Oftentimes it is easy to overlook the value of who you are as a person, and how important it is to recognize your own inner beauty. Being vegan means not only standing up for the rights of others and the knowing inherent value of all life forms, but doing so for yourself as well. A lack of self love can be due to multiple reasons, and depression can create a meaningless void, making you hate the person you see in the mirror every day. We are often our own worst enemies, but we can be our very best friend–with a little effort.
Children conjure up “imaginary friends” to love and cherish, and in reality the mind and heart they are fascinated with is their own. Come adulthood…and very few people would list themselves as a friend, and more often than not rank themselves as somehow less than others. Sometimes it might be hard to find anything to love about yourself, no matter how hard you try, and it seems like there is no way out of the pain and suffering self hatred is putting you through. It seems as if the walls of self confidence must constantly be mended and built to keep up any sort of positive defense–and it can be completely exhausting. Realizing your own power, goodness, beauty, and strength is perhaps the most difficult task of being human. Fortunately it can be done, and it can be fun; and you can emerge from the suffocating cocoon of self doubt as the happy, healthy person you were born to be.
As someone who has struggled with depression for years, I’ve learned to combat and deal with this degradation of self, and here are some tips I have to learn to love yourself again:
1. Ask for help. Asking for help when you need it may seem like a no-brainer, but it takes a lot of courage to reach out in a rough patch and open yourself up to another person. This is the first and biggest step to healing. Find someone you trust and really talk to them about how you feel. If you don’t want to talk to someone you know, there are a million hotlines just waiting for you to call them. (If you are seriously depressed and considering suicide, please call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room. Your life is very important.)
2. Smile at yourself in the mirror! Comparing yourself to anyone else does you no good! Smile at yourself every day, and not only will your mood brighten, but it’s hard to resist loving someone who willingly brings joy to your life.
3. Invest in yourself. Take time each day to pursue a hobby, learn something new, and allow yourself to fully relax and feel uplifted. Sometimes I will sit and meditate on words or feelings that make me feel warm and happy. Radiance, joy, love, peace, and light are some of my favorites.
4. Go out in nature. This is magnificently healing and will give you the opportunity to know yourself as part of the living cosmos as a whole. Natural things are beautiful, and you fit right in.
5. Do yoga or some form of exercise. I personally love yoga because it gently connects the mind and body, and builds strength through self reliance.
6. Do not let negative thoughts have their say!! Literally force yourself to think the opposite of the negative thoughts dragging you down. It helps to say these positive statements out loud, especially when your mind is overcrowded with darkness. You are still in control. Reprogram your brain to be positive and loving.
7. Realize this is a process and will take time. Changing thought patterns doesn’t happen overnight. Letting go of what you know may be a little scary and uncomfortable, but you are worth it. It takes just as much energy to think positively as it does negatively, but only one will benefit you.
8. You deserve self love! Causing yourself pain or being full of self doubt will never help you or get you where you need to go. Make life easier and don’t fight with yourself.
9. Failure happens to everyone, but trying again after failing not only shows bravery, but this is the way you’ll achieve success. Be a self loving go-getter!
10. I will always advocate a diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables, because it will change the way you feel. When your body begins to feel better, your mind follows suit. Taking care of your health can alter your life in so many wonderful ways. When you put good energy into your body, only goodness can come out of it. After revamping my diet and becoming a high raw vegan, I’ve experienced such a huge change in my mental and physical health. I feel completely rejuvenated in mind body and soul, have more energy and happiness than ever, and life keeps getting better the more health oriented I become.
Warm Southwestern Corn Chowder (Raw)
Feeds about 4 people
1 1/2 Zucchini
3 Green Onions
1 Red Bell Pepper (stem removed)
1 lb Fresh Corn (You can also use frozen if inclined but it needs to be heated up and thus not raw)
~3c Warm water
*Optional- 1/2 Jalepeno
1/8c Dried Bell Pepper Mix
1/2 and 1/8 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Thyme
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1. Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until desired consistency–I like mine creamy and smooth.
2. Pour into a bowl, add in some more corn and diced avocado for texture if desired. Garnish with black pepper and paprika.