been super depressed or in pain, I’ve gone three days without showering. I also can get in a lull in which I don’t have the energy to exercise, which results in even less energy and a tendency to feel lethargic and low. And then there’s the whole sleep thing. I struggle with my sleep pattern. It’s partly to do with pain, partly to do with hormones, and partly to do with that little blue light that keeps us scrolling when we could be unwinding into sleep.
I promise you I’m not beating you up here or throwing a load of “shoulds” at you. I just know from experience what it feels like to be feeling down already, and then being crazy tired, unwashed, and lethargic on top of that.
I also know what the opposite feels like. When I set reminders to take my supplements, I feel better, my endometriosis pain and fatigue are reduced significantly, and I look healthier. When I exercise, I have more energy, even if that movement just looks like going for a 10-minute walk around the block, or a 10-minute workout video online. I also feel better mentally, and my respect for my body grows as I feel my muscles move and experience my body changing. And when I’ve had enough sleep? Well, that just changes the entire game. My outlook on life and myself is completely different, and I feel more able to cope with the challenges endometriosis throws my way.
This isn’t about beating yourself up if the pain is so bad one day that you can’t make it out of bed, let alone to the shower. It’s about loving yourself and caring for yourself enough that you look after the basics on the days that you can. And in return, you’ll feel better physically and mentally; and in return for that, your relationship and perception of yourself and your body can change.
This is self-care and self-love on one of the most basic levels, but also one of the most important.
I’ve always had low self-esteem, and I mean always. Since I could consciously think, I worried I wasn’t perfect enough. Hoping those thoughts would go away by themselves resulted in more problems, and a complete rejection of my body and health when finally diagnosed with endometriosis.
There are many reasons for low self-esteem, and we all have different stories and different methods for treating it. If you’re finding that you keep getting stuck in a loop of self-hatred and you can’t seem to break that pattern, maybe it’s time to dig a bit deeper.
Lots of different talking therapies are out there that you could try including counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and hypnotherapy. Personally, I have found rapid transformational therapy most helpful in recent years.
If therapy isn’t your kind of thing, I find attending workshops and talks to be incredibly moving and healing. I try to go to meditation workshops and healing circles when I can. These can get real hippy, but whatever the subject, it always comes back to nurturing yourself and showing you some love. Spending time at these yoga days or mediation classes is a lovely way to be guided back to yourself, and show yourself some love by attending something that is totally for you. I found a lot of issues in my head began to work themselves out as I sat in these sessions. Sometimes it’s not all about the talking, but giving your subconscious space “to be,” and to process what you’re thinking and feeling.
If you’d rather stay in the comfort of your own home, two books, which are always at the top of the self-help pile when it comes to loving yourself more, are “You Can Heal Your Life” and “The Untethered Soul.” Both books are more about consciousness, and you do need an open mind to get through them, but if you take the bits that work for you, they have the potential to completely change the relationship you have with yourself.
Learning to love ourselves more is exactly that — learning. So it may take time, and there may be bumps in the road, but be patient and kind to yourself on the journey.
Note: Endometriosis News 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 Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.