The theme for Week 1 is self-love. I admit, I never had much of it for myself. I’ve only recently discovered the impact that various experiences have had on me; things that cultivated a series of self-doubt, low self-esteem and a pessimistic outlook. Instead of saying “I Can!” or even “I’ll try”, I had already convinced myself that it wasn’t possible.
Believing in myself, and knowing that I can try to be successful is showing self-love. I am learning that I am capable of doing so many things, and that I’m worthy of success. I can speak up for myself, and know, that I am always, more than enough.
To be honest, I’ve been on this journey far earlier than the challenge. Recovering from PPD/PPA and going through the related therapy forces you through that. I learned that many of my fears that arose post birth came from my own deep-rooted feelings about my self-worth. I learned that my own mistrust in my abilities had a hand in what was happening to me. The only way to get out of it was to trust myself, and believe that I was capable and most importantly, worthy.
The same things ideas came forth during the first week of the Kindness Challenge. I had been struggling with a few things in the past month: The perceived success and survival of this blog, and my identity at work.
So, the first was to tell myself that my blog is worth the effort and that someone out there will enjoy it. I made sure to put extra effort in the blog by posting in blogging groups, and slowly building a supportive Facebook page and Pinterest account. It is definitely difficult, but I find that I’m feeling more pride when people are touched or feel a connection to my writing.
I also became my own advocate at work. It was hard, because I struggle with the thought that people may think I’m being overly sensitive, or that I may be reacting because of the motherhood / work transition or Postpartum Depression or Anxiety. I also thought perhaps I really needed help at work; perhaps I no longer was the expert I was supposed to be.
In the end, I decided that feeling uncomfortable and standing up for myself was more important. I was not wrong and talking about my issue was not going to hurt anyone. It would only help me assert myself in something that I was already responsible for. I ended up standing up for myself, and was able to do it in a calm, respectful and professional way. I felt a huge burden lifted off my shoulders, and I was relieved and ready to focus on my job again.
Self-love is certainly a difficult skill to learn. Sometimes you wonder if there’s a fine line between loving yourself and being narcissistic. For myself, I was definitely in need of improvement in this area, and I’m glad that I’m already making some strides.