A few days ago I wrote a guest post for the lovely Karen over on her blog Yankee Doodle Paddy. Karen is someone I ‘met’ online via Snapchat and she honestly is one of the kindest, sweetest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Positivity and happiness literally radiates out of her and I have no idea how she manages it!
Anyway, after writing my guest post for her, which focussed on love as it’s subject and specifically the type of love we as humans receive from animals, it got me thinking about love as a whole and the different ways it manifests itself in life.
Apologies for dropping the C-bomb once again, but following and since my Cancer diagnosis, I’ve really come to see the love in my world magnified, both as positives and negatives.
On the negative side of things, I was surprised to find that some of the people I thought would be there for me sidled off into the darkness at side of stage, retreating from any form of support for me. At first this hurt as I felt let down, but now I see it as a positive – finding out who is in your corner is so important. Also, not everyone is mentally or emotionally equipped to deal with times of great stress, so it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t care, it could simply be that they felt unable to be a support, which is absolutely fine. I’m not going to hold it against anyone.
On the positive side, I was absolutely swept away with the amount of love shown to me by the people in my world. I received so many messages that I lost count, I had friends sending me surprise gifts in the post, and I had cards falling onto the doormat filled with well wishes. Closer to home, my family kept a check on me, my brother took the piss out of me (our way of showing affection) and Ben took 3-days off of work to be with me, making dinner every night, taking care of the animals, and meeting my incessant demands for cups of tea, despite the fact he thinks I drink too much of it. (No such thing as too much tea by the way).
As cliched as it sounds, I’ve been blown away by the sheer level of friendship, support and love I’ve been shown, some of which has been from sources I wouldn’t have expected. I count myself incredibly lucky to have a world filled with such good people.
However, whilst thinking about how lucky I am to have the love of family, friends, and my furballs, it dawned on me – all of this love and care flying about and yet I was neglecting somebody. I was letting somebody down on a daily basis. I was forgetting the one person who was there from day one and will be there until my dying breath; the only person who will always be there – me.
In a world so focussed on connecting, whether that be meaningful ‘real life’ connections, professional networking to enable you to climb your career ladder, or collecting numbers to increase our social reach online, it’s all too easy to overlook the person we should be taking care of the most. Ourselves.
I mentioned in my post “What Cancer Taught Me” that I have struggled with myself for the past year or so. Well, in honesty, I’ve never liked the way I’ve looked, but the past year has seen this increase to levels never reached before, however, since my diagnosis I’ve realised just what a hard time I’ve been giving myself.
As much as love and friendship may be promised until the end of days, none of us know what the future brings, or what obstacles will be placed in our paths, and so in reality, none of us can promise forever to another person. Things happen, people change, circumstances force our hands, but, through it all, we will always have ourselves. So shouldn’t we be loving ourselves a little more? Shouldn’t we be the love of our own lives?
Of course, no man is an island, we all need other people around, and I’m not suggesting we become narcissistic self-believers shunning the rest of humanity, but I do think that our lives would be so much more enriched if we loved ourselves, took care of ourselves, and encouraged ourselves to be the very best we can be. We do all this for other people we care about, so why not for us?
Going forward I’m going to spend so much more time and effort loving and caring for myself. It’s not going to come naturally and I know sometimes I will stumble, but I’m going to try my best. Healthy eating, exercise, skincare, vitamins and, most importantly, being kind; I’m going to be kind to myself. I’m going to forgive my body for it’s physical imperfections. I’m going to forgive my body for it’s faults. I’m going to become my own best friend and biggest cheerleader.
Self-love is perhaps the hardest thing for us all to learn, but I can’t help but think our lives would be so much richer if we mastered it.