A black woman looking at a mirror. Reflecting back at her is a monster representation of her shadow self. The woman is placing a finger over the mouth of the shadow self's mouth silencing it.

Self-Love and Psoriasis

I have spoken to quite a few people living with psoriasis and their dating experiences. Dating is so much better when we know why we are great. When we have self-love.

Life is also great when we know why we are interesting. I made a conclusion that the secret sauce to successful encounters with other people when living with psoriasis is self-love. Not the magazine type, Valentine's day hyperbole where you carve out huge chunks of time, buy new things and shovel out cash to a local spa.

The essentials of self-care & psoriasis

I mean the type of self-love when you spend time to invest in yourself because you know you're worth it. The kind of time where whatever your doing, makes you more awesome at being you.

You need to know why you are awesome. This is very hard to do. Here is me describing me: "I am good at science and have some interesting facts about why you should eat fiber. I like to learn new things, and I used to love to travel, but now I have kids, blah blah mediocre blah."

I imagine you describing yourself will have similar cringe-worthy statements.

What would you tell your best friend about self-care?

We are terrible at describing ourselves. I went one step further and asked my friends. If this is way too far out of your comfort zone, put yourself in your friend's shoes. What would they say?

"You’re crazy smart, I can ask you anything, and you can always call someone out on their BS. You're also really good at cooking. I love coming to your house and arriving at dinner rime on a Friday. You should write a cookbook about how to cook healthy meals when you have loads of kids."

None of those descriptions I would have chosen. On reflection, I can see why she thinks that. I'm always cooking with kids everywhere, so I think nothing of it. I grew up in a family where it was normal to pull people up when they were talking trash. These are both attributes I should be more proud of.

Improve your self-care by knowing your interests

This may sound lame, but I dropped a lot of things when I started climbing the career ladder. Then more things when I had kids and then most of the rest when I became depressed. Imagine someone gave you multi-millions of money and time was no object. Pondering this helped me organize my thoughts and begin looking up.

Personally, I would book tickets and fly my family to Guatemala. We'd be booked at a nice hotel, acclimate to the culture and then wing it from there. I would hire local kids to have coffee with me every morning to learn Spanish while supporting local families. I would spend the hottest part of my day reading and the cooler parts exploring with my kids.

I would also donate money to the Psoriasis Association and National Psoriasis Foundation. I would want these funds to support Ph.D. students in psoriasis research. I want to choose the candidate and the research title. Plus, I would build a cafe on my current home and farm. I would have the moms in my town who need more flexible working hours run it.

What did you learn?

From this practice, I learned a few things about myself. I love to travel and want to learn a new language, I'm a wannabe philanthropist and I want to support local people so they can earn their own money and improve their lives using business.

What would you do if you were given endless money and time? Write it down. Then analyze on. You may not have achieved these things yet- but they show where your interests lie.

Now, are there any teeny tiny steps you could take now? Like taking a book out from the library or signing up for a class? I also acknowledge its easy to fantasize about the things we aren’t doing yet.

Analyze your own self-care habits

What are you doing already that makes you an interesting and lovable person? Did you try a new recipe? Exercise class? Have you organized a trip? My neighbor took her children to a local park and their day out looked epic.

Do you call friends to check in with them? I have a friend who thinks nothing about popping in every other week or so for a cup of tea but she doesn't realize that she helps people feel connected and loved. Do you make things? Crafts bring joy to people's lives, really! I struggle with creativity but when I see someone walk past with a homemade bag it always brings me happiness.

Some things you already do make you wonderful. When we say nice things about ourselves, we sometimes have a negative thought that follows it right up. Try saying positive statements and listen out for this voice, your shadow self. What is that voice saying to you?

Self care lessons learned

Often we have learned lessons in our younger years, that helped us to keep safe. Unfortunately, now they are holding us back. Identifying our negative self-beliefs is another excellent step forward in self-love.

We are beautiful, open, honest humans who deserve to love and be loved and be happy. Those negative thoughts are underserved and need addressing. Some people believe that merely repeating those positive statements over and over again will help eventually mask our shadow self, but I don’t think that.

I think that we need to take the more painful route of finding out where those voices came from and explaining to our brain the reasons why these thoughts are no longer helpful so we can move past them.

Healing towards self-care

Once you have identified where your shadow self gets its voice from, its much easier to silence it with the real truth. The brain isn’t out to get you, it's trying to keep you safe. These thoughts have come from an experience in your life.

You 'learned' a lesson which at that point in time, made you feel safe. Look back along your timeline and see if you can find when your mind decided that was a truth.

I may sound mental after sharing this insight into my healing mind, but if the only thing you do after reading this is to jot out some of the reasons you are fantastic, then you are one step closer to true love (with yourself).

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