So I Say to Myself, Remember This: Kindness Begins with Me

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(This is an excerpt from book Don't Throw Rocks at His Window: Real Advice to Mend a Broken Heart.)

Unfortunately, a broken heart can easily lead to a loss of self-esteem. It’s easy to think that being rejected means you are undesirable. It’s easy to feel that because someone didn’t love you, you are unlovable. It’s easy to look in the mirror and wonder if things might have turned out differently if you were just a little more . . . (insert your favorite word here): attractive? thin? strong? funny? smart? outgoing? mature? athletic?

Because it’s sometimes so easy to feel bad about yourself, it’s more important than ever to be very kind to yourself when you’re recovering from a broken heart. One way to do this is to make a list of qualities that you like about yourself and read it every day, or ten times a day, or whenever you feel like crying. If you have a hard time coming up with a list, ask someone who knows you well enough to help you. Your friends and family can often see and admire qualities in you that you are not aware of yourself.

One year for a girls’ camp activity, the girls in our ward gathered around the campfire. We were each given a piece of paper and a pencil, and then we drew the name of another girl there. We were asked to write down all of the good qualities we knew about that person. The girl who drew my name was someone I had known for a few years, but she was a year younger than I was, so we didn’t really do much together. I didn’t think she knew me very well, and I wasn’t expecting much from her list.

Your friends and family can often see and admire qualities in you that you are not aware of yourself.

When she gave me my list of strengths, I was astonished. She wrote down things that nobody had ever told me, but they were things I really needed to hear. That list made me feel so good. I kept it for years and every time I read it I felt such a tremendous sense of worth.

So ask some people close to you to help you make a list of your good qualities. You might think this is the lamest suggestion possible and that there is no way you’re going to go around begging for compliments. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Go to your mom or brother or grandma or best friend and say, “Can you please tell me five things that you like about me?”

Sometimes you don’t even have to ask that directly. Sometimes you can confide in someone close to you that you’re feeling bad about yourself, and they will volunteer the praise that you need. I have a close friend who is divorced, and when she calls and tells me that her ex-husband has made her feel bad about herself, I know what to do. I tell her all of the things that I like about her, and then listen for the smile and relief in her voice. It’s not hard for me to help my friend, and it won’t be hard for someone who loves you to do the same for you.

If you have a patriarchal blessing, read it often. It will probably tell you what some of your talents and strengths are. It can also give you hope for a bright, happy future.

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