Day Four in this love fest comes from my sweet friend Brooklyn. I love her so much. We never were companions or even in the same zone at the same time, but we had a total heart connection. I just treasured every time we got to see each other at regional conferences or transfer days, updating each other on the people we were teaching and loving. I love her tender heart, her hilarious sense of humor, and her resilient spirit. I love her courage in doing what is right for her. I LOVE what she has to say about loving yourself.
“Four years ago was the first time that I was told I was broken. I was diagnosed with an extremely severe form of anxiety and depression. And to be totally honest with you I felt every bit as broken as they made me sound.
This disease consumed my mind in such way that I became incapable of seeing myself in any sort of positive light. I hated myself and saw absolutely no value in the life that I lived. I had numerous people in my life who loved me and tried to convince me that I was worth something. I was even lucky enough to marry the most WONDERFUL, patient and loving man who has seen me through all of this awfulness. But you see, I was so convinced that I was such a burden to myself and the people around me that the best option for everyone, was for me to end my own life. And as awful and dark as this time in my life was, I cannot even begin to tell you how very thankful I am for it.
My life started to change when I decided, with the help of my sweet husband, to get on medication and begin to see a counselor. It was a STRUGGLE to open myself up to help. I had my mind set that this was just my lot in life and it was never going to change. But, over time, I began to start feeling better. I was eventually able to come off of my medication and start actually living my life. I felt good. I was in no way cured, but I felt okay.
Now the real thing that has sky rocketed my progression has been my decision to take care of myself and realization that I was actually worth being taken care of. Because even after taking medication and going to counseling I still did not love myself. I had built up such a strong foundation of hate for myself that I did not feel as if I had the control to change it. I was so incredibly frustrated by this. It was MY MIND why in the world could I not decide what happened inside it? So I decided to embrace the things I could control. I was empowered by the idea that even if my mental health was suffering, my physical body did not have to. I started exercising regularly and filling my body with healthy foods. I started to see the weight that I had put on from binge eating my depression away, slowing started to melt off my body. I started to feel myself have more energy and light. My body become physically stronger and much more capable of enduring hard work.
THIS. This lifestyle change gave me power. It gave me power because it taught me the importance of loving yourself enough to take care of yourself. I finally started to love and even cherish my body. I grew to have an incredible appreciation for it, and in consequence my thoughts began to reflect my new outlook. I can now tell you that I love myself.
Now I’m not here to tell you that eating healthy and exercising will cure all of life’s struggles. Because it won’t. I can’t even tell you that I am cured myself. But I can tell you that I have a testimony of what wellness can do for us not only physically but mentally, emotionally, and socially. When we decide to do everything that it takes to love ourselves, our lives will change drastically for the better.
You are worth it. You are worth loving and you deserve to take care of yourself. So go for it! Don’t you dare quit on yourself. Take that first leap, or even that first baby step, that will put you in the direction of self love. You deserve to love yourself enough to give yourself the very best care.”