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Hey! Welcome! We recently held our annual (W)holistic Healing Summit. If you're not familiar with it, check out this post. If you are, then you know it's a major event full of education and community. I have a small team of volunteers that help me pull it off, but I do the bulk of the work.
My planned recuperation break was rudely interrupted by my second autoimmune condition, Sjogren's. I spent days barely able to walk around my bed to get to the bathroom. Joint's sore. Dehydrated with cracked lips and tension headaches.
It was not the break I needed. So, I thought it was the perfect time to bring this episode of the Lichen Sclerosus Podcast back. I originally recorded this before my Sjodren's diagnosis. At the time, I had no idea what had zapped my energy out of the blue.
I'm thankful for the lessons I learned because they still serve me well today, and I hope they serve you in the future.
This week I want to share a lesson about giving yourself grace. It concerns how we talk to ourselves about ourselves. Giving ourselves grace is important when living with Lichen Sclerosus, as an LS diagnosis can really turn our whole world upside down. So keep listening – or reading – for my 4 tips on how to give yourself grace with LS.
The Motivation Behind this Episode: Why I Need to Show Myself Grace
I am not doing well. No matter what I do, I feel exhausted. My muscles ache. All I want to do is sleep. My short-term memory is shot; I fumble over my words. I’m really not in a good place.
So, I’ve been having to practice what I preach because I have to show myself grace at this moment.
Specifically, because I am not feeling well, I’m not getting the things I want to accomplish done. It’s frustrating to feel like your body is holding you back. I felt really disappointed in myself and felt I was letting myself and my listeners down.
This is something I’m sure many of you with chronic illness understand.
The first week when I wasn’t feeling well, I figured it would pass. But here I am, weeks later, still feeling awful. Therefore, I had to re-evaluate my expectations of myself and set new goals that were more in line with and that honored where I am right now.
Tips for Giving Yourself Grace
I want to share with you 4 tips to show up for yourself and give yourself grace when you are struggling.
Giving yourself grace involves how you see yourself and how you talk to yourself.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up for What You Don’t Know – Tip 1 for Giving Yourself Grace.
Every day we learn something new. Each time we learn something new, we adapt how we live according to what we learned. However, if we don’t know something, we cannot blame ourselves for what we didn’t know. We can’t do better if we don’t know better.
If you want to do better, try to find the information so you can improve on what you can change and accept what you can’t. When you catch yourself beating yourself up for something that is out of your control, breathe, and give yourself grace.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others – Tip 2 for Giving Yourself Grace
So many amazing individuals on social media are raising awareness for Lichen Sclerosus. Each one of them contributes in their own individual ways. Some of these women have been at this for years, and I just started in February.
I’ve only been at it for 6 months. So, if I compared myself to them, I wouldn’t be fair to myself and would only be hurting myself. It serves me no purpose to do this. All of our journeys are just that; our own.
Similarly, if you see someone on social media who says they got into remission by simply cutting out dairy, and you do the same but with no positive results, you may get down on yourself. However, you don’t know their story; regardless, LS is an individualized condition.
Find what works for you, and don’t compare yourself to others on their health journey. Give yourself grace and the space to have your own journey on your own terms.
Do What Works for You – Tip 3 for Giving Yourself Grace
Unfortunately, LS involves a lot of trial and error. Do not force yourself to be someone you are not.
For example, some people find their symptoms subside when cutting out sugar. However, you have a massive sweet tooth and go cold turkey with no sugar. Three weeks out, you are miserable because you cannot have what you want. So, in this example, it’s not sustainable to try and completely overhaul who you are as a person.
Instead, adapt your goals to who you are and what is sustainable for you. For instance, cut sugar out slowly and stop at a level that is good for you. Perhaps this means you still have dessert a couple of times a week. If you see results with that and you can still enjoy some treats, this is amazing!
Experiment with things and find what works for you. Remember, what works for one person may not work for you, and that is OK! Give yourself the grace to show up and acknowledge your true authentic self.
Make small goals that lead up to bigger results, and celebrate those small steps! If you miss a small goal, use it as a teaching moment. What can you learn from this so that you come out stronger? Give yourself grace if/when you don’t reach a goal.
Practice Mindfulness – Tip 4 for Giving Yourself Grace
When you feel you are overwhelmed, take a moment and ground yourself back into the presence of your being. Focus on the sensations in your body; whatever is going on, just notice. Then respond instead of reacting.
For example, if you were cutting out sugar and someone at the office brings in cupcakes and you immediately think, “Ah, I’m going to crack”! Once you feel that, catch yourself in the moment, focus on your feelings, and then decide how to respond.
Perhaps that looks like walking away or perhaps sharing half with your office buddy. You decide what is right for you at that moment. Perhaps you just say, “I will enjoy that cupcake and go for it.” But practice mindfulness first and see what you need.
To recap, here are the 4 Tips for Giving Yourself Grace:
- Don’t beat yourself up for what you don’t know or can’t do.
- Don’t’ compare yourself to others.
- Do what is best for you and your body.
- Practice mindfulness.
Bookmark this page and come back to it when you feel overwhelmed or ungrounded!
As my health plummeted, I had to practice this. I’m used to being constantly on the go, and now I am forced to go at a snail's pace. It was hard for me at first. I did go into old habits of beating myself up, but then, I caught myself. I practiced mindfulness, and I showed myself grace by not beating myself up or comparing myself to others, and I listened to my body and what it needed.
Let me know if any of these tips helped you or if anything in particular resonated!