Loving others seems natural, but loving ourselves isn’t always as simple. Why is this hard sometimes? Think of how many outward expressions of love we give on a daily basis. We tell our husband, wife, kids or friends that we love them and care about them. We adore our pets and give them daily hugs and kisses. We give compliments to acquaintances and strangers throughout the day. We devote a lot of time and love to others. How much time do we spend on loving ourselves? When was the last time you gave yourself a compliment?
The easiest yet worse thing we can do is compare ourselves to others. I caught myself doing this recently. It was a normal mid-week afternoon, and I was at an eye doctor’s appointment when all of a sudden I became very ill. I spiked a fever and started to have rigors, severe chills with violent shivering. My eye doctor tilted the exam chair back and I tried to rest, while hoping this would pass. As things progressed, I knew I had to take my temperature to determine whether I would go to the hospital or go home. Fortunately, there was a dialysis center next door. I called the dialysis center and they gave me a disposable thermometer. Sure enough, I had a fever and called Noah to come pick me up.
Noah and I are used to the ER routine and what needs to be done. We handle situations like this as a strong, loving team. I was admitted quickly and taken to a private room. The doctors, Noah and I knew that blood work and blood cultures needed to be drawn to make sure I was not fighting an infection. Noah and I waited patiently for my results and, as always, made the best of the situation, found humor where we could and remained hopeful.
It’s natural to have varying emotions during times like this. I do fine as the patient. Not that I enjoy it, but I’m used to this lifestyle. But there is always a part of me that feels bad for Noah as the caregiver. In the midst of all of this, I received a text message with a photo. It was a picture of a sweet newborn baby girl. Noah’s best friend, Corey, was sharing that he and his wife welcomed their first child into the world. She was beautiful and I was so happy for them. As I lay in the hospital bed and held my phone for Noah to look at the picture, I looked at him and felt a twinge of sadness, thinking of why Noah and I were in the hospital compared to why our friends were in the hospital. I swiftly reminded myself that our lives are different from others’, and it does not do any good to compare ours to theirs.
I know that Noah loves me unconditionally, but at that moment I did not love myself as I should have. To love yourself is a beautiful blend of accepting who we are, being self-aware and having compassion for ourselves. It is a combination of knowing that you are worthy of respect and treating yourself respectfully.
We tend to be more forgiving toward others, and harder on ourselves. That day in the ER, I had a moment of being hard on myself. It’s natural to have this happen, but important to recognize it and redirect our focus back to positive self-regard. I know my health issues are life-long and that a health hiccup like this can arise at any given time. An optimistic attitude, healthy lifestyle and positive self-regard will help us on our journey of loving ourselves. As you share love with others, remember to love yourself just the way you are, health issues and all, and make the best of the current situation you’re in.
How do you love yourself? What are three compliments you can give yourself? Share them below!