Valentine’s Day is often centered around your relationship with your significant other. But this V Day I wanted to talk about one of our most important relationships –our relationship with our self.
To have a healthy relationship you need a healthy relationship with your self. Because it is from a place of security and contentment within ourselves that we can love well. Often times our skewed perception of ourselves whether it be a deflated or inflated perception is often due to lies we tell ourselves.
Don’t doubt yourself!
Our current realities start with a thought. Our thoughts form our beliefs and our beliefs become our reality. We see this clearly in the power of affirmations and visualization, a practice used in many sports teams. Our thoughts, negative or positive send actual messages to our cells. So if you’re telling yourself, ‘I’m not good enough. I’ve failed. I can’t do it’, your cells are picking up on this message and following the commands. This is why I love the wisdom from the Bible in Proverbs that say,
As a man thinks in his heart, so does he become
You literally become what you think!
In epigentics, the study of how some genes can be switched on or off, also has lead us to understand how our thoughts and pereceptions can feed our cells both physically and mentally to remodel our genes. In other words, through our lifestyle habits and also our thought life, we can influence our genes and not the other way around. Therefore your life is essentially a representation of your thoughts.
I celebrated my 10 year anniversary of my first diagnosis of stage 4 cancer in December. This diagnoses of being a stage 4 cancer patient turned my identity around on its head. Overnight I became the girl with stage 4 cancer, the girl with no hair, the girl on chemo. Prior to cancer, I secured myself in my looks, what I accomplished and my relationships. Essentially it was others that told me who I was.
Find your anchor that grounds you in your truth
Cancer stripped me of my social life, my dating life, and very nearly my life in general and I had to take a deep look at who I was, of answering the questions of ‘Who Am I? Am I still loveable and What am I here for?’ I didn’t want to be labeled as a cancer patient, I knew I was more than just that. And so part of my healing journey was about discovering who I am. My real identity, not the identity that I gave myself based on other people’s words and acknowledgements.
Many of the times, we’re stripped of all the things that don’t matter in life to show us we are worthy, loved and beautiful simply because. For me, it’s knowing that I’m created by God and loved by Him from the beginning of time. I am who I am not because of my looks, my achievements, who I connect myself with. A core part of my battle strategy to face the cancer was to redefine who I was, who I am. And the definition started and ended with me.
This was my anchor and kept me dancing (literally) and in positive spirits – which we know is crucial to healing and specifically survival rates in cancer. There were days where I had more hours of wanting to vomit than vice versa, energy levels so low I could barely walk 5-10 minutes without resting, and turned down my favourite food though being a notorious foodie. But no matter whether it was walking through town without a wig and without hair, or being a bridesmaid with Frankenstein tubes coming out from my chest that were permanently there from my port catheter, I continued to treasure life and love life because I had made it a belief within that I love who I am no matter what , that I am loved and that the outward appearances does not change this. This was not an overnight belief though, it came through time and repetitive affirmations to myself. I still have days where I am conscious of my scars, of the permanent stretch marks in my ankles (yes my ankles), from the severe edema I had, and also the hearing loss when I’m out at social events. I can’t say that I’ve achieved an iron clad formula for negative thoughts but I’m definitely a work in progress, and I’ve progressed for the better.
Apart from self value, dealing with childhood trauma or issues of bitterness and unforgiveness that I hadn’t dealt with was also a core part of my healing journey. How do you know you have unresolved issues? Well, we all do, unless you have been very intentional about clearing out your every day thoughts and practicing forgiveness and release daily. But another sure tell is judgment.
Stop projecting judgement on others and start forgiving
If you find yourself judging others, it’s often because we have wounds that we don’t want to recognize or deal with. Judgment is projecting what we don’t want to identify in ourselves, for example, that we’re not good enough. Just like how some may turn to alcohol or drugs to cover the pain, judgment is another toxic cover up.
Holding onto the bitterness in your brain though will increase our cortisol, our stress hormones, and case our cells to become rigid. Which can lead to an accumulations of toxins that can destroy our DNA. And it only takes about three minutes for cortisol to rise and create this damage. So next time you are on the road or in the MTR and somebody annoys you, remember to forgive them in three minutes!
Take gratitude in life
I have adopted a practice (that I probably don’t do often enough) of blessing my spirit. And so this Valentines’ Day I’d like to bless you with knowing you are more than what you do, more than what you look like, more than what’s in your bank account or what you own or the vacations you take.All of your success and blessings is icing on top of the gift of life you have been given. And by simply having life on earth, God says you are worthy.
My prayer for you is for you to take the time to show love to yourself by discovering your true identity. Look deeper and beneath the surface. Have the conversations with yourself.
You cannot love others well if you do not love yourself. The love you give will be transactional and eventually it will run dry. The Bible’s commandment makes complete sense to me now of
love your neighbor as you love yourself
It’s from that place of self love that you can love others well.
Denise Tam is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and a two time stage 4 cancer survivor.