The key to living a healthy life is to love oneself. Because stress is the major, if not the only, cause of illness, we have to takes steps to reduce it, or even eliminate it. You may think that your stressors are small and so not a problem, but all stress has a negative effect on your body, and the longer it goes on, the worse the damage.
Much, if not all, of the stress we experience comes from the way we treat ourselves. Yes, there may be outside circumstances that seem to cause the stress money troubles, an accident, job loss, loss of someone we love but it is our reaction to these circumstances and not the circumstance itself that causes stress. And our reaction comes from the meaning we put on the situation. Often that meaning stems from a belief that we are not enough in some way, and this belief causes stress. The belief that we are not enough, does not engender self-love.
One way to learn something about the beliefs you have about yourself, and the love you have for yourself, is to listen to what you say to yourself and others. Do you ever put yourself down, call yourself silly, stupid or something similar or worse? Do you compare yourself negatively to others? Do you find yourself saying sorry a lot, even for things beyond your control, or for things you have not done? When you look in a mirror do you notice all the things that are wrong.? Can you look in a mirror? At one time in my life when I had a lot of self-hate, I could not even look in a mirror. But if you experience any of the above behaviours, then you do not fully love yourself.
In the poem below, poet Derek Walcott describes the experience of coming home to yourself, which in effect comes from loving yourself. I was struck by the joyful words and word pictures he uses to describe welcoming yourself words like elation, smiling at the others welcome, creating a feast for them. Can you also welcome yourself, feed yourself, love yourself despite all that you may have done, or left undone?