Admit it. Sometimes you feel like you shouldn’t love yourself. After all, you suffer from an illness no one can see but you. Why should you love yourself anyway?
You should love yourself because simply put, you’re human. You deserve love. It’s the one thing we all need and cannot live without.
The question is how much should you love yourself? Should it be to the extent that you neglect others?
Moderation in all things is pertinent. Don’t do something and end up damaging something else. That just defeats the whole purpose.
You loving yourself should have a good effect on both yourself and those you come into contact with.
Think about it like this. Don’t you feel refreshed after a good holiday? Doesn’t it make you feel ready and hyped to take on whatever comes your way?
That’s how it should be with loving yourself. It’s like you’ve taken a well-deserved break to really pamper yourself and get you back to that state of wellness. Or at least that’s what it looks like in my head.
Whatever the case, loving yourself is the next best thing you can do for yourself before loving someone else.
Here’s how to love yourself even though you’re depressed.
1. Remember that’s it’s normal to feel this way
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re the only one in the world who feels a certain way. Now imagine feeling like you’re the only person who feels they don’t deserve love. Horrible. But, trust me, a lot of people, including myself, feel that way. It’s life. Human nature, even you might say. We all get those down days. More so when we suffer from depression. Don’t beat yourself. You’re feeling a normal human emotion. Acknowledge it for what it is.
2. Think about what makes you happy
It could be something silly like a pair of Mickey Mouse pants you still have from eighth grade or something deep like the way your best friend always knows just what to say to cheer you up. Anything and everything that makes you happy is something. It counts.
3. Make a list of things you will do when you’re feeling down
It doesn’t matter how insignificant it might be. Maybe you enjoy gardening or cleaning up your room. It might even be spring cleaning which many find very therapeutic.
4. Realize that somebody loves you
It doesn’t even have to be a human. Your cat, goldfish, dog or parrot loves you. Your mother, father, sister, bestie, school teacher, pizza delivery man … someone loves you. Even at your worst. You might not even know who they are. How’s that for making you realize how worthy you are?
5. Reach out to someone
Sometimes when we feel unloved, we just need someone to tell us otherwise. It’s generally reassuring to know that someone cares for us, knows we’re there and will always be there. When said person tells you how awesome you are, just listen. Don’t stop them. Really listen and believe that what they are saying is true. Because it is. Also, they must really love you to be telling you stuff you already know about yourself, so hey. Take it and enjoy it for all its worth.
6. Celebrate every success
If you managed to wash your hair, eat candy. Finished that article after three months? Drink that glass of champagne. Phoned up that bookstore looking for that book? Go for a walk. Any and all successes are something. They mean something: you have achieved something, and you did it even though you were depressed! Pat yourself on the back and smile. You can do it. Like I always knew you could.
7. If you’re doing something, you’re winning
By this I mean that if you’re making effort to do something, you’re already showing you love yourself. You might be reading this article in bed barely moving. This shows your mind wants to beat this wrong notion of ‘don’t love yourself.’ I’m proud of you and you should be too. You might have washed a cup from last night. Well done! Perhaps you sent a text message to someone wishing them well or just a simple ‘hi.’ You rock! Every little action, being active, is key to showing you love yourself. Even thinking of how to do better is a form of love. Keep at it. The physical willpower will follow after the mental one.
8. Love our Inner Child
I have a whole section on loving your inner child. It might mean being playful like a child or simply being kind to yourself. Being kind to yourself means not putting too much pressure on yourself. Yes, you’re an adult with adult responsibilities. But if your mind and body says you can’t do 1, 2, 3, 4 today, then you can’t. Sometimes, overexerting ourselves is what gets us into trouble. Doing something when we’re not ready, able or willing to gets us into even more trouble. We need to learn to say “NO.” And mean it. You’ll thank yourself for it later.
9. You’re not perfect and that’s OK
Perfection will be the death of many of us. I know this trait threatened to be the end of me. However, we must remember that we are NOT perfect. And that’s OK. It’s our imperfection that makes life worth living. We make mistakes so we can learn from them. Some are funny, some not so much. Whatever the case, it is worth the experience (some of the time) and we can do better. After all, isn’t dealing with mental illness all about coming out stronger?
10. DON’T give up
This is the number one way you can love yourself even when you’re depressed. Don’t write off your existence simply because today you’re not able to do what you did yesterday. Each day has its own challenges. Be grateful and happy that you are alive today in this moment. You may be stuck in bed, but you can still dream in bed. You can still plan what you’d like to accomplish tomorrow or a week, month or year’s time. The world is your oyster. You can try again tomorrow if today fails.
Doing any or all of the above doesn’t automatically mean you won’t stop feeling bad. But it will help you as you go through the seemingly never-ending blues. Depression is a mental thing that tries to make you think you aren’t worthy of love. Don’t let it win. You are worthy of love; both from yourself and others. Otherwise, why are you still alive reading this right now?
What tips help you to love yourself when you’re depressed? Comment below!