Woman looking in mirror and her skin has plaques on it

Learning to Love Yourself

We seem to live in a world where societal norms are things like flawless beauty, perfect bodies and blemish free skin. I often find myself looking at these images being promoted as normal and wonder about a lot of things. I mostly wonder why it is that we so easily buy this norm that they sell when we know the last thing it is, is normal. The images are edited, the models have layers of professional makeup. It is hard enough to try and keep up with all this for the everyday person, but when you have something that affects the way you look, like psoriasis, which at very short notice can send your skin into a total flare and leave your pink dress clashing ever so gracefully with your bright red lesions. This task becomes that much more daunting.

Be kind to yourself

Be kind to yourself is a phrase you will often hear, along with love yourself. They float around and cross our ears and hearts. Yet, somehow people omit to tell you what a very difficult task this will be. People who know me well will tell you that I am inherently hard on myself. I am ready to give of myself to others all the time, to encourage, love and be kind without a thought. When it comes to myself, not so much. Why is it if I believe this with all my heart then, that it so hard to do? I am on this journey of learning to really love myself, with my jiggly thighs, my cranky joints and my really unpredictable skin. It has not been easy, I will tell you that, it is a journey that never ends. One that needs you to put effort into every single day. It will challenge your darkest fears and leave you in new strange emotional spaces. Every single day it will be worth it.

When I speak to people about learning to love yourself and being kind to yourself, the most common response from them is, I do not know where to start. Here is my set of how to get started on being kinder and learning to love yourself despite the challenges faced.

Have a daily mantra

First and foremost, speak and think nice things about yourself. Do not berate yourself, what you are wearing, how you handled a situation or what dress you chose to wear. If you tell yourself every day that you look terrible or are not good enough, your subconscious will start repeating this back to you. Start your day with, I am kind, I am pretty, I am strong, and I am compassionate. Write it down, stick that paper where you brush your teeth, and repeat it, out loud every single day. Even when you do not feel it, say it out loud.

Pause each day and be thankful

Every day take 5 minutes, to be quiet and to just be grateful for your body. I start with wiggling my toes, and smile thinking: Good these still work. I move every part of my body and say thank you, to each part, for keeping me going another day and for helping me with this disease. I focus on my senses, I can hear, see, touch, smell and feel. These are such simple things that we take for granted too often.

Treat yourself

Do something nice for yourself every single day. Why, you may ask. Because you deserve it, that’s why. It can be anything from painting your nails, having a nice cup of tea, make time to have a good soak in the bath, reading your book, watching a feel-good movie or just sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful trees.

Daily skin care is key

Take care of your skin, soak in warm (not hot) baths with salts to try and lift the dead skin, moisturize well and sleep. These are fundamental for me, sleep being the most important.

Surround yourself with support

Surround yourself with good people. People who will remind you, when you forget to love yourself and to be the light to guide your way when you feel lost, hold your hand and love you.

Radiate beauty from the inside

Remind yourself every day that you are beautiful, because I know you are. We are all beautiful in our own way, we all look different and feel different and from the depths of our souls we are beautiful. We need to slowly readjust what we perceive as beautiful. Stop following things that make you feel less beautiful than what you are. Radiate your beauty from within, it will show, there is a famous saying, one that is my favorite:

If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” ― Roald Dahl

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