Lately I’ve been grappling quite a bit with the idea that I might not be especially fond of myself, and that some of the behaviors that I have trouble with (like avoiding food preparation and selection, choosing not to go running, etc) may be ways in which I’m sort of sabotaging myself, and reminding myself that I’m not worth the effort.
I know that deep down, I do like myself. I think I’m funny, fun to be around, kind, generous, and a good person. If I didn’t like myself, I wouldn’t work as hard as I do to treat myself well. And even though I might be better about it some days than I am others, I have put a lot of effort into making big strides in my recovery, being active in the way I deal with my depression and anxiety, running consistently, doing yoga, making and keeping friends, and maintaining a healthy, loving relationship with Nat. These things are not easy, and when I work on them, I’m really making an investment in myself and expressing in a concrete way the fact that that investment is worthwhile.
So maybe the problem is not so much that I don’t like myself, but that I’m not always as care-taking of myself as I could be. This week has been especially hard when it comes to the way I treat myself, and it’s left me feeling really run-down. I’ve spent a lot of time tearing myself down, and very little time working to build myself back up again. I’ve slacked in my running, been bad about getting enough sleep, and let some of my other healthy habits slide. Even when you know that deep down, you’re a good person, weeks like this can make it really hard to feel connected to that idea.
That’s why I decided maybe it’s time to change the way I’m approaching care-taking behaviors. Instead of going through periods where I’m good at maintaining them and periods where I let them fall apart and end up feeling really bad until I manage to pull myself out of the pit I’ve fallen into, I want to consciously work on taking care of myself every day. To help me along this path, I’m going to turn it into a challenge: the Embrace:Me 30-day Challenge. After all, the whole point of Embrace:Me is to love yourself, right?
When I told Nat about this idea, he said he’d do it too. If you want to join in, you’re more than welcome to! The more the merrier! The premise of the Challenge is simple: do one thing every day that is good for you. This can be choosing to step outside your comfort zone to do something that will ultimately be positive, eating a balanced meal, going for a run, doing yoga, going to sleep half an hour earlier than usual…I’m just thinking of examples of things that I know would work in my case. Hopefully, this helps to develop a habit of semi-automatic care-taking; if it becomes something that is second-nature and doesn’t really require any thought, then all the better. If you do end up choosing to participate in the challenge, let me know so that we can support each other.