Self-Love Starts With Self-Worth
One year ago, I was sleeping on a twin bed next to my spouse in our room at a non-profit housing facility, called Kathy’s House. Yes, it’s my name too, except for my name starts with a C and Kathy’s House starts with a K. This facility was our home away from home for Denis’ Stem Cell Transplant.
We spent the entire month of February there. Each morning I would wake up and walk down the hall to the kitchen where I would make my spinach shake, coffee and then get ready for the day. There was a big screen TV that scrolled through announcements, event and quotes of inspiration. I would always stop to look up and wait for the information to scroll through.
Being February the theme was all about self-love and self-care.
The quote that stuck with me that February morning was….
"It's not selfish to loveyourself, take care ofyourself, and to makeyour happiness apriority. It's necessary."- Mandy Hale
I loved the quote.. I held my phone up and took a picture so I could process the words and reflect on them since I had to figure out my self-love during this difficult time.
It’s easy to say take care of yourself and you may even start doing things each day… but is your self-care making you happy or giving you that moment of joy in this tough season?
So that’s why we’re going to break down this whole thing called self-care, putting yourself first and filling your cup. This is the first part of a series on self-care In this episode we’re talking specifically about self-work because self-care is more than just the act of care it’s about self-love, self-compassion, self-doubt and your personal values. Self-care is personal, it’s your thoughts and feelings (your self-worth), it’s being kind to yourself (your self-compassion), it’s growth and taking action (your self-love) and it’s your beliefs and purpose, who you are (your values)Once you understand all the parts of self-care, you will be able to see your path. So let’s buckle in for an amazing episode series. This week we’re talking about self-worth which is an integral part of self-care.
I looked on the door handle that next morning and there was a homemade pink, yarn heart hanging on the door. It looked like someone put their heart into this little door hanger. As I walked down the hallway, there were red and pink hearts hung on each door. I remember the quote that I took a photo of yesterday and thought, this is a sign that I need to really start focusing on what my self-care should look like.
I began to snicker and giggle as I drank more coffee. I just wanted it to be a day at the spa where I would dish up hundreds of dollars. I would be pampered with a massage, facial, manicure and pedicure. Then reality struck as my hubby texted me asking me if I started the car. His appointment was in 20 minutes.
Caregiving is far from a day at the spa, right? Some Days you barely have time shower and eat breakfast. But when you don’t take care of yourself, eventually it will catch up with you.
That’s why …. One of the most important—but often forgotten—tasks for you as a caregiver is caring for yourself. Your physical, emotional, and mental health is vital to the well-being of your loved one. To be a good caregiver, you must be good to yourself.
“It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It's absolutely necessary.” “How you care for yourself gives your brain messages that shape your self-worth so you must care for yourself in every way, every day.”
Self-care is essentially the actions and approaches that embody being kind and considerate to yourself.
But it embodies much more than that. Let me share the 4 selfs to self-care
The first “self” is Self-Worth
Self-worth is simply defined as the level of importance you place on yourself. It is an emotional outlook that determines how and what you feel about yourself in comparison to other people.
Self-worth is a fundamental part of your being, and it controls the way you see yourself.. Everything you think about, all the emotions you feel, & even the way you act is a product of what value you place on yourself.
Self-worth is the internal sense of being good enough and worthy of love and belonging from others. Self-worth is often confused with self-esteem, which relies on external factors such as successes and achievements to define worth and can often be inconsistent leading to someone struggling with feeling worthy.
Whereas it’s important to have a solid understanding of your strengths and areas for growth, you also need to feel good enough even when you make mistakes or things do not workout in your life as you had hoped.
How would you describe your self-worth right now?
Let’s talk about the flip side — low self-worth.
Low self-worth is having a generally negative overall opinion of oneself, judging, or evaluating oneself critically, and placing a general negative value on oneself as a person. People with low self-worth often criticize themselves and abilities, brush off compliments or positive qualities, focus on mistakes, what they didn't do, or what other people seem to do or have. You may: avoid challenges and achieve less. Become upset or distressed by any criticism or disapproval. Bend over backwards to please others or extremely shy or self-conscious. Avoid or withdraw from intimacy, vulnerability, or social contact
Less likely to stand up for yourself from being abused or neglected
Imagine me sitting across the table from you and asking you how you feel about yourself right now. Really?
- When I got to this point… I started to cry. I didn’t feel myself, I gained weight, I look tired and I didn’t feel alive anymore.
- When I went to the grocery store and saw a friend or relative, they asked me how mom was or how Denis was. Hello, what about me?
- Right now everything may be focused on your love one and your feel isolated.
What words would you use to describe yourself?
What value did you place on yourself or aspects of yourself?
Are your descriptions generally positive, balanced, or negative?
Where do your thoughts around your worth come from?
If you’re feeling down or negative about yourself and your self-worth is not there, Let me tell you that you can shift your self-worth because self-worth is not your age, It’s not your appearance, finances, health status, your career or caregiver role.
Self-worth is feeling good about what you are doing, what you are not doing, what you're thinking, how you are taking care of yourself, and more Self-worth is being proud of yourself. It comes from within. No one thing, person, status or event can make you self-worthy.
There are many ways to increase self-worth. Self-compassion is a wonderful place to start.
So, how do we improve it? It starts by changing how we think.
Strength in self-worth comes from finding qualities you excel at. These qualities will be a constant reminder whenever you start feeling like you are not worthy enough.
Little things like a list of your talents, things you like about yourself that make you stand out, challenges you’ve won at, how you’ve helped other people, and other great reflections are questions you should have answers to. Your strength lies in those questions.
When I started dissected my self-worth, I journal these words.
You can increase your self-worth by awareness.
- Never compare yourself to others
- Do things your enjoy - even in hard times
- Forgive yourself when you fail, struggle
- Take risks so you can be a better version of yourself - join a community, dance class or hire help
- Accept yourself for who you are
- Surround yourself with healthy, positive people
So look in that mirror today and tell her you are proud of her. Give her encouragement. It’s hard to be that caregiver but you are amazing.
When you get down on yourself or have that negativity pop in about yourself- catch yourself and start improving.
Here are 6 thoughts and beliefs to improve your self worth
1. No matter what I’ve done or haven’t done, I’m worthy of love.
2. My “things”, My “situation” doesn’t define me.
3. I am allowed to feel whatever I’m feeling.
4. My healthy boundaries are important to me
5. It’s not about what happens; it’s about how I respond to what happens.
6. Every day, I find things to be grateful for.
There are many ways to increase your self worth.
Self-compassion is a wonderful place to start. We will dive into that more in our next episode but in a nutshell being kind to yourself. Treat yourself like your best friend and love on you.
So, I want to give you homework…. Take some time today or in the next couple days and identify
- What do you love about yourself? Your smile, your crows feet, that link in the middle of your forehead from raising 3 boys.
- Your special talents to ask questions at the doctor or how you can organize and simplify your loved one’s care
- Is it your compassion and kindness
Then pay attention to how you treat yourself. If you push yourself too much, challenge you to what can be a better way. You deserve better and only you can to that.
If you make a mistake, how hard are you on yourself. Why? Do you have to beat yourself up. What would you say to your friend if they did the same mistake?
Then…. What love can you give yourself?
The first step in self-care for you, the caregiver is to develop a strong sense of self-worth. You have to believe that your own needs are important and worth your attention too. You will then ideally come to the understanding that putting yourself first isn’t selfish – it’s actually a way to protect your own ability to be a resource for others.
So I’m sending you a big hug and lots of self-love vibes. Self-care and Self-love are the most important skills and practices as a caregiver.
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