We humans can be hard on ourselves. It can happen when we compare ourselves with celebrities. Or when get dumped and wish we looked differently. Or when we no longer look as good due to forces beyond our control. Whatever the situation, there are endless factors that can play to our insecurities and prompt us to not be that kind to ourselves.
I watched a raw, brutal video in “The Scene” this past October. It documented two best friends directing their insecurities toward each other, out loud. Imagine projecting your insecurities onto someone you care deeply about, only to realize that the insults are what you direct toward yourself each day.
When going through a diagnosis, the hatred we can project on ourselves can be really damaging. I’m not just talking about physical hatred, either. I’m talking about the hate that can arise when someone tries to find a reason why they deserve a debilitating disease. Or the hate that bubbles up when you wonder what you did wrong in your life to cause cancer cells to wake up and duplicate. If we take a moment to step into clarity, we know these emotions are neither helpful nor healthy. They’re not kind to us.
In many instances when we are in pain, physically and emotionally, we can be terribly hurtful. To ourselves.
Looking backing, I realize that cancer ultimately taught me self-love, but the lesson wasn’t easy. I went through a lot of self-hate, and wasn’t always kind to myself through my painful experience.
Let me share five ways I practiced being kind to myself during treatment and as a cancer survivor. I hope they inspire you to be kind to yourself.
I practice self-forgiveness. If I can’t forgive myself for my mistakes, why should I expect others to forgive me? Love, kindness, and forgiveness always start with me.
I set aside time for myself each day. Whether it is five minutes or more than an hour, ME time is important. It can consist of meditation, doodling, editing a video, looking at old pictures, journaling, and so much more. I try to do things that bring me joy during my ME time.
I take care of myself. I make choices I believe are in my best interest. I eat the way I think is best for my well-being and future. I use products I believe will benefit my health. And I look at myself and acknowledge every little sign that I’m doing better.
I treat myself. Although I’m not made of money, I occasionally treat myself to a nice meal, clothes, or a date with Adam. This is in no way retail therapy. It’s giving myself a gift, as opposed to waiting for someone else to gift it to me.
I practice self-affirmation. Have you seen the video of the little girl jumping in front of the mirror shouting how amazing she is? While I don’t have a bathroom counter sturdy enough to handle my bouncing, I practice telling myself I am wonderful. I am strong. I am inspirational. I like my new hairdo. This is one of the best ways to be kind to ourselves.
The bottom line is that in order to be kind to ourselves, we must accept ourselves, believe in ourselves, and honor ourselves. When it came to cancer, I affirmed my truths and reinforced my values. I assured myself that everything would be OK, that I could get through it. I reminded myself of all the times I had succeeded. And I transcended my diagnosis and thrived.
I’d love to ask you something. When you are in pain, physical or emotional, what is the kindest thing you can do for yourself?
Note: Lymphoma News Today 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 Lymphoma News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lymphoma.