Because this is Valentine’s Day, I thought this was the perfect day to give you all a little incentive to put you first- above anyone else- I’m not talking about being selfish- What I’m saying is, in order to have the energy, the inspiration, the motivation to love someone else, you first have to learn to love yourself.
What does it mean to “love yourself?”
It could mean different things for different people. But for me, it meant leaving a constrictive marriage. It meant reconnecting with my estranged family. It meant putting my oxygen mask on first, before helping others. It meant creating boundaries that I had to honor daily.
I have my stroke to thank, for all of the ABOVE..
As a matter of fact, this morning, I woke up with an unusual amount of energy- Feeling great from the inside out. Like most stroke survivors, I suffer from depression. So, I was ecstatic knowing I was going to have a great day.
My partner and I had plans to go camping. However, I knew he wasn’t up for our plans- so I made a bold decision to change them.
In my prior life, before my stroke, I would have stayed home- waiting for the mood to change. But because of my stroke, I have learned that each of us are human and humans deserve to feel our emotions. I knew that my partner needed space, so he could feel and work through whatever it was that was bothering him at the time.
I, on the other hand, needed to preserve my wonderfully delicious energy. So, I decided to take a solo bike ride to the Stanislaus River (a 20 minute ride from our house).
As you can see, it was a beautiful day. A day that matched my energy.
I first heard about Nick Vujicic during a Communication class at Modesto Junior College in Modesto, California. Mr. Vujicic “see’s life as an opportunity.” A life that we (as stroke survivors) get a chance to redo, recreate, restructure, and re-live.
Born with no arms or legs, Mr. Vujicic’s definition of the term disability is “something stopping you from being able to do something.” In his life there’s hardly anything that he can’t do. The interviewer said, “No arms, no legs… ” Mr. Vujicic smiles with his eyes and says, “No worries, Mate!”
Click on the video below and enjoy the inspiration through this man’s optimism:
You see, loving yourself means opening up your perspective- Yes, I get it- You’ve experienced a stroke. So… what are you going to do about it?
Your brain has an amazing capability to restructure itself. Check out a previous post about Brain Plasticity
This means that with the right perspective, you can retrain your brain to write with your other hand. You can retrain your brain to read again, to move your affected side, to cook, to paint, hell you can do anything you put your heart and soul into. Don’t let anyone put a limit to your recovery.
Loving yourself means allowing others to live their life the way they see fit. In turn, you move past their moments, so you can live yours.
Loving yourself means not letting other people’s negative energy bring you down.
The fact that I changed our plans doesn’t mean I love my partner any less. Actually, I love him even more for being honest with me about his mood for the day. I love him more for allowing me to move past his emotions so I can enjoy this glorious energy that I was blessed with this morning.
I couldn’t help but giggle at myself for my ability to ride a bike. I remember when my physical therapist in San Francisco at the CPMC had me ride a stationary bike while reading a magazine in the hospital. It sucked. I hated every second of that particular exercise. I was cussing almost the entire time.
In hindsight, I really appreciated her faith in my abilities. I wish that I could say to her with pride, “look at me now!”
Loving yourself so you can thrive is very important, my friend.
What does loving yourself look like for you? Only you have the power to show the world the strength that is within you.