When we are under stress or experiencing difficulties one of the first things to go is caring for ourselves. We especially struggle with giving ourselves permission to do things we enjoy. It becomes difficult to love ourselves when we feel like it’s not reflected in the world or relationships around us. As though our worth is dependent on our circumstances: “I can only be ok if everything/everyone around me is ok.” While there are greater underpinnings that cause this feeling, there are more immediate remedies that can bring relief, so that “I can be ok, when people/things around me are not.” It starts with the battle for our worth and in our thought life. I believe our identity is intended to rest on one truth: “I am loved.”
When I know that I am loved, I have value and worth. When this is interrupted or wounded, by experiences that say otherwise, we tend to doubt our worth/value. The further we are away from this place, the less likely we are to take care of ourselves, much less, do something we love. If I don’t matter, then why bother taking care of myself or experience something I enjoy.
But we are never to far away to begin to reclaim our worth. A simple, yet at times very challenging, action step is take just a few minutes to do something you love. Create a loving experience. Something that is effortless. Something you know you’ve always loved doing. Something you know you are passionate about. It may have been years or even decades or even something you’ve always wanted to do, but never did: Paint, sing, listen to music, play an instrument, go for a walk/hike/bike ride, pray, garden, shoot hoops, photography, act of random kindness, draw, sculpt, take a class, write a story or poem, jump in a lake for a swim or anything you know you’ve once loved doing or always wanted to do.
It can help interrupt, quiet and calm the distressful thoughts and feeling. It can help us to be in the present and keep us out of the past and future. We can experience the good gifts in us even when we feel there may not be any good around us or in us. Real-life experience of the good in ourselves can help feed our worth and value. It can help bring us closer to knowing that we are loved. So, today, go and do something you love, even it is just for a moment.