By Linh PMP, dedicated to Ha Nim
Sitting in a crowded clinic, waiting for my thyroid scintigraphy, I kept staring at people around, both patients and their friends/families, feeling their tension in depth. Anyone in the room might become a cancer patient after the test, and probably say byebye to life soon, who knows! At such intense moment, I started thinking about my dear ones who would suffer all the stress if I really became a patient, and also about what I had been putting effort to build that no one would be able to finish. There had always been excuses for not loving myself and as a result hurting my dears, but all were bad excuses. Luckily, finding myself in the safe zone after the test, I got time learning to love myself.
Know that I am important and non-replaceable
Think about my family, my dears and any others that I have been helping out. If you feel hard to see yourself important in life, go making yourself important by volunteering in a group or offering someone you know a help. Anyway, UCLA research suggested that “even brief periods of supporting or helping others might help to mitigate the negative emotional effects of daily stress.” (Business Insider)
Understand my f*cking context
Take an example. There might be some background reasons that made me fail to love myself earlier: (1) It maybe because I had been growing up in expectations and taken-for-granted achievements that drove me in crazy stress and burden, (2) Maybe people whom I socialized with the most also did not know to love themselves, (3)Maybe I was born weaker than others so it would take me more effort to love myself in the most effective way.
But all those f*cking situations could be looked at from a better perspective: (1) I may look at “loving myself” as among the top priorities of cool challenges to achieve, (2) I may be able to help those people around me learn how to love themselves when I get it done for myself, or (3) Being weak is actually a signal for me to actively treat myself well as an early-established habit.
Look at this extremely thin carrot – would you buy this or a big fat one instead? Some may choose the big one, but they don’t know that the thin carrot is much better with flavor and carotene pigment concentrated in the outer region. Something in life may be much better for us than it looks.
Bring beauty to daily life
Learn how to make up, at least how to make stunning eyebrows and shining lips and do it everyday! Never forget to wash (and massage) the face, brush the teeth and apply moisture to the hands before going to sleep. Get the hair done in a not-so-difficult-to care style that matches my face. Revise the outfits and make sure I have at least two dresses, two formal clothes, two sports wears, 1 pair of shoes, 1 pair of high-heels, 1 pair of slippers and a set of basic accessories that look great on me. I can wear them over and over again, try to mix and match, then enjoy being beautiful (yay!).
Decorate my bedroom and my office table, no matter how small and messy it is (and used to be). I deserve seeing beautiful things around everyday. Some postcards, flowers, candles, collage paintings (and a lot of imagination, creativity) may help. It can be a project to do with the bestie too. A small tip: A beautiful box in my room that can contain all the tiny messy stuffs will be a space-saver.
Take great photos of myself and beautiful things around, to keep the memory. I do not have to publish them, but I may want to share with the ones I love (and love me). Tips to take good photos: http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/Home_Main/Tips_Projects_Exchange/Learn/Top_10_Tips_for_Great_Pictures.htm
Add the “healthy” tag to everything around
Cook and eat good food (¼ carb, ¼ protein, 1/2 fruits and veggies). When I cannot eat at home, I cook in advance and bring the food with me. I make a plan for the whole week and go to the market to buy food once per week to store. Also try one new healthy recipe every week. If you find it hard to cook everyday, you may want to co-work with a roommate or colleague so that each will cook for both every other day.
Never let a week go by without having any kinds of exercises, either yoga, dancing, running, hiking, martial arts or gym, etc. Make it a habit 03 times per week, 01 hour each. To make it fun, I also compose a personalized exercise for myself with my own set of music. Also do the regular comprehensive health check every year.
Follow health channels, search information on health and very importantly, talk to healthy minds. I have a close friend whom I really admire because of his serious investment in health – he does not miss a beat of taking regular exercises even during his hardest time. I always seek for people like him around.
Take control of my time & money
Creating a week plan and a day plan makes me more confident and focused. Within my time budget, I save at least one hour per week for family (calling home as I’m faraway), three hours for exercises, 3.5 hours for reading and around one hour for helping someone else.
As for money, I use Money Lover app to record all my income and expenses. At the end of the month, I can analyze my spending behavior and adjust for the next period. Also make sure one certain part of income goes to a saving account – no matter how small it is. I cannot feel healthy if having a non-healthy financial status.
Set my own rules
I don’t like alcohol. I did drink it sometimes. Though I did not do anything wrong after drinking, I still felt really bad about myself, because I did what I hated. So I set my own rule of “no alcohol”. I share that with people around me “I really respect you so I share my personal rule with you. Then I expect you to respect my choice too” (if they do not sympathize, then they don’t need to be around me any more!). No need to be ashamed of our own rule provided that it’s legal and ethical.
Ask for help
I learnt it the hard way that asking for help is a great meditation. That’s when I know what I need and who to lean on. That’s when I see the problem and figure the way to monitor it by team-working with my mentors, family or friends. That’s when my relationship can be improved into a next level thanks to honest sharing and sincere support. Just ask.
Pick a fun challenge
I love myself more when feeling my own growth. Any fun challenges that can be a push for my growth would then make me more proud of myself, such as experimenting recipes of 15 different countries, mastering an advanced asana or writing 40 help posts. And it would be even more fun if you take or share the challenge with a dear friend then revise it together at the end of the year. It’s great to have someone to grow together.
Good luck. Live sweet!