Self-love is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to learn. I am still learning. It is also one of the most powerfully healing things I have ever experienced.
“I’m so stupid!” How many times have you said that, or something like it? If you say never, I want to meet you because you are extraordinary. I don’t know many people personally who haven’t said it or felt it at one time or another. I used to say it constantly. I sometimes hated my body for the way it seemed to constantly fail me.
I didn’t know at that time what I was doing to myself, but I do now. I now understand the full implications behind ancient king Solomon’s words: “death and life are in the power of the tongue;” (Proverbs 18:21) I had been killing myself slowly.
It was when I came right to edge of my ability to endure suffering that I began to teach myself a new way of thinking. I had nothing at all to lose and everything to gain.
At first, I did not believe that anything I said to myself could possibly make a dent in my suffering. Everything I had tried so far had failed: herbs, vitamins, supplements, drugs…hospitalization. It had all failed. My body had become so sensitized that I was reacting negatively to everything I put in my mouth or on my skin. So what could words possibly do?
Even so, I tried. I began to change the way I spoke to myself. My mind was like a very frightened child in desperate need of love and affection. It needed a mother, and that mother would have to be me. I cherished myself as I would one of my precious babies. I reassured myself every day that I was getting better and better, that I was safe and healing.
At first it felt false. I went on anyway. Eventually I began to believe myself. Instead of automatic negative thoughts, I was having automatic positive thoughts. When I felt sick or frightened, I was able to calm myself quickly. “It’s okay,” I would say, “because I’m getting better and better. I am safe now. I am healing.”
I began to feel better, not just in my mind, but truly. My energy began to return. Pain decreased. I started having some days when I felt almost normal. It was clear to me that my fearful, negative thoughts had helped to keep me sick.
I am still sick. But the difference now is that I know I can and will feel better. And I know that if there are some things that never go, it will be okay. I know how to live well with pain. And I know how to love and forgive my faithful and patient body.