Say Yes To Yourself

Healing from illness requires a strong commitment to self-care. Everyone knows that when the plane’s going down, you have to put your own oxygen mask on first before trying to help others. You can’t do anything if you can’t breathe.

This is the type of commitment that is necessary when healing from any long-term illness, injury, or traumatic life event.

I didn’t know how to put myself first, especially at the onset of my illness.

My mother almost died from a staff infection after a surgery she had when I was 12. By the time I was 15, she began to loose her eyesight to a disease called chorioretinitis. I spent much of my teenage years helping and caring for her. While most teenagers were playing sports, joining drama clubs, and dreaming about their futures, I was spending hours in doctors office waiting rooms and helping my mom physically recover from multiple medical procedures and surgeries.

I followed these events up by becoming a young mother. My daughter was born when I was 20. I loved being a mom from the start, but doing so kept me in the role of caregiver. I learned very early on to put my needs aside for my loved ones. This became a habit that was extremely hard to break, and one that eventually broke me.

Somewhere in the middle of my own illness, a wise friend told me, “Saying no to others means saying yes to yourself.” As soon as I heard this statement, I knew I had to make it my mantra.

I had to learn how to put myself first if I wanted to be able to keep taking care of my family.

It was difficult at first, but the more I practiced saying yes to myself and what I really needed, the easier it became.

Learning how to take care of myself was the key to my recovery.

  • Where in your life do you need to say no to others? Why?
  • How will saying no in these areas help you create space for healing and self care?
  • How does it feel to clarify where in your life you can make space for yourself?
  • In what ways can you make self-care a habit?

It is not mean or selfish to say no to someone or something if it means you get to heal. You deserve to say yes to your health and well-being.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to have cared for my mom and my daughter. Doing so taught me many lessons about love, patience, and compassion. Knowing how to care for others was the key to learning how to care for myself. I began to treat myself the way I treated my mom when she was sick and my daughter when she was a child.

How would you treat your child, best friend, spouse, parent, or other loved one if they were in your position? Start there and work forward.

After all, being the healthiest version of yourself is the best gift you can give not only to yourself, but to all your loved ones.

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