Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2015 Nancy Virden
An empty bucket can’t pour anything out. Similarly, when our “love myself bucket” is empty, we can offer only our weakened selves to our families, work, and to everything we do. Truly loving one’s self seems a rare trait.
Here are three practical steps you can take to change your attitude about your value, worth, and what you have to offer.
Treat Yourself With Kindness. Choosing each day, yes each day, to do something deliberate and nice for yourself may seem awkward at first. Depending on who you are and your circumstances, these kindnesses may be as simple as taking a shower or as complicated as a vacation.
What is that one task you’ve been dreading? Do it and experience the relief. You like flowers? Buy, plant, or pick some. Practice self-care by eating right, put your feet up, go for a drive, or call an old friend. Maybe you need to make a new, more positive friend.
Whatever gifts of kindness you decide to offer to yourself, each day you will feel better and a little more loving toward who you are.
Shine a Light on Your Tiny Successes. When you see your accomplishments in terms of, “that’s all I got done” and “that didn’t make a difference,” you short yourself on enjoying many victories.
Write down or make a mental note of each success, no matter how small. If you are severely depressed for instance, taking a shower can be a huge step. Praise yourself for finding the strength and carrying through.
In a busy workday, a sense of accomplishment may be lost in the whirl of what else needs to be done. Ask, “what do I value?” Give yourself a thank you each time you live according to those values whether they include promptness, quality of work, dependability, kindness, or anything else. Your self-respect and appreciation will grow.
Listen to Positive Feedback. Compliments and affirmations are often brushed off due to lack of time to appreciate them, an especially low self-esteem, or positive comments may be difficult to believe. Listen anyway.
Make note of them on your computer or to hang on your wall. This will build support for your best thoughts about you. It can give you guidance on what behaviors you may want to repeat, or even direction for your career or ministry. Discovering over time what positives others consistently see in you will boost your confidence and desire to love yourself.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.
-pictures from Qualitystockphotos.com