When I was in treatment (I know I talk about it a lot, it just really changed my life), it was all about me. It was all about doing things that made me love me for who I was. I learned how to show myself grace on the bad days. I learned that not every day is going to be perfect, but if it’s 43% good, that is GOOD ENOUGH. I know Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I could talk about “cute date ideas” or “how to spice things up in your relationship,” but I really want to talk about things that you can do to love yourself just a little bit more.
I am someone who journals about how I am feeling. BT (before treatment), I was NASTY when I journaled. I would say terrible things when I would have a bad day. Things like, “You’re worthless,” “You don’t deserve anything good to happen to you,” “You should just die.” I was RELENTLESS. It was really hard for me to go back and read those old journal entries. It’s crazy how MEAN we can be to ourselves. Just thinking about how I used to talk to myself is making me emotional. It was so easy to beat myself up and I can’t imagine saying those things to someone I loved. That’s where it shifted. I would NEVER even think about saying the things I said to myself to another person, yet I could say them to myself without a second thought. AT (after treatment), my perspective changed. I learned healthy ways to journal, ways that allowed me to express how I was feeling without bashing myself and my emotions. I write out things that I am grateful for. Not every day is a successful journaling day, I still get frustrated with myself but I no longer talk badly. That is not productive by any means. That’s the first way you can start to build a positive relationship with yourself.
Another way you can put yourself first and take care of YOU is by knowing and setting boundaries. I am a “yes man” in so many ways. I don’t really know how to say ‘no’ to things without feeling terrible about hurting that person’s feelings, even when it’s something that I REALLY don’t want to do. DT (during treatment), I learned that it is SO beneficial for your mental health to learn how to say no to things. Time is something that you can’t get back so you. might as well spend it doing things you enjoy and saying no to the things that will exhaust you, both physically and emotionally.
Something I am trying to do more of is spend more time with my friends and family. For a short while, I was made to feel badly for hanging out with them. That isn’t something that I will ever stand for again. My friends and family are where I feel most comfortable and most myself. Putting in the effort to see them has done wonders for me. I’ve always believed the saying, “You are who you hang out with.” If you’re hanging out with negative people all the time, you are going to start adopting a negative attitude and mindset. But when you hang out with genuinely GOOD humans, you start to raise your standards for yourself. Good people push you to be the best version of yourself, so who wouldn’t want that?
Whenever I am creating, I am most alive. Whether that be through photography or writing or, more recently, crafting, that is when I feel like ME. When the creative juices are flowing and I know that I can produce something amazing, I get this overwhelming giddy feeling and I fall in love with life. I am so much more right-brained than left-brained so having hobbies that allow me to shine in that aspect really benefits my mental health. Having something you are passionate about is a way to make you fall in love with yourself, so I HIGHLY suggest getting in touch with that side of you.
So, when you’re bummed out about Valentine’s Day and all that it entails, remember to fall in love with yourself first. Do all the things that light a fire in you. Write out all of the things you love about yourself to remind you that you are GOOD. You are WORTHY of the love you give to yourself. Don’t you ever, EVER forget that.