How is it that it is so hard to love ourselves?
Our hearts are limitless in our capacity to love others. We can add on countless children, siblings, pets, friends, lovers, and still we would have room for more.
But what of ourselves?
How do we love ourselves? How do we know that we love ourselves?
Is it the respect we give to ourselves, that we stand up for ourselves and not allow ourselves to be taken advantage of?
Is it the little things that we do to spoil ourselves, little indulgences of Godiva chocolates, ice cream sundaes, spa days, diamond earrings just because?
We know how it is to love someone; spouse, children, parents, friends. We feel warmth and joy in our heart, we smile with tenderness, we touch with affection.
None of these feelings apply when we look to ourselves. Our hearts do not fill with tenderness and joy when we look in the mirror. More likely it is quite another strong emotion we’re feeling all together.
What does it mean to love ourselves?
Perhaps it is in the kindness that we allow ourselves.
Perhaps we can show ourselves love by being kind to our heart, by being kind to our sensitivities. We can be less harsh in our self-criticism. We can forgive our flaws, forgive our mistakes, and accept them, because that is what we would do with people whom we love.
In the pursuit of happiness, there are countless advice and daily “happy” quotes to inspire us to love ourselves, to prompt us to focus on what we love about ourselves, rather than focus on the negative.
Thus, in an effort to establish how to love myself, this poem is an exercise in learning to do just that.
How do I love me? Let me count the ways…
How do I love me? Let me count the ways…
I love me with compassion and empathy,
To allow myself to be flawed, to be free
Of lingering doubt
That I deserve, that I am worthy.
I love me for my heart,
For my art,
That I create,
That I relate,
To those in a state
Of despair and self-hate.
I love me enough to kind,
When I speak in my mind
I love me for my truth,
For my authenticity,
I wear for everyone to see.
I love me for the strength
I have gained, at the length
I have traveled,
To have finally come through the dark,
To make my mark
And let the world know I am here.
Written by Sandi Yee – September 30, 2014
A bit egotistical? A little.
Do I feel better? Teeheeheehee…Yes, I think I do. 😀
Poem concept and title credit to Miss Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806-1861
Living with chronic depression is a daily process.
It is a management of emotions each and every day, from morning til night.
It is the commitment to look up, even as you are drowning.
For many who have never experienced depression, it is difficult to understand that it is a disease, an illness that needs constant and consistent treatment. One can never fall off the wagon, because falling off the wagon could mean death.
I am talking about Chronic Clinical Depression, the kind of depression that never goes away, no matter how good life is, no matter how many people surround you with their love. The kind of depression that grabs hold of your entire being, your heart and your soul, and pulls you down so deep that you are submerged in an abyss of darkness where there is no air to breathe, no light to see, no love to feel. There is only pain and aching hopelessness.
I have lived with depression my entire life. At 42, I am finally strong enough and secure enough to share the struggle that has consumed me for as long as I can remember.
In my search for an understanding of my depression, healing, and trying to make sense of what was happening to me, I have looked to so many people, to so many sources, only to find more of the same negativity and despair I was struggling with.
Yes, there is information out there, clinical, unfeeling statistics of what depression is, how it can affect people, and how to get help and get better. And then there is the “woe is me”, bitter wailings of people who can’t move on from being fired, from getting dumped, from getting rejected, from life.
I did not want any of that.
I wanted to find hope. I needed to find hope.
I needed a path that I could walk, with someone whose story was similar to mine, that I could walk alongside and share my journey with.
I finally found someone who could be this for me, and more. It took me a long time to finally find a sense of belonging and camaraderie with someone going through the same daily struggles as me.
She is my Godsend, my someone to talk to, who is going through the same daily struggle, the same medications, with children, husband and family situation that was and is parallel to mine. Having her helped me to really know that I am not alone, that I am not crazy, or lazy, or inadequate for this life. Thank you, Heather.
It is with this in my mind that I write this blog. I want this to be a place of hope, of healing and sharing, of finding safety and a sense belonging in the comfort of knowing that I also walk this journey of living with depression with you, my reader. I encourage you to share your stories with me, to comment on my posts, and allow me to share your stories with others as well.
Together, we don’t have to feel alone.