February: The Month of (Self) Love

In our society, we're bombarded with the concept of love a lot. We see articles on social media of which celebrity loves whom, see posts from Facebook friends about their significant others and their relationships, and are taught from a young age that finding love should be one of our goals in life.

Seeing an outward pouring of love from your friends, family and people that you admire about their loved ones is wonderful. The world could always use a little more love. However, I think that there may be one thing missing. We all talk about loving one another or finding someone to love us.

Self-love and the impact on relationships

What about loving ourselves first? There is a quote that states: "Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship
you have."

I believe this wholeheartedly and think that, while the world needs a little more love, our society could also use a big dose of self-love too. A lot of us seem to be fully focused on loving others, which is amazing, but we forget to love ourselves.

So, why bother?

Self-love is a fairly new concept, and I first found it a couple of years ago. I was diving into the holistic health and wellness world (because of my Crohn's disease diagnosis) and began reading a lot about the importance of self love.

What is self-love?

Self-love is loving ourselves as we are in this moment...despite our supposed flaws, doubts, shortcomings or illnesses.

Learning to fully love myself (with my disease) has been one of the hardest things that I've had to do in my short 25 years of life. It's not that I didn't love myself before; I just wasn't aware of how what I was eating, thinking, saying and surrounding myself with was affecting my view of myself and my life.

How does Crohn's impact self-love?

Being diagnosed with Crohn's disease made me realize how low my level of self-love really was. At first, I was angry at my body for betraying me and at myself for somehow "making this happen". For the first two and a half years as a Crohnie, I was a walking, talking ball of anger. I was mad at the world and didn't like who I was becoming, but had no idea how to change it.

Whether I liked it or not, Crohn's disease was now a part of my life. And I needed to figure out how to find myself again. I made it a personal mission of mine to find as many resources as I could to help me on my journey.

One of the best self-love resources that I've come across is a book called "The Loving Diet" by Jessica Flanagan. She talks about reframing our relationship to our disease and how seeing our diagnosis and our new life with a loving perspective can help us feel healed.

Accepting my new life with Crohn's disease

Reading that book changed my life. It was the turning point that I needed to figure out how to fully love myself and my new lifestyle with Crohn's disease.

Truly loving myself and my life has also been life-changing. I now live my life with less anger and more love and feel as if this is something that all chronic illness patients can benefit from. We could all give more love to ourselves. When we fully love ourselves, that is when we can truly and fully love others around us and live life to its fullest.

During the 'month of "love", please don't forget to love yourself.

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