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It’s Okay To Love Yourself

I spent years hating myself. I hated myself for being sick. I hated myself for being different. I hated myself for being diagnosed with a chronic (highly stigmatized) condition. And at such a young age. As you transition into adulthood, you’re still learning who you are. Being diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease as a teenager made it almost impossible for me to learn anything other than medications and new or worsening symptoms. I never gave myself permission to be anything other than perfect. So when I fell short of this, which was 99.9% of the time, the only thing I could feel was hate and disappointment. I didn’t ask to be different, and yet I was.

Blending in

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t try to stand out. I aim to blend in. When I was forced to live with a condition that constantly forced me to be the center of attention (and not in a positive way), I got depressed. Over years I chose to isolate myself more and more. I didn’t love myself so of course I knew no one else could either.

But I was wrong. I was looking at life according to my “plans.” If I wasn’t something that I felt like I needed to be, I would punish myself. I would mentally abuse myself with negative self-talk and false expectations. I don’t do that anymore.

Life doesn’t go according to plan

Since my diagnosis almost 10 years ago, I’ve learned that life doesn’t go according to anyone’s “plan.” It just happens. You can’t place judgment on yourself or others for simply not being what you expected. You have to accept people for who and what they are. This includes yourself. With self-acceptance comes self-love. It takes time. It took me years to truly love myself for who I am. It took years for me to finally accept that I have IBD and that’s okay. It took years for me to feel comfortable with opening up about my condition. It took years for me to simply ask for help. And that’s okay too. Life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. The journey is what molds you as a person. The journey is what grows you as a person.

Love yourself

When I started to love myself my entire perspective on life changed. I was no longer disappointed by my downfalls. I applied them to my life as lessons and moved on. I didn’t dwell on things, issues or people of the past. I moved on. I began to spend more time on things that I loved instead of wasting time wishing my days away. It is possible to love yourself with IBD. Although it may not seem like it some days, you’re more than any diagnosis. Try dedicating more of your time to the things and people you love. Don’t let IBD be so hard on yourself. Allow yourself to be imperfect. It’s okay to fall, it’s not okay to stay down. Don’t let your diagnosis convince you that you’re not someone worth loving.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.