Love Yourself

Love YourselfLoving 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.

Noah in the ER with meIt’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!

February’s posts are full of love. They started off with Loving Life, The Power of Love, today’s post on Loving Yourself and next week’s post will be on loving your body.


  1. Rex Jones

    Valen, I appreciated this blog very much. As a person with PKD, and on dialysis, I often lose sight of loving myself. I’m going through a round of that right now, and this came at a perfect moment. Thank you.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Rex,
      Thank you for sharing and you’re so welcome. Knowing this came “at a perfect moment” for you means a lot and = mission accomplished for me writing this post. PKD and dialysis can definitely consume our time and thoughts. While fighting this disease, I hope you can find time to focus on loving yourself. Wishing you all the best!

  2. Lisa Simpson

    Hi Valen, great piece. It’s a good reminder to practice loving kindness on ourselves first. I too have PKD and I’m about to start training for home hemodialysis. And I find it so hard to compliment myself. But I will try to come up with three things: I am (mostly) maintaining a positive attitude in the face of this upcoming challenge of learning HHD; I am still walking 2-3 miles several days a week; I am still present in my life for those that need me to be, including my aged parents, hubby, daughter, cats and dog, LOL. Thank you, you beautiful spirit you!

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Lisa,
      It warmed my heart to have you share three compliments about yourself. Thank you so much! You are doing a fantastic job as you start training for hemodialysis…staying positive, active and present! Great job!!! Good luck and wishing you all the best as you start this next chapter on your PKD journey. Thank you for sharing and for your support! Hugs!!!

  3. dominique

    i think its wonderful to love yourself when you know you love to help others are kind giving etc and take care of your self to the best that you can thats loving yourself..if one doesnt love themselves how can one do for others ? It comes from the inside first and then radiates to others around you..I have pkd and on dialysis and i love myself and it shows thru my labs , smiles i get when around others to be kind to others and helpful is a big thing i feel for myself and to others.. when i come back from dialysis and then later to work i feel i must get a nap in before so i feel rested and i eat well for the most part an get out with my dogs walking for thier benifit as well as mine. i wanna take care of me so i can help and be useful to others too.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Dominique,
      Thank you so much for sharing what loving yourself means to you! You are doing a wonderful job taking care of yourself and in turn helping others in your life. Hugs!

  4. Billie Awbrey

    Thank you, Valen, for reminding me to do a much better job of loving me. Just that simple statement was difficult for me to share. Self-criticism, one of my biggest faults.
    Then there is the one of comparing myself to others.

    Thank you for reminding me to be as kind to myself as I am to my kitties, Baby and Sissy.

    You are my inspiration fear friend.

    See you Saturday!!!

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Billie,
      I greatly appreciate you opening up and sharing this! I’m so grateful my blog helped to remind you to be kind to and love yourself. You deserve it!!! 🙂
      Thank you for your sweet sentiments and support! Looking forward to being with you and your wonderful family on Saturday. Get ready for a big hug! 🙂

  5. Billie Awbrey

    That would be dear friend…

    • Valen Keefer

      🙂 xo

  6. Carolyn Stone

    Valen, This is a very good statement about loving yourself. I have been on a little down trend because, like you other things pop up and I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, it was caught early and I won’t know until Wednesday what my final treatments will be. With PKD that could present a few extra problems but I know I can handle it. I have the best support system – friends and family that love me and pray for me daily. It only took a few minutes of whining when I came back around to how lucky I am. Caring and being positive about yourself is vital to good health. You have been my inspiration for years. Just know I love you and Noah. Stay healthy and be safe.

    • Valen Keefer

      Dearest Carolyn,
      Noah and I are so very sorry to hear this news! You are strong and loved by many (including us) and I trust your sweet body will overcome all of this. I’m so grateful it was caught early and I hope minimally aggressive treatment will be needed for positive and successful results. You will always hold a special place in my heart, as the first person to come to my first chapter meeting. You brought to life my dream of starting a chapter in PA! 🙂 Thank you for your friendship, support and always believing in me. Please know we love you and are here for you. I would greatly appreciate you keeping us informed on your progress. Sending prayers, strength, love and positivity to you and your family! Big healing hugs! xo

  7. Javier

    I just recntly found out I now have pkd I pretty much lost and confused
    But all of you on this website gives me hope
    Thank you

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Javier,
      I am sorry that you are feeling this way, but happy to know that this gave you a little hope. I am not sure where you live, but if you are in the United States and interested in connecting with your local chapter, here is a site to help you find the closest one to you.
      Wishing you all the best!


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