I see a lot of people talking about loving your body no matter how it looks, but what about loving it despite how it feels? Loving your body, when it feels like it doesn’t love you back? Loving your body when it prevents you from going to work, socializing, going to school, or even just walking? Loving your body when it’s always needing surgery or leaving you exhausted from constant pain and discomfort? It’s hard to love your body, when it holds you back from doing what you want. You don’t just hate how it looks but how it functions.
It’s okay to be upset about your illness, but try to remember you didn’t choose this. Just as we should forgive our souls for the mistakes we’ve made, we should forgive our bodies. They carry us through this life, and it’s not their fault we’re sick.
Instead of seeing treatment as fixing something that’s broken, try seeing it as nurturing your body by helping it heal. Listen to your body’s needs. Activities, food, people, all of it should be tailored to what’s best for your mind and body. Even self care should be specific to you. It’s not always getting a manicure or buying a new dress. Sometimes it’s more utilitarian. For instance, I’ve been too nauseated to eat lately, so I bought a Nutribullet. Now, I can still nourish my body without making myself sicker. For you it might be getting a service dog, a new recliner, or a scented heating pad. Self care is an investment, and it’s worth it to make your life easier.
Your body is not the enemy, and it hasn’t failed you. Your body is fighting FOR you (yes, even with autoimmune diseases). Your internal monologue matters. When you damn your body for being sick, you’re perpetuating a pattern of negative thinking. Every time you start hating your body, redirect that focus to one of the wonderful things it’s doing for you. Gratitude is one of the first steps to self love. Give thanks for each little gift. Maybe you can taste your food today or you were able to breathe deeply. No matter how small it is, these are all victories that should be celebrated. When we don’t have health, it’s easy to feel like we have nothing, but we do.
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