5 Foolproof Spoonie Tips for Positive Self Image
by David Gay
I woke up the other morning to the annoying buzzing of my alarm. In the middle of my dream I imagine an annoying bumble bee on the night stand next to me. I swat at it, only to find my phone falling to the ground and a glass of water spilling all over it. A great start to my morning.
Frantically, I grab my phone and wipe it with my sheets. By using my sheets, my upper body is now exposed to the cold winter morning. Seconds later I am freezing. I pull the (now wet) sheets up and over me. It is time for my morning ritual: let’s check out Facebook.
Two clicks later I am off into the land of “perfect”, where everyone is posting about their “ohh so awesome” life. I laugh as I see a picture of a friend on the beach in Mexico. I laugh because I am stuck in bed on another cold New England day. I laugh because he looks like he is in great shape. I laugh because my self-image is slowly going down the drain.
I roll out of bed, and run to my dresser in order to put some warm clothes on. I think to myself, “Wow I know you care about saving money, but couldn’t you have kept the house a little warmer last night?!” I head down stairs and get ready for some morning news.
The headline “Couple Quits Their Corporate Jobs to Travel around the World”. I think to myself how great that would be? My thoughts turn to the endless worry about leaving a steady corporate job. How would I pay for my medication and doctor’s appointments? How would I pay for my bills? Maybe I will be stuck in the corporate machine for the rest of my life? My self-image continues to plummet.
It is not even 7:00 AM, and I am already regretting waking up. Part of me wishes I stayed in bed.
I am lucky. I really am. My morning was ruled by a negative self-image because I worried about my body and my career. I know from experience that many people with chronic illness have a harder time. They might lose self-image when they see someone walking normal instead of with their limp. Or they lose self-image when they see someone getting ready in the morning without getting fatigued. I am lucky that my chronic illness has not progressed that far. I am blessed.
As I started to put my broken image back together, one piece at a time, I start to think about life. Why do we let ourselves get down so often? Why do we torment ourselves with negative thoughts? Why do we have a perception of what “normal” looks like? Are we making up this perception?
Below you will find 5 tips that will help you break through your negative self-image. Start a practice of self-refection, and start waking up excited to start a new day instead of pulling the wet covers over your head.
1) What is self-worth?
We all fall in the trap. More money brings more happiness, or does it? This week, during an interview on one of my favorite podcasts, the guest on the show stated that the amount of money you have directly correlates to how much you have helped people in the world. I am going to be completely honest, this is a bunch of bull shit. (Excuse my language.)
Do you really think that the most influential people that the world has ever known were all rich? Do you think the happiest people the world has ever known were all rich? Think back to Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. They did not make an impact because they had money. They made an impact because they stood up for their beliefs. They made an impact because they had the charisma to connect with the world.
Self-worth is not about your money, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, or the body you have. Self-worth is far deeper than that. Self- worth and self-image start with the belief that you mean something in this world. No matter who you are, or where you are from, you have special talents. You have talents that cannot be matched by anyone. You are unique. That is your self-worth. The first way you can build your self-worth is to use those talents to help other people. By helping others, you will start to feel a sense of happiness about yourself. Never under estimate the power of giving.
2) Become a Self Help Ninja
As a child, I remember thinking that only crazy people went to the self-help section of the book store. The self help section was filled with people who did not know how to deal with life on their own, and therefore they had to find advice to make it through their struggles. People who “you probably don’t want to be around”. This is a stigma that we need to overcome.
I soon realized that people who are reading “self-help” are actually the people you want to hang around with. I was right; these people want advice about their life. Guess what? This is not a bad thing. Let’s think back to sports as a child. When you started playing for the first time, who was there to guide you? A coach perhaps? When I think about the game of life, I sure don’t want to go through it without a coach. Improving on yourself should be your number one objective. Becoming better in every aspect of your life is a no brainer, and one of the major ways you can build self-image. Next time you are shopping, look through the “self-help” section. You won’t be disappointed.
3) Find someone who cares about you.
You can’t do this alone. I think that is a pretty fare statement.
It doesn’t matter if you find someone online, in a support group, in a Facebook group, or at a bar. The point here is that you need someone to talk to. If you keep your feelings all bundled up, you won’t survive. Well, I lied. You may survive, but just like a tea kettle, when your emotions boil to the top you will burst. No one likes a noisy tea kettle.
4) Lose the Media
Did I want to wake up being upset about my body and thinking I have a dead end career? Hell no. All I had to do was avoid social media and I would have been all set. I am not saying that you need to get rid of social media all together. For all I know, you found this article on social media and for that I am grateful. What I am advocating is that you minimize the impact of social media on your life.
What does this mean? You should follow two simple but handy tips.
- Don’t look at your phone, or any social media, when you wake up. Yes, I know it will be hard, but it is the only way. Looking at social media when you wake up just starts your day off on the wrong foot. Not only are you wasting valuable time, you are setting yourself up for failure. Do yourself a favor and don’t look at media until at least 1 hour after you wake up.
- Stop watching local, national, and world news. No I am not joking, and no I am not against understanding what is going on in the world. Let me ask you one question: Why do you care? If the answer is that it helps you in your job, than keep watching the news. For most of us, the news has become a horrible part of our routine. A part that is designed to spread negative stories, create a false “normal” in our society, and bring us down. Now, I understand that not all news is negative. I am just advocating cutting it out because it brings more bad than good.
5) Be Authentic
Magazine covers are created to sell. You know what sells? Photo-shopped pictures of bodies. It’s true! There is so much out there that is designed to kill your self-image. It is your job to fight back, and enjoy being unique. When I was a kid I was convinced that Santa Claus is real because “believing is seeing”, not “seeing is believing”. Start to believe in yourself. Believe that you are authentic for a reason. You are on this earth for a purpose. No one on this earth is exactly the same. Embrace it.
Do you have issues with self image and your chronic illness? Comment below, I would love to hear you!
22 Oct 2017 - Tips for the Diagnosed