When you have mental health issues, therapists will tell you that you need to learn to practice self-care and to love yourself.
True happiness can only come from inside, from accepting yourself. But when you have mental health issues, finding happiness within yourself can feel like an insurmountable task. You feel like your own mind is your enemy.
A lot of times, mental health issues can make you feel bad about yourself. It feels like you are a failure, and you can't do anything right. You feel like you want to change all the things inside yourself that aren't good enough. You want to please others and to make them like you. You take everything to heart when other people judge you based on your mental health issues.
These challenges can make you feel like you always have to change. You feel like you are always the problem. You feel like nothing is ever going to go right for you, because you have some kind of fundamental inner flaw that keeps you from moving forward.
Lately, I have been wallowing in feelings of depression and sadness, and feeling like I let the people in my life down because I don't know how to 'just be happy' and to accept the life that I have.
Your worth isn't based on what you do
Your worth is based on who you are as a person. You are worthy of love, worthy of happiness, worthy of peace inside. Just because of who you are.
Everyone has worth and beauty. Everyone is deserving of love. That includes you, no matter how bad you feel about yourself. You don't need to feel bad about yourself.
You don't have to base your worth on what you accomplish each day. You don't have to always be doing something. You don't have to always be working so hard.
Learning to value yourself because of your inner qualities can be difficult when you are struggling with your mental health. It can feel like there is nothing good about yourself or your life, but that isn't actually true.
To start feeling better and loving yourself more, you can have a long journal session and start writing down all the things that are good about you. Write down everything that you like about yourself. Then, you can look at this list every time you are feeling down and sad.
Let go of self-blame
Don't blame and shame yourself for not being good enough. Those of us with mental health issues may feel like we have done something wrong. We may feel like we aren't good enough. Letting go of these feelings of self-blame and not being good enough can help us to feel better about ourselves and our lives.
We can learn how to forgive ourselves for what we have done wrong. Forgiving and letting go can help us to move on and continue forward with our healing journey.
According to Healthline, here are some tips to forgive yourself:
Focus on your emotions
Acknowledge your mistake out loud
Think of each mistake as a learning experience
Give yourself permission to put this process on hold
Have a conversation with your inner critic
Notice when you are being self-critical
Quiet the negative messages of your inner critic
Get clear about what you want
Take your own advice
Quit playing the tape
Show kindness and compassion
Seek professional help
These are all ways that you can work on yourself, and work through your mistakes. When you work with your inner critic, then you can learn to counteract all the negative messages that you are telling yourself.
Question your negative thoughts. Ask yourself if they are really true, and try to find evidence to the contrary. For example, if you feel like you are a bad mother, then question that. Write a list of all the things that make you a good mother. Then, you can take this list out every time you are feeling bad about yourself.
The more you learn to question your negative thoughts, the less control they will have over your mindset.
Feed your mind with positivity
When you have a lot of negative feelings and negative thoughts, it helps to feed your soul with positivity. There are many ways to make your life more positive.
Some things you can do to make yourself feel more positive are:
Watch inspiring videos
Listen to inspiring podcasts
Read self-help books
Journal about positive things
Practice meditation or yoga
Go to a counselor or life coach
All these things can help you feel more positive, even with mental health issues. It just takes being able to shift your focus. You may need to spend time doing this every day for quite a bit of time, and that is ok.
My therapist told me to take care of myself the way that I take care of my kids. This means being kind, gentle and compassionate with yourself. Give yourself grace and forgiveness. Allow yourself to experience the goodness of your life.
Learning how to shift your focus from the negative to the positive can help you find a way to feel happy in life in spite of your mental health issues.
It can take daily practice to find your way to a more positive mindset. Don't give up if it doesn't all go well the first time. You may need to practice over and over again. But don't give up. You can learn to love yourself more with time and patience.
Just be gentle with yourself, take things slow, and give yourself some grace while you are healing. Eventually, you will start to feel more positive and to give yourself the love that you deserve.