"If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?"

"Can i get an amen?!" 

Yes, I did in fact just quote Ru Paul.  Actually, I just quoted her for a second time.  If you were part of Tuesday’s IBD chat then you already heard me quote her.

In honor of this months big holiday, my birthday,…just kidding (no i’m not) Valentine’s Day, I am talking love, sex, and relationships just like I did last year.  And once again I am starting with self love.  This is where it starts people! It sounds pretty simple right? Love yourself first so that you have love to give to others.  

Why? And how does this relate to us specifically? 

Self hate is a nasty thing.  And as a person living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis it’s very easy (too easy) to let it destroy your self-confidence. Medication can cause weight gain, moon face, acne, and other unwanted side-effects.  Mal-absorption or being under nourished can cause extreme weight loss among other unwanted things.  Insides that are bleeding and scarred and full of inflammation cause all of the symptoms of IBD that we are familiar with.  Surgery that forever alters the look of your body and the way it functions.  The tornado that sweeps through life at times and causes loss of friendships, family strife, school problems, job loss, and debt, making us feel worthless and hopeless.  

Are you feeling down yet? Yeah, me too.  All of the above listed and more creates and internal negative dialogue.  And that negative internal talk can destroy us.  We start to loathe ourselves and if we let that go untreated it affects all of our relationships.  We don’t date or put ourselves out there for fear of rejection, or if we do date we tell ourselves that we are not worthy of someone we would like to be with so we settle for bad relationships we don’t want to be in. Or we settle for whoever will take us because we are too afraid to step out of our comfort box and meet someone new and see how they will handle our disease.  It’s not just dating that this affects.  It affects ALL relationships.  Our family, our friendships, our co-workers or classmates.  The way we feel about ourselves plays a huge role in how we treat ourselves and more importantly how we let others treat us.  

I’ve been there. I’ve gone through some pretty terrible times where I absolutely despised myself.  It’s an ugly place to be and since I was so upset with myself and my life I took that anger and hatred out on others.  See! I couldn’t love others or give them the love that they deserved because I didn’t love myself. And loving myself now is always something that I have to work hard on. It’s something I am always practicing.  

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I’ve been trying to give you all a boost of confidence lately.  My last video was all about that and in this weeks chat we talked about relationships specifically.  Especially being a person who has undergone ostomy or j-pouch surgery and dating.  There is so much fear about how another person will respond to you. Fear about when to bring your disease up.  Fear about how to get out of the house and do anything because it’s been so long.  Fear about friends who will leave.  Fear about answering the “get to know you” questions because it’s hard to explain to someone new that you don’t work or you have all this debt or you live with your parents, etc.  

There is so much fear. 

I get it. 

But I want to tell you to not give up.  It starts with you.  Put your best foot forward.  I’m not just Sara who has medical debt and never went back to teach and hasn’t worked a lot in the past 5 years and moves in and out of her parents house.  I am funny.  I am really intelligent.  I am artistic and creative and soooo much more than my disease.  I am going to lead with that.  Show people your confidence.  If you are confident in yourself that instills confidence in the way the other person feels about you.  If you act like you’re embarrassed of your disease and that your ostomy (if you have one) or whatever is gross and unacceptable then you are practically telling the other person to feel that way about it too. 

Love yourselves my friends.  You are better than you think you are.  You deserve more than that.

You better werk!