Happy Valentine’s Day! When you are disabled or have chronic pain it can be difficult to love yourself because how can you when you struggle with so much? You wake up and go to bed in bed so what is there to love? There are lots of things to love about yourself but if you are too focused on the pain it will be preventing you from seeing how much it has changed you as a person and made you grow. Pain changes a person sometimes for the better and sometimes when we let it consume us and take over our lives for the worse. I have never had pain of significance until a couple of years ago and when I started having chronic pain it was a huge shock for me and I started feeling depressed and losing confidence myself because I was losing some of the abilities that I once had. It’s important you have self-confidence and self-love when you live with pain but it’s a lot easier said than done and for many people, it’s something they really struggle with. I have not always had self-love and self-confidence in myself but gaining that confidence has been a huge game-changer for me and made me a much happier person because although I can’t change my pain I can change how I react to it. It won’t be easy but gaining confidence through your pain is possible and here how I did it.
Look past the pain- If you want to find love in yourself through chronic pain you need to look past the pain and stop dwelling on it. When you have chronic pain you will have good days when you feel like you can conquer the world and bad days when you can’t leave your couch. Bad days are hard but out of your control and if you focus too much on the pain you are experiencing and how much you hate it and yourself you will never learn to love yourself. Your pain is just something that you have to live with and it’s not a part of you and if you want to love yourself and break free of your depression learn to let go!
Remember being single does not equal unloved- When you are disabled or have chronic pain sometimes you want to be in a relationship so badly and have a family just like your friends but it’s not as easy. Some people are turned away from disability and will not date a disabled person because to them disability is not “normal”. There is nothing wrong with being disabled and we are just different people that lead different lives that some abled people see as not being normal but weird and stupid. It’s important to understand that even if you are struggling to get in a relationship it does not mean you are unlovable but some people just can’t see past your disability. Some disabled have difficult relationships with their families but you are still loved by someone. Whether that be your family or a close friend someone cares for you in more ways than you realize!
Stop trying to be like other disabled people- I have said be before that you should never try and compare yourself to other abled people and I still stand by that because it’s an unfair comparison but you also should also not compare yourself to other disabled people even if they have the exact same disability as you. We are all on our own journey and you can’t compare yours to someone else even if they have similar challenges because you don’t know what they have been through or are currently going through. Sometimes we can become envious of some disabled people because they have some really cool jobs like they are travel bloggers and get paid to travel around the world and blog about their experiences. How cool of a job would it be if you could blog and get paid to travel? Some might say sign me up but if you have chronic pain you might be hesitant because this type of job might trigger a pain flare and blogging from your home might be a better fit. Traveling the world would be cool but for most people, it’s not reality and occasional family vacations are the extent of our travels. Traveling the world might seem like it would be the best job one could ever ask for and you may be envious of people who have these jobs but it may not be what it’s cracked up to be and having a job like this might make you want to rip your hair out. Personally, I hate traveling and the thought of having a job that would require me to get on a plane and travel all the time stresses me out and I would hate it! Sometimes some disabled people have really cool jobs and do some pretty epic things because it’s their job but you should never want to be them. Their life isn’t any better than yours just because they are traveling it’s just different. It’s okay to look up to some disabled bloggers but you should never want to live their life because they wrote a couple of blog posts on some cool places they visited. Focus on improving yourself because your not someone else and never will be!
Wear something that makes you feel confident- How you present yourself, talk about yourself and what you wear plays a huge role in how you are going to feel about yourself. Talking about yourself more positively is important for how you view yourself and what you wear will help you feel more confident in your own skin so you can love who you are. If you are wearing something that you don’t like and makes your butt look big then get rid of it and find something else because being too self-conscious will make it nearly impossible to love yourself.
Make fitness fun- There are a lot of benefits to exercise but if you have a disability or chronic pain it can be difficult to get motivated because you always fear it could trigger a pain flare. That is no excuse to avoid it because physical activity can help improve your strength and endurance but you won’t reap the benefits if you avoid it. The solution isn’t to avoid it because it’s hard but to make it fun! Often times, when people tell how we should exercise it’s because it burns tons of calories and it doesn’t necessarily mean we will like or want to continue. I enjoy Pilates as a form of exercise and could I do something else that burns more calories? Yes absolutely but I wouldn’t enjoy that activity near as much as what do now and literally would have to drag my feet to do a workout. If you aren’t having fun and can’t be consistent you might as well throw in the towel or find something else because unless you are consistent you won’t see the results you are looking for.
Gaining confidence in yourself is more difficult when you are disabled or have chronic pain but when you look past the pain and get rid of those negative thoughts it can make all the difference. You can be happy and be single but you can’t be happy if are letting pain control your life and ruing your relationships because you’re too negative. The only people that get pain are the people who live with every day so if you are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t have pain and is constantly complaining about it then that relationship will likely not last long because that person will not understand what you are going through and will just want you to stop complaining about it. You can do your best to try and educate your partner but you can’t make someone who doesn’t have pain understand. Don’t let the pain control you because you are not your pain and it is just something that you have to live with it every day. I hope everyone has a fantastic Valentines’ day and if you are single and in pain try not to think about it too much and enjoy the time you have with your families. How have you learned to love yourself?