So with Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I figured I might as well try and reconnect to the love in my life. So here I go...
Getting in Touch With the Love in My Life
You know, rediscovering the love in my life was at first surprisingly difficult to do. I mean, it's easy to say "I have love in my life," but when chronic illness locks you away like a fairy tale princess in some old, dark, dingy and forgotten castle, it's hard to remember who loves you, let alone what love is. It's just too bad a kiss can't break the spell of chronic illness!
No wonder I can't feel the love. Chronic illness is the ultimate love buster.
Yes, I'm guilty of letting my chronic illnesses run the show lately, hence my current predicament. Now that I have identified the problem, I definitely need to do some damage control and tap into the healing power of love.
Step One: Act "As If"
Since I was having a hard time feeling the love, I decided it was time to "fake it 'til I feel it." So I made a positive twist on that old blackboard punishment, you know the one where you write a single phrase over and over again until it is permanently stuck in your brain. Only I made it fun and poignant by writing I am so loved on a beautiful piece of digital art I happened to find over at the Microsoft Office website. Here it is again below:
Then I really made the message stick by declaring it publicly. I took that piece of word art I created and made it my Facebook cover image.
Step Two: Fall Back in Love with Myself
I know when I let chronic illness take over, it has a sneaky way of interfering with my self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Solely focusing on my chronic illnesses can really make me feel bad about myself, which makes it hard from me to feel or acknowledge anything good. It is a dangerous vortex that can suck me down and drag me under in mere seconds if I am not careful.
So what can make a girl feel good about herself again?
I'm sure there are many answers to that question, but my answer was in a new tube of Mary Kay lipstick in the shade Really Red. It gave me the opportunity to have some grown-up dress up fun trying out a new look. I took some picture too, which, much to my surprise, turned out quite well! Take a look:
Step Three: Write a Love List
The first two exercises were a good start, but I found I wanted more tangible proof of the love I received from others. Now of course my first thoughts were of my pets and my husband, because they are the people that interact with me on a daily basis. But they aren't the only ones who love me, so I waded through the fibro-fog and searched my brain for people I didn't interact with on a regular basis. This was a little more challenging, but I put my thinking cap on and started by acknowledging these five people:
- my friend Dina who makes room in her busy schedule to spend some precious time with me
- my friend Beth who keeps in touch with me, even though I haven't been so good about keeping in touch with her
- my friend Cyndie who recently told me that knowing me has made a big difference in her life
- my friend Colleen who keeps telling me I am her hero for enduring so many trials and tribulations with aplomb
- my mother-in-law Kay who has heart-to-heart conversations with me and taught me how to can tomatoes last summer
Now here is the weird thing: ever since I started this list a few days ago, I find myself adding to it. It's like a snowball effect. I started with just five people, but once I got rolling, I started remembering more and more people who love me, past and present. The more people and love I reconnected to, the easier it was to truly feel that I am so loved.
Take the "I Am So Loved" Challenge
Now that I have given you some ideas about how to reconnect with love, I am going to challenge you to rediscover that you are loved too. Don't let chronic illness make you feel nothing by grumpy. Try my steps or create some new ones of your own!
I want to hear all about the love in your life and how you work to feel it, experience it and appreciate it despite your life with chronic illness.